ds Updates
10 March 2021
The HDECs are currently receiving a high volume of requests please be aware there may be a delay but we will endeavour to respond to you within 5 – 7 working days.  

If your matter is urgent please call 0800 4 38442 (0800 4 Ethic)  
If your query is related to COVID-19 or you have a COVID-19 related trial to submit please put COVID-19 in the subject title and we will respond ASAP. 
For technical support with Online Forms please contact the Infonetica helpdesk on 0800 634 758 or +64 4 9747675 (available from 12pm to 6pm NZT Mon to Fri) or email  helpdesk@infonetica.net 
Thank you for your patience and understanding.

19 January 2021

HDEC received a high volume of application submissions towards the end of 2020, more than its scheduled meetings could review due to the Standard Operating Procedures limiting the HDEC to 12 applications a meeting. As a result, the HDEC secretariat following ongoing discussions with the Committee, was able to come up with two additional meeting dates over January and February 2021.


These extra meetings can only hold a maximum of 6 applications each. Only the overflow of submissions made in 2020 will be assigned to one of these two extra meetings.


The extra meetings holding a maximum of 6 applications will be held on:


  1. 29 January 2021 from 9am – 12pm
  2. 12 February 2021 from 9am – 12pm.


Details of the meeting and how to take part will be sent out to research contacts the week before meeting dates.


HDECs will endeavour to hold as many extra meetings as possible in order to clear the backlog of applications submitted at the end of 2020 and over its shut down period (23 December 2020 – 17 January 2021). We will keep you updated via Online Forms and the HDEC website as new meeting dates become available.

We appreciate your understanding, and note that HDEC are reviewing their workload this year to avoid this situation occurring in future.

8 December 2020
Urgent update relating to last HDEC Meeting of 2020
Please note all Health & Disability Ethics Committee (HDEC) meetings are now full for the year. 

We have been inundated with submissions trying to make our final set of Committee meetings. Our last meeting of the year, set for 15 December, reached its maximum capacity for applications on Tuesday - 01 December. We had hoped to have another meeting this month but were not able to reach a quorate to enable the meeting to happen. HDEC will try to hold an additional meeting in January 2021 to clear any outstanding applications that did not make the final 2020 meeting dates.

We appreciate your understanding and wish you all a restful break.

4 November 2020

HDEC Christmas close down

The HDEC’s last meeting for 2020 will be Northern A HDEC on Tuesday 15 December 2020. The Agenda for this meeting will close on Thursday 3 December 2020 at 12pm.

The HDEC will close at 12pm on Tuesday 22 December 2020 and will reopen on 18 January 2021.  During this time the calendar day review clock will stop.  The first meeting for 2021 will be the Central HDEC on 26 January 2021.  The Agenda for this meeting will close on Thursday 14 January at 12pm.

The Ministry of Health Ethics Secretariat will be closed from5pm on the 22 December 2020 and reopen on the 11 January 2021.

30 June 2020
IT system and revised Standard Operating Procedures 

As part of the NEAC Roadshow in February the HDEC did a presentation on the Modernisation of Ethics project that covered the review of the IT System, HDEC Standard Operating Procedures and the HDEC Terms of Reference. The IT system was scheduled to be in place by 1 July 2020.  Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 response this project and the delivery of the IT system has been delayed. It is now expected that the IT System will be available towards the end of the year. If you have experienced difficulties in applying the NEAC standards to the current HDEC application form, please contact the HDEC Secretariat for advice. 

Scope of Review Process 

In March 2020 the HDEC Secretariat suspended the scope of review service to researchers due to the COVID-19 work load. As we are now in level 1 on the National COVID -19 framework, this service is now available.  For all scope of review requests please complete the scope of review form on our web page and send through to the HDEC Secretariat.  Please allow up to 7 working days turn around for our response. 

If you submitted a scope of review request prior to or during the lock-down period and have not received a response, please get in contact with the HDEC Secretariat. 

COVID-19 emergency Standard Operating Procedures (eSOP) 

The Secretariat are still receiving applications under the COVID-19 eSOP. The eSOP was stood down on Friday 22 May 2020. The decision was made due to the return to alert level 2 and may be reversed if the government returns to level 3 or above. All new submissions will be reviewed via the standard full or expedited review pathways, as per the Standard Operating Procedures. 

