North East Lincolnshire Council

Research governance

Research Governance Framework

The Research Governance Framework (RGF) sets out standards that all research using vulnerable children and adult information should meet. It aims to ensure that the interests of our service users are always put first and that the research makes a real contribution to increasing knowledge and improving practice. The governance process provides a defined quality assurance mechanism for ensuring that all research taking place using vulnerable children and adult meets legal, ethical and quality requirements.

Research governance can be defined as the broad range of regulations, principles and standards of good practice that exist to achieve and continuously improve research quality across all aspects of health and social care. Proper governance of research is essential to ensure there can be confidence and derived benefits from quality research, and that high scientific, ethical and financial standards, transparent decision-making processes, clear allocation of responsibilities and robust monitoring arrangements are in place.

It is a core standard for health and social care organisations to have systems to ensure the principles and requirements of the Research Governance Framework are consistently applied. Health and social care organisations have to take this standard into account in discharging their duty of quality under Section 45 of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003.

Research Governance is the means by which the quality of research into social care services is assured, and the rights of those involved are protected.

The central purpose of research governance is to protect everyone involved (researcher, service user or sample group) through the ethics review, ensuring there are clear arrangements to identify and manage any risks associated with a study; this will include:

  • Research which can be defined as ‘the attempt to derive generalised new knowledge by addressing clearly defined questions with systematic and rigorous methods’. All studies and projects that meet this definition are subject to research governance, especially those that will collect extra information from service users, carers and staff.
  • Consultation with service users, carers and staff for other reasons is classified as research for the purposes of research governance.

The term research is interpreted widely and includes surveys, evaluations, focus groups, consultations, audits, student projects and dissertations which involve service users or staff.

All Research Governance requests should be submitted in writing with the correct supporting information, as set out below. The Research Governance Panel will consider the application based on if the study is achievable and ethically viable. This takes into consideration support, required information and monitoring needs, and how risks will be managed.

Anyone wanting to conduct research in North East Lincolnshire using vulnerable children or adults need to complete and submit the Research proposal form contained in the framework below and send it to the research email.

Upon receipt of an application an assessment is conducted and the associated papers are distributed to a panel of core members. The assessment and other papers are reviewed by a core research governance panel who discuss the application and any concerns are raised. If the research is considered to be of medium or high risk the application is sent to the core panel members. In some cases specialists with subject matters are invited to guide the decision making. The panel will discuss the proposal and identify and address any areas of concern. The panel will reach a decision to approve, modify or reject a research proposal.

Download the policy and framework which fully explains what is required from researchers and how the process works.

Complete a research proposal form. The completed form and attachments should be sent to the email address below.

Guidance from central government can be views in the Department of Health’s “Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care“.

Members of the research governance panel may arrange to meet or to discuss the application via email, dependent on the nature of the request. The Director of Public Health is a constant member of the Panel. Other members of the panel change dependent upon the request, e.g. the Caldicott Guardian when the research involves requesting access to customers and their information.

The resources and tools needed to complete a Research Governance Application are in the related documents section below. Completed applications need to be returned by email to

Research Governance, Municipal Offices, Town Hall Square, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1HU