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Durham County Council

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Research Governance Framework


The information on this page outlines good practice to help students and other people looking to carry out research with Children and Young People's Services, and Adults and Health Services users, carers or staff to gather their views.

Does my research need approval?

Information about what has to be approved through the Research Governance process.

Activities which need approval include:

  • getting information from or about Children and Young People's Services or Adult and Health Services users, their carers, families, relatives or employees
  • interviewing members of a social care team for a college or university project
  • conducting a survey or focus group with service users seeking their views and experience
  • using service user personal data in a service evaluation

If you are unsure about needing approval, please read the application criteria on page 3 of the RAG application form (PDF, 696kb).

The routine collection of management data through existing internal systems and processes is not research.

The Department of Health set out standards and procedures to safeguard people doing research. Full details are available from Gov.uk: research governance framework for health and social care.

How do I get approval? How long will approval take?

Once you have decided that your project needs approval you need to ensure you have this in place before you can start your research.

  • Step 1: You must get the support of both your tutor (if appropriate), and a senior manager from either Children and Young People's Services or Adult and Health Services for the research. If you are unsure who to contact please refer to Children and Young People's Services and Adult and Health Services.
  • Step 2: You can apply by completing the RAG application form (PDF, 696kb). Please return your application form and all associated documents by email to the Research Approval Group using the details under contact us. Your application must be submitted to us at least 1 month before you expect to conduct your research. 
  • Step 3: You can expect a response from us within 20 working days.

Your compliance with the research governance framework is important because it will ensure that service users, their families, carers and staff who might be subjects of your research are properly protected.  

Where can I get help with the research process?

To help you we have produced a number of step by step guides which may save you some time and effort.

What must I do when my research is complete?

When your project is finished, you must contact us with a copy of your findings. The findings will be shared with the relevant area of the council to help identify any service improvements that can be made as a result of your recommendations.

Remember to share your findings with your research subjects or participants if they have asked you to let them know the outcome of your project.

Still got a question?

If you have any queries regarding our process or the details provided, please contact us.

Good luck with your project!