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  1. Research ethics governance
Research

Appealing a decision made by a City research ethics committee

City defines an appeal as a request from an applicant for a review of a decision, in relation to significant amendments requested to or rejection of a research ethics application by one of City’s Research Ethics Committees.

Stage 1: Research Ethics Committee Appeal

Grounds for Appeal

a) An applicant may appeal against a decision concerning their application, including:

  • Significant requested amendments/changes to the protocol
  • Rejection of the application

b) Note that dissatisfaction with the decision of a Research Ethics Committee is not alone grounds for appeal. An explanation of the impact of the decision must be also provided.

c) The appellant is required to state the grounds for the appeal in writing at the time of requesting a hearing. The complaint should be submitted to the Secretary (or Chair where these is no Secretary) of the Research Ethics Committee that reviewed the application within 20 working days of receiving the Committee’s decision.

Initial Scrutiny

a) The receipt of an appeal will normally be acknowledged within 5 working days.

b) The appeal will be scrutinised independently by at least two members of a City Research Ethics Committee nominated by the Secretary/Chair. They will not have been involved in the initial decision and may be from a School other than that of the appellant. The scrutiny will occur by email with comments sent to the Secretary/Chair of the Research Ethics Committee within 5 working days of receipt by the Committee members.

c) The purpose of the initial scrutiny is to determine whether valid grounds have been provided to merit consideration of a stage 1 review. If it is deemed that there are no valid grounds the appeal will be rejected.

d) The outcome of the initial scrutiny will be reported to the Chair and Secretary of the Research Ethics Committee. The appellant will be informed of the outcome of the initial scrutiny, normally within 21 working days of the acknowledgement being sent. Where an appeal is rejected reasons will be provided. If the reviewers agree at this stage that there is a strong case for upholding the appeal, the Chair may agree to do so without requiring an appeal panel hearing. In cases where the reviewers determine that the appeal merits further consideration, a hearing will be arranged.

e) The Chair/Secretary to the Committee will confirm the time and place for the hearing at the time of informing the appellant of the outcome of the initial review.

f) The appellant is responsible for providing the panel with all documentation at least 7 working days before the hearing. This includes the original unaltered application, comments provided from the Committee in response to the application, correspondence regarding the application/appeal held with the Secretary, Chair or member/s of the Committee and the grounds for the appeal. The documentation should be collated and have page numbers. The documentation should be submitted to the Secretary/Chair in hard copy (five sets).

Research Ethics Committee appeal panel

a) The review panel will normally be convened within 15 workings days of the outcome of the initial Senate Research Ethics Committee-level scrutiny. It will comprise three members of Senate Research Ethics Committee, including the Chair or Deputy Chair who will chair proceedings, with the Secretary to the Committee in attendance.

b) The appeal panel will discuss the issues raised with the appellant. The outcome of the hearing can include one of the following:

  • Agreement on required changes;
  • Upholding the application;
  • Rejecting the appeal, accompanied by reasons that will be provided to the appellant.

c) The outcome of the appeal panel hearing will be provided in writing, normally within 5 working days of the hearing.

d) The outcome of the Senate Research Ethics Committee-level review panel hearing will be reported to Senate Research Ethics Committee, and the Research Ethics Committee that reviewed the original application.

Stage 2: Senate Research Ethics Committee-level Review

This stage applies to appeals submitted to a local Research Ethics Committee. Appeals against the outcome of a Senate Research Ethics appeal hearing are dealt with by Stage 3 Institutional-level review.

Grounds for review

a) An applicant may request a review of a local Research Ethics Committees decision on one or both of the following grounds:

  • Procedural error
  • Academically flawed judgement

b) Note that dissatisfaction with the decision and outcome of the local Research Ethics Committee hearing is not grounds for a stage 2 review.

c) The appellant is required to state the grounds for the review in writing at the time of requesting a Senate Research Ethics Committee-level review. These should be submitted to the Secretary of Senate Research Ethics Committee within 10 working days of receipt of written confirmation of the local Research Ethics Committee’s decision.

