Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Expression of Interest Research Ethics Committee Membership

Tusla Child and Family Agency are currently seeking Expressions Of Interest from interested parties for its Independent Research Ethics Committee (REC)

There are three categories of membership and separate application forms are required for each:



The Child and Family Agency Act 2013, specifies a role of the Agency to undertake or commission research relating to its functions.  The National Research Office (NRO) was set up to undertake this role. Under this remit, Tusla’s Research Ethics Committee (REC) is appointed by the Agency to review research applications to assess formally if the research meets the ethical standards required by Tusla in the service of its clients.

A REC provides independent guidance to participants, researchers, funders, sponsors, employers, organisations and professionals on the extent to which proposals for research studies comply with recognised ethical standards[1].

The Tusla Child and Family Agency REC is an independent committee of the Agency formally approved by the Tusla Board.  The REC’s implementation and operations is supported by Tusla’s National Research Office, Quality & Regulations Directorate. To support the REC, Tusla has approved Research Ethics Committee (REC) Guidelines in June 2015[2], Research Ethics Committee Standard Operating Procedures in 2022 (2022)[3] and set out the rationale, membership, and protocols for the Agency’s Research Ethics Committee (REC) and the basis for ethical review of research.

Tusla’s REC acts in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki[4]. It also adheres to GDPR regulations, Data Protection legislation, Health Research Regulations 2018[5] and to Codes of Professional Conduct and Ethics such as the Health and Social Care Professionals’ Registration Board. It follows international good practice guidelines, relevant EU Directives, national guidelines and national legislation pertaining to the ethical conduct of research. Tusla recognises the role and value of Public and Patient involvement (PPI)[6] in research and supports the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion in research. 

Tusla’s Independent REC has been in situ since March 2021.  This was the first Independent REC within the Agency and it has been an asset to support the work of the Agency, the National Research Office and the wider research ecosystem.  The current REC comprises of 16 Members, including, external members, Tusla staff, and Public Contributors / Members of the Public.

Tusla’s Board is now inviting applications via Expression of Interest from interested parties (to join Members remaining for another term on the Independent Research Ethics Committee. 

Why become a member of Tusla’s Independent REC?

Being a member of Tusla’s REC means you get to contribute to reviewing research applications and approve research proposals that demonstrate best practice in research participation.

There is also the chance to gain insight into research emerging in various areas concerning children and families, i.e., Child Protection, Alternative Care, Residential Services, Tusla Education Support Services, to name but a few.  An explanation of the services and functions provided by the Agency is available on www.tusla.ie

Role of REC members on the committee

REC members are required to:

  • carry out a detailed review on all research applications assigned to them by the REC Chair.
  • to the best of their knowledge and ability, review research applications in line with best practice and ethical standards
  • provide feedback reviews via the Electronic Research Application Management System on all assigned Applications.
  • provide written feedback for REC meetings and where specifically required to the Chair via the Electronic Research Application Management system
  • attend scheduled meetings (online and in person) and engage in and contribute to discussions about REC applications at REC meetings. 
  • support the REC to reach a consensus decision on full approval, approval with revisions, resubmission or research declined.
  • maintain confidentiality in respect of the work of the REC at all times.
  • work with and maintain respectful relationships with all committee members, the REC administrator and the REC Chair in the functioning of the REC and all matters pertaining to the REC.
  • declare conflicts of interests where they arise[7].
  • notify the REC Chair and/or Administrator of any absences expected or unexpected.
  • demonstrate and promote Tusla’s values of trust, respect, kindness and empowerment and review applications in alignment with Tusla’s Public Sector Duty.


The REC now seeks a broad representation of External Members, Tusla Staff and Public Contributors / Members of the Public to review REC applications pertaining to the following range of services:

  • Child Protection and Welfare Services
  • Alternative Care
  • Birth Information Tracing and Adoption
  • Family Support
  • Children’s Service Regulation
  • Tusla Education Support Service (TESS)
  • Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Services
  • Further information is available on ServicesTusla - Child and Family Agency

Skills, Competencies and / or knowledge

Tusla REC members are required to demonstrate the following skills and competencies; the ability to: review and critically analyse applications, to formulate opinions, to assess potential risk, to provide accurate and clear verbal and written feedback, to maintain confidentiality, to demonstrate excellent communication skills and maintain relationships across the REC.

