National Research Ethics Service (NRES)

National Research Ethics Service (NRES) was launched on 1 April 2007. The NRES comprises the Head Office function (formerly COREC) and NHS RECs in England. NRES will continue to work with colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to maintain the established UK-wide framework for ethical review of research.

The change in name symbolises the change to a more responsive and robust research ethics review process, and makes a shift away from the concept of a system composed of only Research Ethics Committees (RECs) to one of a service that will provide robust ethical review to protect the safety, dignity and well being of research participants as well as ensuring through the delivery of a professional service that it is also able to promote and facilitate ethical research within the NHS.

It also:

  • Maintains an overview of the operation of the research ethics system in England, and alerts the Department of Health and other responsible authorities if the need arises for them to review policy and operational guidance relating to Research Ethics Committees (RECs).
  • Develops and manages a national training programme for Research Ethics Committee members and administrators in England.
  • Maintains close contact with officials in the Department of Health with policy responsibility for wider issues of research ethics and with colleagues from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • With appropriate advice, develops, implements and maintains operating procedures and standards for RECs that will be consistent across the UK.
  • Establishes and manages regional Offices of Research Ethics Committees (ORECs) to oversee the activity of RECs; provides advice to the Department of Health on the implications and practicalities of transposing the EU Directive on Good Clinical Practice in Medicinal Trials in the UK.
  • NRES at the NPSA in England works closely with colleagues with similar responsibilities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.