Quality assurance

Last updated on 31 Aug 2022

User satisfaction

We invite feedback from users of our services - this allows us to continually monitor and assess our performance and identify what is working well and areas for improvement.

  • Applicants and sponsors are invited to complete our online feedback survey and rate a number of aspects including the website, the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS), helpfulness of the correspondence they have received and their views of the committee meeting they attended.
  • If you have provided feedback in the past, you have the right to withdraw your consent for feedback data to be used by the HRA.  If you wish to withdraw consent, please email quality.assurance@hra.nhs.uk to advise that you wish to withdraw consent and all feedback data (and identified as you providing) will be deleted.
  • Members of our committees are routinely asked for their views on current issues and ways in which they think our services can be improved through the Chairs and Members' online feedback form.
  • We produce bi-annual user satisfaction public reports of our work, highlighting actions or proposed actions from HRA Management based on feedback received.
    Read the latest bi-annual user satisfaction report here.

For past copies please contact quality.assurance@hra.nhs.uk.

Accreditation Scheme for Research Ethics Committees (RECs)

In 2007 we established a rolling accreditation programme in order to audit UK RECs against agreed standards as detailed in Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Governance Arrangements for Research Ethics Committees (GAfREC).  RECs are issued with an audit decision – full accreditation, accreditation with conditions (low risk non-compliance identified requiring an action plan) or provisional accreditation (high and low risk issues requiring an action plan).

We produce bi-annual accreditation reports.

The latest bi-annual accreditation report is available here.

For past copies please contact: quality.assurance@hra.nhs.uk

Quality Control

Quality Control checks are undertaken on specific parts of the process/function and results are shared with management teams. Annual meeting observations (of a REC meeting) are undertaken by Operational Managers and provide a check against agreed standards relating to meeting conduct and minute taking. Findings from the meeting observations are shared with the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee and research ethics/approval staff, and collated to identify common themes to inform improvements.

Shared Ethical Debate

The Shared Ethical Debate has three functions:

  • identifying/building consensus on an issue (and the need for possible guidance to applicants and REC members)
  • identifying issues in REC process (ie inconsistency in relation to interpretation of guidelines, Standard Operating Procedures etc)
  • providing a training opportunity for REC members

We have a two year rolling programme (with two exercises per year) and each UK REC is expected to complete one of the exercises.

If you require further information relating to the work of the HRA Quality Assurance department please contact quality.assurance@hra.nhs.uk.

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