Contacting the HDEC Secretariat 

The HDEC Secretariat is based at the Ministry of Health in Wellington. As the Ministry of Health is still active in the COVID-19 response the team is spending 70% of their time in the office. The HDECs email and the 0800 service is fully functional. Please send an email in the first instance unless your query is urgent. If you have sent an email and do not get a response within 3 working days, please call us on 0800 4 ETHIC.

25 May 2020

The HDEC emergency COVID-19 operating procedures will no longer be operational

Effective at the end of Friday 22 May, the HDECs will no longer be offering the expedited 5-day review pathway for COVID-19-related applications and post-approval forms. All new submissions will instead be reviewed via the standard full or expedited review pathways, as per the standard operating procedures. This decision was made due to the return to alert level 2, and may be reversed if the government returns to alert levels 3 or 4.

As the E-SOP is no longer operational, all amendments regardless of their nature need to be submitted for HDEC review prior to implementation (except where they address urgent safety measures). Studies that were halted during levels 3 and 4 and are now re-starting according to the previously HDEC-approved protocol are not required to notify HDECs via an amendment. However, where the protocol has been amended this must be submitted for review.

Studies may resume while following government and DHB safety guidelines

The HDECs believe that, where government and DHB safety guidelines are followed, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to study participants in alert levels 1 and 2 are minimal. As such, the equipoise of clinical studies is not expected to be significantly affected, however researchers should take a common sense approach when considering the risk: benefit ratio of each study. 

HDEC Secretariat working from home

The secretariat will be working from home at level 2 and as such will have limited capacity to answer the 0800 line. If you are not able to get through on this number please either send an email or call us on our personal work numbers which you will find in our emails.

We are still experiencing a high workload so please expect a delay in our response.

3 April 2020
COVID-19 Update 

1.        The HDECs have now established the new emergency committee and are ready to receive COVID-19 related applications. COVID-19 must still meet all standards within the National Ethics Standards and be accompanied by evidence of scientific review. 

2.        The HDECs ask that all applications for research intended to start in the near future ensure that the research operates within the restrictions set by the Alert Level 4. This means that there should be no new studies recruiting healthy volunteers. The HDECs will still be receiving applications for ethical review for new studies designed to commence once the restrictions are lifted 

3.        Within the COVID-19 setting, it is paramount that researchers prioritise the safety of participants and staff. All research, including that related to the pandemic, should consider the risk of transmission of the virus that participation entails, and must be justified in light of that risk. Participants must be adequately informed of any risk of transmission. 

4.        Researchers should also consider how their research might consume medical resources which might otherwise be made available to clinical staff working in response to the pandemic. 

5.        Where amendments are made due to advice issued by the sponsor, researchers need to detail what that advice will specifically mean for the study in NZ, and should produce a letter/email informing the participants of the updated procedures. Where those changes are due to government-mandated restrictions and do not increase the risk to participant safety, they may be implemented immediately and reported to HDEC via the regular expedited pathway as a protocol deviation. Where they could add risk, HDEC should be contacted to request that the protocol deviation be reviewed by the emergency committee. 

6.        Where recruitment or screening is suspended due to the pandemic, this may be submitted via the regular expedited review pathway (not to the emergency committee). 

7.        Where participants are already recruited in a study, suspending the study should be reported by submitting an amendment form, and will be assigned to the emergency committee. Halting the study may occur prior to HDEC approval if doing so is urgent. 

8.        Only Clinical Trials where enrolled participants receiving a product with therapeutic intent should continue during a level 3 and 4 response of the National COVID-19 Response Plan.

Any new recruitment and screening of participants may continue so long as: 

a.        there is no contravening of the relevant isolation status at that level of alert as per the National COVID-19 Response Plan, and 

b.        continuing would have no adverse effect on the provision of care for those patients during the DHB’s COVID-19 response. 

If these are not met, then recruitment and screening must discontinue.

