The policy framework applies to health and social care research involving patients, service users or their relatives or carers. This includes research involving them indirectly, for example using information that the NHS or social care services have collected about them.
The Health Research Authority and the health departments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have developed the policy framework following public consultation. It replaces the separate Research Governance Frameworks in each UK country with a single, modern set of principles for the whole UK.
These principles protect and promote the interests of patients, service users and the public in health and social care research, by describing ethical conduct and proportionate, assurance-based management of health and social care research, so as to support and facilitate high-quality research in the UK that has the confidence of patients, service users and the public.
It is for organisations and individuals that have responsibilities for health and social care research. This includes funders, sponsors, researchers and their employers, research sites and care providers.