National Council of Social Service Ethics Review Committee

The NCSS Ethics Review Committee (ERC) reviews research studies conducted by social service agencies to ensure that the welfare and rights of human study participants are protected. Social service agencies are encouraged to have their research studies undergo ethical review and approval before commencing.

 

Application Criteria

  • Applicant must come from an NCSS member agency and to pay a $200 application fee at the point of application. Researchers from universities or medical groups with access to their own Institutional Review Boards (IRB) should approach those IRBs instead.
  • Nature of the research study should not be human biomedical research. Click here for more information on the human biomedical research act. 
  • Researchers involved in the study require Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) certification in research ethics. Click here to access the CITI website. Staff from NCSS members agencies can create an account affiliated with NCSS to access the required modules for free. 
  • For more information, please contact the NCSS ERC secretariat at research@ncss.gov.sg. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the ERC secretariat before submitting an application. 

Review Process

  • Applications will be reviewed by a committee of independent members – academics and senior representatives from the social service sector.
  • For studies that involve no more than minimal risk, applicants can expect to receive reviewer’s comments within ten working days. For studies that involve more than minimal risk, applicants can expect to receive reviewer’s comments within two months.
  • Reviewers will indicate the required amendments to the study before ethics approval can be granted. Only once these amendments have been made, will the ERC approve the study.

Benefits

  • Social service agencies have a responsibility to ensure any research they conduct is ethical. In addition, ethics approval is often a requirement for academic publication. However, navigating the ethics review process can often be a challenging or lengthy process. 
    The NCSS ERC serves as an additional resource to help ensure research conducted in the social service sector are ethical. The NCSS ERC strives to provide a robust, accessible, and timely ethics review platform catered specifically for social service agencies in Singapore.