23 March 2020

The COVID-19 Emergency Response: Ethical Review Operating Procedures (eSOP) 

From Monday 23 March 2020 the eSOP will become a live document to guide and assist in the ethical review of research specific to or affected by the COVID-19 response. The eSOP is available at https://ethics.health.govt.nz/ 

We ask all researchers who submit a COVID-19 related application (new study or a post approval form related to a currently approved study) through Online Forms to also notify us of submission via the HDEC email (hdecs@health.govt.nz) with the following wording in the subject line ‘COVID -19 new study’ or ‘COVID-19 Amendment’. This will allow the Secretariat to easily identify and triage applications to the correct pathway. 

The eSOP will not apply to research not related to or impacted by COVID-19. 

To assist with the expected increase in workload the Ethics Secretariat will no longer be providing the scope of review service. However, this policy will be reviewed monthly. If you are not sure if your research sits within the scope of HDEC review, please consult your institution’s research office or complete and submit an ethics application via the Online Forms portal for HDEC consideration. 

For all other correspondence please limit email and phone calls to urgent queries only. Please contact the Ethics Team on 0800 4 ETHIC (08004 38442 or +64 4 819 6877 from outside New Zealand). HDEC email: hdecs@health.govt.nz 

Please be aware that the Ethics Secretariat will not be working in the office for the foreseeable future. Given that we are now at Level 3 of the COVID-19 Response. Please be patient when waiting for a response. Our 0800 number is operational but will be diverted to a cell phone.   

Noho ora mai | Wishing you good health

26 February 2020
High Level of Demand for Secretariat Services 
Tena koutou 

The HDEC Secretariat is currently experiencing a high level of demand of service which will likely cause delays. This is attributed to back log experienced by: the HDEC Christmas shut down period, secretariat training, HDEC committee member training and staff involved in the delivery of the NEAC Standards Road Show. 

We apologise for any delays that you may experience.  If you are waiting for an urgent decision letter from the Secretariat, please phone 0800 4 ETHIC and speak to one of our team members. 

Ngâ mihi maioha 

HDEC Ethics Secretariat 

3 February 2020
HDEC Implementation of the new National Ethical Standards 

The new NEAC National Ethical Standards for Health and Disability Research and Quality Improvement came into effect on December 19, 2019. Please visit https://neac.health.govt.nz/ for further information on these standards. 

From December 19, 2019, all new HDEC applications, Provisional Approvals in progress and any HDEC Post Approval Forms will be assessed using these new standards. All current HDEC approvals remain valid. 

As the HDEC system is continual and research is submitted/reviewed every week, there was not an opportunity to implement the Standards where in progress applications would not be impacted. The HDEC will work with the Ethics Secretariat and researchers to minimise any disruption or complications that may eventuate during the transition between the old and new standards and for any of the in-progress review applications. 

The Ethics Secretariat acknowledges that the current HDEC application forms that are located on Online Forms is not yet aligned with the new standards. The Ethics Secretariat is currently working with the HDEC on a new suite of application forms as well as updating its IT infrastructure.  The new forms will be introduced in July 2020. The Ethics Secretariat thanks you for your patience during this time. 

For current research approved under the 2012 (or earlier) Ethical Guidelines for Observational Studies or the Ethical Guidelines for Intervention Studies researchers, must meet or exceed the new standards when undertaking health and disability research. 

The coordinating Investigator has the overall responsibility of the ethics of their research and have the primary responsibility for identifying and addressing any ethical issues that may occur as a result of this change. If you determine that a substantial amendment is required, this should occur through the Post Approval Form Pathway. 

If you have any questions on the HDEC implementation of the NEAC Ethical Standards, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Ethics Secretariat via email:  hdecs@health.govt.nz 

15 January 2020
HDEC Secretariat Availability for 20-24 January 2020

The HDEC Secretariat will have limited staff members on duty during the week of 20 to 24 January 2020. 
On Monday 20 January the Ministry of Health's Wellington Office will be closed to observe Wellington Anniversary Day. From the  21 to 24 January all Ethics Secretariat  staff will be going through a internal training program which may cause a delay in response times to both our 0800 number and the HDEC email service. 

We apologise for any delays that you may experience during this time. 

