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Research - Frequently asked questions

What is locality authorisation?

How long will it take to get Te Whatu Ora | Te Toka Tumai Auckland approval?

Te Whatu Ora | Te Toka Tumai Auckland Institutional Approval

What is locality authorisation?

The term Locality Authorisation refers specifically to the process used by the NZ Health and Disability Ethics Committees (HDECs)() for ascertaining that all local governance issues have been addressed at sites participating in a research project.

If Te Whatu Ora | Te Toka Tumai Auckland is a site for your research project (ie, one or more of the procedures described in the study protocol will be conducted here) and your project requires approval from an HDEC, then you will need to request a Locality Authorisation from Te Whatu Ora | Te Toka Tumai Auckland.

Guide to obtaining locality authorisation from Te Whatu Ora | Te Toka Tumai Auckland [PDF, 101 KB]

How long will it take to get approval?

The duration of the review depends on several factors. The single most important of these is the quality and completeness of the set of documents sent to the Research Office for review. Applicants should check the Essential Documents checklist. If the Research Office has a complete set of documents, all application forms have been conscientiously completed, and the applicants have provided appropriate evidence of support from the service where the research will take place (i.e. sign off), this usually facilitates a smooth process.

Applications should be submitted before the deadline of the monthly Research Review Committee (RRC) meeting. Deadlines are two weeks prior to the meetings. After the meeting, you can expect the Committee's feedback within 3 working days. Māori review will be organised for you when you have submitted your documents and will occur in parallel with the RRC review. 

How to submit an HDEC annual progress report (or other HDEC Post-approval Form)

If you have an HDEC approval for your research it is a condition of that approval that you report on progress to HDEC, at least annually, until the conclusion of the study. When HDEC reviews and approves your annual progress report it will post a downloadable "Approved annual progress report" letter in the report's e-Submission screen. The letter will feature the next due date for annual reporting (typically 12 months since the previous due date) in bold. If your HDEC-approved study has a Te Whatu Ora | Te Toka Tumai Auckland locality authorisation (see above), the Research Office will be able to check that you are submitting annual reports in a timely way. Your approval will be withdrawn if you don't respond to reminders to do so. Make sure you know your next due date for annual reporting and aim to submit the report two to three weeks prior to that date to give HDEC time to process.

All other HDEC Post-approval Forms (amendments, protocol violations, final reports etc.) are submitted (when required) via HDEC Online Forms in the same way as annual progress reports. 

Guide for submitting HDEC annual progress reports (and other HDEC Post-approval Forms) [DOCX, 162 KB]

Te Whatu Ora | Te Toka Tumai Auckland Institutional Approval

This is NOT the same as ethics approval or HDEC locality authorisation.

All research conducted on our campuses or involving our patients, clients or staff, is important to Te Whatu Ora | Te Toka Tumai Auckland. There are financial, human resource, ethical, legal, planning, quality and risk issues. The primary role of the Research Office is to provide a service to investigators and management to address these issues in accordance with Te Whatu Ora | Te Toka Tumai Auckland policies and procedures.

You may not start your research project until you receive institutional approval from the Research Office.

Ethics review

If your research involves human participants, with very few exceptions, it will need to be approved by an ethics committee before you can start. Te Whatu Ora | Te Toka Tumai Auckland uses two kinds of ethics committees; the Ministry of Health's Health and Disability Ethics Committees (HDECs) and The Auckland Health Research Ethics Committee (AHREC). AHREC is Te Whatu Ora | Te Toka Tumai Auckland's institutional ethics committee.

Ethics committees check that proposed health and disability research meets established ethical standards that aim to protect participants who are either patients, their family/whānau/caregivers, staff or volunteers in clinical trials.

Most health research, research involving access to patient information, and all high-risk clinical research can be approved by an HDEC. 

Very low-risk research outside the scope or review for HDEC can be reviewed by AHREC.


What is an audit?

An audit is an independent review and examination of records and activities to assess the adequacy of system controls, to ensure compliance with established policies, operational procedures, and/or evidence-based standards of care and to recommend, where necessary changes in controls, policies, or procedures to ensure those standards are met. Audits do not need approval from the Research Office.

What is quality assurance?

The formal and systematic monitoring and reviewing of medical care delivery and outcome; designing activities to improve healthcare and overcome identified deficiencies in providers, facilities, or support systems; and carrying out follow-up steps or procedures to ensure that actions have been effective and no new problems have been introduced.

What is research?

Research is a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalisable knowledge (requires ethical approval).