Research governance

Research governance framework (RGF)

If you want to carry out research within or on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council, either with our staff or clients, you need to get approval.

Some research studies may also need approval from the NHS Health Research Authority before you send your application.

Check if you need NHS Research Ethics Committee approval

Research studies involving four or more local authorities will also need Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) approval.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005, provides specialist safeguards for participants who lack capacity to consent to research. You can read questions and answers about Mental Capacity Act 2005 on the Health Research Authority's website.


The research governance framework (PDF 224.2KB) sets out standards that all research using vulnerable children and adult information should meet.

It aims to ensure that the interests of our service users are always put first and that the research makes a real contribution to increasing knowledge and improving practice. The governance process provides a defined quality assurance mechanism for ensuring that all research taking place using vulnerable children and adults meets legal, ethical and quality requirements.

Research governance can be defined as the broad range of regulations, principles and standards of good practice that exist to achieve and continuously improve research quality across all aspects of health and social care.

It is a core standard for health and social care organisations to have systems to ensure the principles and requirements of the research governance framework are consistently applied. Health and social care organisations have to take this standard into account in discharging their duty of quality under Section 45 of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003.

Why do we need it?

The framework provides a quality assurance mechanism for managing research, and defines clear standards and procedures of good practice to enable us to make sound and robust decisions concerning the research conducted in Central Bedfordshire. It outlines guidance for ensuring research meets legal, ethical, scientific and financial standards and also to maximise learning and reduce risks for researchers, participants and any potential risks which may affect us.

Apply online

Submit a research application

Anyone wanting to conduct research in Central Bedfordshire using vulnerable children or adults needs to complete and submit an application form, along with supporting documentation.

Upon receipt, your application will be considered and you will be notified of our decision to approve, modify or reject the research proposal.

If your proposed research is of a different nature and does not involve our customers, please contact for further information.