Tusla REC members are required to demonstrate an understanding and familiarity of the following: principles and best practice of research ethics, research design, research methodologies, consent and assent processes, participant selection and recruitment and approaches to data analysis. An awareness of Public & Patient Involvement (PPI) in research and Data Protection would be beneficial. Tusla REC members should draw from their own knowledge base of their respective discipline or service area and should have a broad understanding of the wider services provided by Tusla. 

Public Contributors on the REC may include: parents, other family members, carers, foster carers, former service users, (i.e., those with previous experience of Tusla services for example: family support services, educational welfare services, social work and social care services), the general public or a mixture of the above.

Public Contributors on the REC are not required to have experience of sitting on a REC or applying for ethical approval for academic or other research requirements. An academic qualification is not required.


Meetings are scheduled every 6 weeks.  To align with Tusla’s blended working policy, meetings may alternate between face-to-face meetings and MS Teams.  The primary location for face-to-face meetings will be the Brunel Building, Dublin, however, on occasion, some other Tusla locations may be chosen.

It is anticipated that both attendance at a REC meeting and related preparation and follow-up, will require a commitment of 16 hours within any given six-week period REC members will be assigned to the REC for the duration of 3 years.  REC membership will be reviewed every 3 years or on an interim basis, if required.

Travel and subsistence expenses will be reimbursed under the terms and conditions of Tusla’s financial regulations. For the purpose of claiming travel and subsistence expenses, the Child and Family Agency HQ, Brunel Building, Military Road, Dublin 8 is the assigned base for this role.

Induction Training

All REC members are required to attend the REC Induction training programme. This will be delivered in an online and/or face to face format. Relevant on-going training, as and when required, will be provided to the REC.

Operation of the Committee

Meetings will convene every 6 weeks and REC members are expected to attend a minimum of two thirds of all scheduled meetings annually, where possible, i.e. attend a minimum of 6 meetings out of an expected 9 meetings per calendar year.

The meeting can only proceed when at least one third of REC members are present, the Chair or Vice-Chair and at least one Public Contributor.

REC members will report to the REC Chair and communicate with the REC Administrator as required. The minutes of the meeting will be prepared by the REC Administrator, in consultation with the Chair, and other members as necessary.

The administration of the REC will be overseen by the REC Administrator in consultation with the REC Chair. The operations of the REC are supported by the National Research Office.

All REC Members will have a Tusla laptop and assigned email to access assigned REC Applications and input Reviewer Feedback on the Electronic Research Application Management.

All materials produced by the REC members in their role on the committee is the ownership of Tusla and will be stored in compliance with data protection regulations and Tusla data retention policy.

Data Protection Practices:

Tusla fully respects REC members right to privacy. Any personal information provided by REC members  will be treated with the highest standards of security and confidentiality, strictly in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations and the Data Protection Act 2018.  REC membership will be published on Research Centre Webpages with the consent of REC members.

Further information is available in our REC Standard Operation Procedures 

Selection Process:

Eligible applicants will be invited for a skills match meeting with the REC chairperson and nominated person(s), this meeting will take place in an online format.  It is intended that the skills match meeting will take place 13th – 24th May 2024.

Applicants will be notified of the date and time of the skills match meeting by email to their email address provided in this application form.


REC members will be selected on the basis of their eligibility as provided in their supporting statement and based on their skills match meeting. A panel may be formed where remaining applicants meet eligibility criteria and the panel will be retained for 3 years.

Late or incomplete applications without a completed application and supporting statement will not be considered.



[1] Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) (2012) International Review of Research

Ethics Structures. Available at https://www.hiqa.ie/publications/international-review-research-ethics-structures

[2] https://www.tusla.ie/uploads/content/Research_Ethics_Committee_Guidelines_Final_June_2015.pdf

[3] https://www.tusla.ie/uploads/content/REC_SOP_Version_2_May_2022.pdf

[4] https://www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-declaration-of-helsinki-ethical-principles-for-medical-research-involving-human-subjects/

[5] http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2018/si/314/made/en/pdf

[6] https://www.tusla.ie/research/tusla-research-office/public-and-patient-involvement/

[7] Conflict of interest is defined in the REC SOPs as follows:A conflict of interest arises when a member (or members) of a Research Ethics Committee holds interests with respect to specific applications for review that may jeopardise his/her ability to provide a free and independent evaluation of the research focused on the protection of the research participants. This includes actual and perceived conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest may arise when a REC member has financial, material, institutional or social ties to the research which must be declared.



WEBSITE BY CREATIVE INC & Kooba Web Design Dublin