Important News for Researchers!

The Health Research Authority (HRA) has changed the processes for applying to NHS Research Ethics Committees(RECs) to improve its service and make the booking and application process more straightforward for researchers.

The key changes that are as follows:

NEW Central Booking Service (CBS) for applications to NHS RECs

A new national Central Booking Service (CBS), with a single number, has been introduced, to cover all bookings for RECs in the UK. This has replaced the existing Central Allocation System (CAS), Proportionate Review Allocation Systems (PRAS) and Local Allocation Systems (LAS). It will result in a more efficient allocation of applications across meetings.Researchers will still be able to book to the REC of their choice for full applications when using CBS.Phase 1 studies may be booked via CBS or direct with the NHS REC.

NEW Introduction of electronic submission to NHS RECs: All forms created in IRAS for submission to NHS RECs (except notices of substantialamendment, which should be submitted by e-mail) will be submitted electronically from IRAS.The NHS REC form (including GTAC, Social Care REC, Research Tissue Bank andResearch Database variants) and non-NHS Site Specific Information (SSI) forms and theirassociated supporting documentation will be electronically submitted by the applicant from IRAS to the REC system. This will remove the need to submit hard copies.Electronic submission must be completed on the same day as the booking is made. So applicants must ensure that their application is ready to submit (i.e. form checked, supporting documents attached and electronic authorisations in place) before phoning to book their application. Any pre-submission advice should continue to be sought from local HRA REC Offices.Notice of substantial amendment forms will still be created in IRAS when these changes are implemented but they will not be electronically submitted. Submission of these forms will continue to be via email.

Keeping up to date

The webpage, http://www.hra.nhs.uk/research-community/booking-submission-changes-spring-2014/, will be regularly updated with more information about these changes.

Please help us raise awareness: As these changes mean the REC application process and systems are now different, we would be grateful if you could let others know, to help us make sure the research community are fully prepared.

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