Learn about our ethics process
We use an ethics approval process to ensure we produce high quality research while respecting the rights of participants. These standards, set through our registered independent Human Research Ethics Committee, are the heart of our research rigour.
We are reviewing our policy in regards to external applications. For the foreseeable future HREC will not be accepting external applications.
Human Research Ethics Committee
BSL's Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) is registered through the National Health and Medical Research Centre (NHMRC) which oversees the conduct and compliance of all research conducted in Australia involving humans. Ethics review is undertaken by the HREC in line with the NHMRC National Guidelines to ensure risks to all involved are managed and their safety and privacy is protected, both personally and legally.
The HREC is therefore warranted under the National Guidelines, and other relevant legislation, to ensure all activities conducted under the auspice of BSL are ethically sound and underpinned by the NHMRC’s five ethical principles:
For more information and guidelines on ethical conduct in research, see the NHMRC Guidelines.
Our ethical standards
To ensure that we maintain and develop these high ethical standards, our research must also adhere to the standards outlined in BSL's Research Ethics & Integrity Policy. Our own ethics applications must demonstrate:
- the research will be relevant to the lives of people on low incomes
- participants are considered as partners in the research process
- the research will not harm participants
- people have the right not to participate, with no adverse consequences from that decision
Ethics committee membership
The Human Research Ethics Committee comprises a diverse mix of internal and external members as stipulated under the NHMRC Guidelines. Janet Cohen is an independent chair of the committee. A commercial lawyer, Janet has extensive experience in the governance of research ethics.
Head of Chaplaincy and Diocesan Partnerships, Brotherhood of St. LaurenceLearn more
Our ethics process
There are two levels of ethical review conducted by BSL’s Human Research Ethics Committee and determined by the project’s perceived level of risk:
Level of risk
Low or negligible risk where there is no foreseeable risk of harm or discomfort, or it is foreseeable but not beyond inconvenience
Expedited online review permitted undertaken by two rotating members of the Brotherhood’s HREC
Above low or negligible risk where there is foreseeable risk of harm or discomfort beyond inconvenience
Full HREC review required undertaken by all HREC members at the next bi-monthly scheduled meeting
There are four different forms to be completed at stages of the ethics review process.
If you have any questions on the conduct of ethical research, or require guidance on preparing an ethics submission, email Ethics@bsl.org.au.
Our ethics committee meeting times
The Human Research Ethics Committee currently meets bi-monthly or as needed.
All applications must be sent to Ethics@bsl.org.au at least 4 weeks before the scheduled meeting date.