As of 1 July 2021, the HDEC Secretariat is no longer be performing Scope of Review (SOR) assessments. HDEC Secretariat is responsible for managing the health and disability ethics applications that require HDEC review as per the requirements under the HDEC Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This decision has been made because the Secretariat’s ability to ensure quality responsiveness on these applications is being impacted due to a significant increase in demand for SOR assessments.  

The intended purpose of SOR assessments is to provide clarity for researchers who are unsure where their study fits within HDEC review (Chapter 3 of the SOPs), and what review pathway it requires. We understand, however, that the requirement of other ethics committees for a letter confirming a project is out of scope has increased since our SOPs were written, and this requirement is responsible for the significant increase in SOR submissions over the years.

Because performing SOR assessments, as detailed above, is not within our SOP responsibilities, combined with the increasing workload since the SOPs were written, we are prioritising our responsibilities under the SOPs to ensure quality responsiveness to research in HDEC’s scope. 

The Secretariat will continue to provide advice on whether your project is in scope for HDEC by phone or email, however, this advice will not result in the provision of an out of scope letter. Going forward, if you do require a letter you will need to submit an application through Online Forms.

The good news is that we expect to expand our optional services, such as SOR assessments, with the introduction of our new online platform, Ethics Review Manager, in September. More information on this to follow.

We are committed to continuing to support Health & Disability research in New Zealand and thank you for your understanding during this time. 

If you have any questions about this notice, please contact us on 0800 4 38442 or at

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