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Research governance for social care

East Sussex County Council encourages high quality research that can benefit our residents. Research governance is an approval process using a broad range of regulations, principles, and standards of good practice to ensure this. The process is based on national policy and promotes good research that protects the rights of everyone involved.  

Do you need research governance approval?

If you wish to undertake research in East Sussex which involves or is about social care clients, carers, or staff, you will need to submit your research proposal for approval. To establish whether your project counts as research as defined by the UK policy framework for Health and Social Care research, use this decision tool.

Research governance is for approval of your plan to research East Sussex social care clients, carers, or staff. It is not approval for us to be involved in your research – this would need to be agreed with relevant managers. In addition, research governance is not ethical approval, but it does require you to consider and prove that your approach is ethical. Ethical approval would usually be obtained from a governing body relevant to your research or your university before you start your project.

If you are unsure, email: Research governance 

Apply for approval

If you wish to apply for approval, please email Research governance with a brief outline of your research project and any questions you have. We can then provide you with an application form, where you will provide further details on your research for us to review.

If you are in the early stages of design of your research and not ready to apply for approval, we encourage you to contact us anyway. It is ideal for us to be aware of any potential upcoming research, as we can answer any questions relating to research governance early on and support making the details and methodology of your research comply with national policy. This can help avoid delays in gaining approval due to issues or conditions being identified with the research proposal in an application.


We will reply to emails within 5 working days.

Once a complete application has been submitted, we will return it with an approval decision within 15 working days.

Please be aware that we do not consider an application complete if questions are left unanswered unless an explanation is given for these.

How we review your proposal

The reviewers will consider your proposal to ensure that the questions and methodology are appropriate and safe for participants and researchers. They will also provide advice on any changes that could be made to improve the quality of your final data in the role of critical friend.

You will either receive full approval (which may have suggestions to improve the research), approval if conditions are met or rejection. You will have the chance to action any conditions and re-apply for approval

How to contact us

If you have any questions, you can email us.

Email: Research governance