NCSS Ethics Review Committee

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


SSAs have a responsibility to ensure research conducted is ethical. In addition, ethics approval is often a requirement for academic publication. The ERC provides a robust, accessible and timely ethics review platform tailored for SSAs. This helps SSAs familiarise and navigate the processes required.

Application Criteria:
  • Applicant must come from a NCSS member SSA and 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, as defined by the Human Biomedical Research Act
  • Researchers involved in the study require Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) certification in research ethics. Staff from NCSS member 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 Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the ERC secretariat before submitting an application.
    *Before GST. GST at 8% applicable before 1 Jan 2024, and at 9% with effect from 1 Jan 2024
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. Once these amendments have been made, the ERC will approve the study and the SSA may proceed. For more information on the ERC, please email the secretariat at