Evaluation and Monitoring
Departmental Ethics Committee
All research involving humans, funded or conducted by the Department of Health and Ageing must be approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing Departmental Ethics Committee (DEC) is an approved HREC.
Information on how to make a submission to the DEC.
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About the Departmental Ethics Committee (DEC)
The role of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (the ‘Department’) Departmental Ethics Committee (DEC), an approved Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), is to provide ethical assessment of non-biomedical research proposals involving humans that:
- are funded by the Department of Health and Ageing; or
- require access to, or linkage of, Departmental data collections; or
- are initiated or conducted, either wholly or in part, by Departmental staff;
- have not been considered by another HREC; or
- have been referred to the DEC by a data custodian or by a senior executive of the Department.
The DEC's objectives include:
- protection of the welfare and the rights, including privacy and confidentiality, of participants involved, either directly or indirectly, in the proposals referred to it;
- promotion of ethical standards in human research and in information privacy, in research proposals referred to it, by providing guidance to the researcher/s; and
- facilitation of ethical research, through efficient and effective review processes.
The DEC operates in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans (2007) as issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and reports annually to the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC), a subcommittee of the NHMRC.
- Completed research applications MUST be received by the secretariat at least 13 working days before the DEC meeting.
- The DEC process can be lengthy if you do not submit ALL the information as requested in the application form. For applications that include all required information, please allow a minimum of 4 weeks for ethical approval.
- The DEC will provide assistance to you in determining whether or not your project does need HREC approval. Please contact the DEC Secretariat with details of your research who will refer your enquiry to the Chair, Dr Tony Ireland. Mr Kim Bessell, Principal Pharmacy Adviser, Pharmaceutical Benefits Division is the Department's Representative.
- The DEC will only approve research for a maximum of three years. If your research will be conducted over a longer period, the DEC will expedite the renewal of your application as you are required to re-apply every three years. If there are major changes to your research the renewal may take longer.
- The DEC maintains a record for all research projects of which it makes an assessment including the date of approval and the period for which approval is granted.
- If requested, the DEC will review research applications that involve research ON departmental staff.
- Data custodians may stipulate clearance by DEC as a condition that must be met for the release of data, whether or not the research has received ethical approval from another HREC.
- The DEC is not responsible for the release of Departmental data. Release of data must be provided by the appropriate data custodian. Release of Departmental data does not constitute evidence of a review by a HREC.