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Children's Services

Best Practice: Using evidence to improve outcomes for children and families

Research governance

What is Research Governance?

The aim of research governance is to protect those involved in research by ensuring that arrangements are in place to identify and manage the risks involved.

What does Research Governance cover?

If the research requires access to staff, service users (children and young people), parents/carers or data relating to them, it is likely that the study will require approval before it can start. Studies which involve conducting surveys, interviews, focus groups or documentary analysis are likely to be included. Research being conducted in schools should be directed to the headteachers of the schools involved. The routine collection of data by the local authority as part of normal monitoring arrangements would not constitute research in this sense. If anyone is in doubt, please contact the Research & Evaluation Unit or look at the procedures that explain these distinctions in more detail.There are two separate procedures:

  • External Microsoft Word 856kb - where the proposed research is to be conducted by someone not employed by Hampshire County Council’s (HCC) Children’s Services Department.
  • Internal Microsoft Word 790kb – where the research is to be undertaken by someone employed by the department.

How does research governance work?

A research governance panel reviews all proposals in relation to five core elements and associated principles:

  1. Ethics: ensuring the dignity, rights and well being of participants
  2. Methodology: ensuring that the design and methodology are able to address the research questions and are subject to an independent review by relevant experts
  3. Information: ensuring full and free public access to information about the research findings
  4. Health and safety: ensuring the safety of research participants, researchers and other staff
  5. Legality: ensuring financial probity and compliance with the law in the conduct of research.

On this basis, the panel will make one of the following decisions about each proposal it receives:

  • Approve
  • Approve with conditions
  • Reject

How do I submit a research proposal for approval?

Those wishing to undertake research within the Children's Services Department must first contact the Research & Evaluation Unit via email at or by phoning 01962 876233 for an informal discussion and the necessary form. Any applications submitted without prior discussion of the proposal will not be considered.

You will be sent a project plan form, which will ask you to provide information on the aims and objectives of the research, the method intended to be used and details on how the findings will be analysed and disseminated. You will also have to provide details of any ethical considerations that have to be addressed and what measures will be taken to ensure the confidentiality of participants (including data protection issues).

Once a proposal has been submitted you will receive confirmation that it has been received. If any further information, or clarification, is required in relation to the proposal you will be contacted, either by telephone or email.

University students

Applications from students wishing to do research as part of their degree will come under these arrangements. These procedures can take time and the onus is on the student to submit their application in enough time for the proposal to be properly considered.

University of Southampton students should submit their applications via their central research governance office. The office will take approximately two weeks to process the forms before they are sent to HCC so please factor this into your timescale.

Other students should submit their applications via their equivalent office. The proposal should have the endorsement of their supervisor and ideally should be sent to us from their supervisor's email account. This is to ensure that the quality of the proposal is checked by a member of staff at the university prior to it coming to Hampshire.

Research relating to Adult Services

These procedures relate solely to Children’s Services. There are similar arrangements in the Adult Services Department. These can be viewed at Should you require further information about these, Rachel Dittrich (research manager - Adult Services) can be contacted via email at or by telephoning 01962 835213.