Terms of Reference

This page provides information about the Terms of Reference for the Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee.

Page last updated: 12 December 2007

Terms of Reference

Functions and Objectives

All research involving humans funded or conducted by the Department of Health, must be approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC).

The role of the Australian Government Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee ('the Committee'), an approved HREC, is to provide ethical assessment of non-biomedical research proposals involving humans that:

  • are funded by the Department of Health; or
  • require access to; or linkage of; Departmental data collections; or
  • are initiated or conducted, either wholly or in part, by Departmental staff
and either
  • have not been considered by another HREC; or
  • have been referred to the Committee by a data custodian or by a senior executive of the Department.


The Committee'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.

Role and Charter of the Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee

The Committee will:

  • review all proposed research involving humans that meet the Committee Functions and Objectives criteria and make a determination as to whether or not they meet the requirements of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (updated May 2015),
  • monitor research projects until completion to ensure ongoing compliance with the National Statement and associated guidelines;
  • maintain a record of all research projects of which it makes an assessment, so that the following information is readily accessible:
    • name of the relevant organisation/institution
    • principal/senior researcher/s
    • contact officer’s details
    • short title of the project
    • external ethics committee approval/non-approval where applicable
    • date of Committee approval
    • any special conditions related to approval
    • dates for review
  • establish and maintain regular liaison with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Australian Health Ethics Committee.
The Committee 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.

Submissions to the Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee
Information on how to make a submission to the Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee.

>> Making a submission
Contacting the Department of Health Human Research Ethics Committee

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