Research and analysis

Research governance in children's services: the scope for new advice

This project was commissioned by the former DCSF to inform the development of guidance on research governance in children's services.



The ethics and governance of research in children’s services raise particular issues. These include the governance of access to children, and ethical issues such as consent. In addition, since 2003, there have been major reforms in the way that children’s services are planned and delivered in central and local government.

Children’s services in England comprise a very varied constituency, ranging from lone providers to institutional provision, and including private, voluntary and public sector provision.

In 2009, following a period of informal consultation with key stakeholders, the former DCSF commissioned this research which aimed to identify and evaluate existing arrangements for research governance and ethics review in children’s services in England. It also aimed to make recommendations for the future development of those governance arrangements with the overall goal of ensuring a more coherent and transparent system.

The first stage of the work involved thorough scoping reviews of relevant research literature on ethics issues in research with children and young people, and of initiatives relating to research governance and ethics review procedures. At the same time, an electronic survey was circulated by email to all 152 local authority Children’s Services Directorates.

Published 23 December 2010