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Research governance for social care

We encourage quality research that can benefit our residents. Research governance is the broad range of regulations, principles and standards of good practice that ensures high quality research.

The process is based on national policy. It helps us to ensure that good research is carried out and 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 research governance approval.

This approval is for your plan to research this audience. It is not approval for us to be involved in your research – this would need to be agreed with relevant managers.

Firstly, you need to establish whether your research project counts as research. Use this research governance decision tool to help you decide whether your study is research as defined by the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research.

If you are unsure, email: Research governance 

Things to consider

Research governance approval 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 work for us, the internal approval process may be simpler. Please speak to us before applying.

Apply for approval

Our online application form asks for details of the research, such as methodology, equality and data privacy, details on the researchers and relevant documents.

Evidence requested as part of the application form needs to be emailed to us after the online form is submitted. 

Email: Research governance

Please also use this email address if you require a paper application form.


We will confirm receipt of your application within two working days and ask any initial questions. The reviewers will then provide an ‘approved’ or ‘not approved’ response within 15 working days.

We may ask you for more information or documentation within this time frame, using the contact details you supply.

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) or no approval which has conditions. You have the chance to action these conditions and re-apply for approval.

How to contact us

If you have any questions, you can email us.

Email: Research governance

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