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Research Governance Framework for health and social care

Research involving social care services must comply with the Research Governance Framework (RGF) for Health and Social Care. This is a requirement of the Department of Health, and applies to all service users, their carers, volunteers and Surrey County Council (SCC) staff.

What is the RGF?

The RGF aims to raise standards and clarify the responsibilities of all parties in the research process.

Under RGF, we are required to fulfil a number of defined responsibilities, in order to ensure these standards are achieved by all parties in the research process. The RGF also sets out the necessary arrangements for the prior approval of research projects and the issues which need to be considered in obtaining that approval.

To conduct research in this area, or to receive the Research Governance Framework (RGF) procedures, please use our online application form.

The RGF Principles

The RGF outlines the principles of good governance for research. It sets out five principles to achieve its aims and defines the responsibilities of different parties in the research process:

  • Ethics: ensuring the dignity, rights, safety and well being of research participants.
  • Science: ensuring that the design and methods of research are subject to independent review by relevant experts.
  • Information: ensuring full and free public access to information on the research, and its findings.
  • Health and safety: ensuring at all times the safety of research participants, researchers and other staff.
  • Finance: ensuring financial probity and compliance with the law in the conduct of research.

What counts as RGF research?

Research can be qualified as any work that involves collecting information from or about service users, their carers and/or social care staff. It includes surveys, focus groups, consultations, reviews, evaluations and student projects. The collection of routine management information is not included in the council's definition of research for RGF purposes.

What happens when I apply?

If your research involves collecting information from, or about, social care service users, their carers, volunteers and /or members of staff in SCC social care services you will need to submit an online application form. The chair of the RGF panel will then request a copy of your research proposal or project plan.

Once received the RGF panel will meet to consider your application, usually within 2 weeks of receipt, and will notify you in writing whether your application has been approved.

If the application has been turned down you will be informed of the reasons why, and you can either rewrite your proposal or appeal against the decision.

Once your application has been agreed, you will be expected to provide feedback to the RGF group including a copy of the research report and its conclusions.