Initial Scrutiny

a) The receipt of the request for a Senate Research Ethics Committee-level review will normally be acknowledged within 5 working days.

b) The review will be scrutinised by the Chair and two members of Senate Research Ethics Committee not from the same School as the appellant.

c) The purpose of the scrutiny is to reach a view on whether sufficient grounds have been provided to merit consideration of a stage 2 review. If there are insufficient grounds the review will be rejected.

d) The outcome of the initial scrutiny will be reported to the Secretary to the Committee. The appellant will be informed of the outcome of the initial scrutiny, normally within 21 working days of the acknowledgement being sent. Where a review is rejected reasons will be provided.

e) If the appeal is allowed, the Secretary to the Committee will confirm the time and place for the review hearing when the appellant is informed of the outcome of the initial scrutiny.

f) The appellant is responsible for providing the review panel with all documentation at least 7 working days before the hearing. This includes the unaltered application, comments provided from the Committee in response to the application, correspondence regarding the application/appeal held with the Secretary or member/s of the Committee, the grounds for the appeal and the correspondence/documentation from/with the appeal panel. The documentation should be collated and have page numbers. The documentation should be submitted to the Secretary in hard copy (five sets).

Research Ethics Committee-level review

a) The review panel will normally be convened within 15 workings days of the outcome of the initial Senate Research Ethics Committee-level scrutiny. It will comprise three members of Senate Research Ethics Committee, including the Chair or Deputy Chair who will chair proceedings, with the Secretary to the Committee in attendance.

b) The appeal panel will discuss the issues raised with the appellant. The outcome of the hearing can include one of the following:

  • Agreement on required changes;
  • Upholding the application;
  • Rejecting the appeal, accompanied by reasons that will be provided to the appellant.

c) The outcome of the appeal panel hearing will be provided in writing, normally within 5 working days of the hearing.

d) The outcome of the Senate Research Ethics Committee-level review panel hearing will be reported to Senate Research Ethics Committee, and the Research Ethics Committee that reviewed the original application.

Stage 3: Institutional-level review

Grounds for review

a) An applicant may request a review of Senate Research Ethics Committee decision on one or both of the following grounds:

  • Procedural error
  • Academically flawed judgement

b) Note that dissatisfaction with the decision the Senate Research Ethics Committee hearing is not valid grounds for a stage 3 review.

c) The appellant is required to state the grounds for the review in writing at the time of requesting an institutional-level review. The grounds should be submitted to the Secretary to Senate Research Ethics Committee within 10 working days of receipt of written confirmation of Senate Research Ethics Committee’s decision.

Initial Scrutiny

a) The receipt of the request for an institutional-level review will normally be acknowledged within 5 working days.

b) The review will be scrutinised by the Vice-President (Research & Enterprise).

c) The purpose of the scrutiny is to reach a view on whether sufficient grounds have been provided to merit consideration of a stage 3 review. If there are insufficient grounds to merit consideration of the review, the review will be rejected.

d) The outcome of the initial scrutiny will be reported to the Secretary to the Committee. The appellant will be informed of the outcome of the initial scrutiny, normally within 21 working days of the acknowledgement being sent. Where a review is rejected reasons will be provided.

e) If the appeal is not rejected at this stage, the Secretary to the Committee will confirm the time and place for the review hearing at the time the appellant is informed of the outcome of the initial scrutiny.

f) The appellant is responsible for providing the review panel with all documentation at least 7 working days before the hearing. This includes the unaltered application, comments provided from the Committee in response to the application, correspondence regarding the application/appeal held with the Secretary or member/s of the Committee, the grounds for the appeal and the correspondence/documentation from/with the appeal panel. The documentation should be collated and have page numbers. The documentation should be submitted to the Secretary in hard copy (five sets).

Institutional-level review

a) The review panel will normally be convened within 15 workings days of the outcome of the initial institutional-level scrutiny. It will comprise Vice-President (Research & Enterprise) who will Chair proceedings, an academic member of staff with domain expertise not on the original research ethics committee or involved in the appeal, and a senior member of staff without domain expertise, with the Secretary to Senate Research Ethics Committee in attendance.

b) The appeal panel will discuss the issues raised with the appellant. The outcome of the hearing can include one of the following:

  • Agreement on required changes; OR
  • Upholding the application; OR
  • Rejecting the appeal, accompanied by clear reasons that will be provided to the appellant.

c) The outcome of the appeal panel hearing will be provided in writing, normally within 5 working days of the hearing.

d) The outcome of the institutional review panel hearing will be reported to Senate Research Ethics Committee, and the Research Ethics Committee that reviewed the original application if not the same, and a record will be retained.

Research Office September 2011, Version 1
Research & Enterprise September 2017, Version 2