13 January 2020
The revised National Ethical Standards are live 

We are proud to launch the new Ethical Standards for Health and Disability Research and Quality Improvement. 

In February, The Ministry of Health Ethics team will be running training days for researchers and users of the revised Standards in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. training will cover many new and important changes from the previous ethics Guidelines. 

Click here to register your attendance at the Auckland training 

Click here to register your attendance at the Wellington training 

Click here to register your attendance at the Christchurch training 

Click here to register your attendance at the Dunedin training 

To read the new Standards, please visit neac.health.govt.nz 

25 November 2019

24 October 2019

The revised National Ethics Standards

NEAC are pleased to announce that the revised National Ethics Standards for Health and Disability Research (the Standards) will be published on 16 December 2019. The Standards apply to all health and disability research and quality improvement in New Zealand.

These standards set out the ethical requirements that:

· researchers must meet or exceed when undertaking health and disability research and

· health service providers and disability service providers[1]must meet or exceed when conducting quality improvement activities.

The Standards apply whether or not research or quality improvement activities require review by an ethics committee.

These Standards take a risk-based approach to ethical oversight. Ethical review should be proportionate to the risk proposed by the activity. A low level of ethical scrutiny applied to a research project or quality improvement activity assessed as low or minimal risk does not imply a lower level of adherence to the core principles. The intention of the Standards is to ensure adequate protection of participants while reducing unnecessary impediments to, and facilitating the progress of, ethical research.

Quality improvement activities are generally low risk, but nevertheless providers should conduct them according to these Standards. Research can also be low risk, but is often not, warranting higher ethical oversight.


Implementation and ethical review systems

As part of the implementation of the Standards, NEAC and the Ministry of Health will host a road show throughout New Zealand, providing training and guidance of the new NEAC standards. The expected locations will be Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington,Christchurch and Dunedin and will take place during February 2020. Dates and venue details are to be confirmed and will be added to this page closer to the time.

There will be a period (until July 2020) where the existing Health and Disability Ethics Committee Online Forms IT system will continue to operate.  During this period, the HDEC online application system will still refer to the previous 2012 NEAC Guidelines, and reflect the fact that system was built for two different sets of guidelines.

NEAC has been informed by the Ministry of Health that they are due to commence a full review of the systems that support the work of the HDEC. This is part of a wider Ministry project that looks to modernise the Ministry’s Operational Ethics system and to ensure that the HDECs reflect the NEAC Standards and the New Zealand Health Research Strategy. As part of this project the current IT system will be upgraded with a new ethics application form which will be based on the revised NEAC Standards and the revised HDEC Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

In the meantime, NEAC ask that you complete the HDEC online application while using and referring to the revised Standards.

The Ministry has also informed NEAC that there will be a targeted public consultation process, where there is an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on the current HDEC SOPs, number of HDEC committees and type and number of HDEC membership categories.  This process is expected to commence in April/May 2020.

We welcome any feedback on the revised Standards and their implementation at neac@health.govt.nz

Further information

To access the full consultation document and summary of submissions, please go to https://neac.health.govt.nz/draft-national-ethical-standards-health-and-disability-research-consultation-document

[1] Health service providers include health service workers, nurses,clinicians and any person involved in quality improvement.

14 March 2019

Important Reminder: Muscle biopsies may only be performed by a Health Practitioner   

Performing a muscle biopsy is considered to be a “Restricted Procedure” under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 and the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (Restricted Activities) Order 2005. 

This means that muscle biopsies can only be performed by health practitioner who is registered with the appropriate authority under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, and is permitted by his or her scope of practice to perform a muscle biopsy. 

The Ministry will update its guidance on restricted procedures and its guidance for ethics committees, to clarify that muscle biopsies are a "restricted activity." (See Ministry of Health website “restricted activities under the Act”). 

A breach of this provision is punishable by a fine of up to $30,000 (see section 9 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003).

08 March 2019

CENTRAL HDEC meeting is moving from 23 April 2019-Tuesday to 26 April 2019 - Friday. The agenda closing date remains unchanged.

Thanks Team.

--- - - -  -  -  -   -   -   - 

12 December 2018
Christmas Hours
The Ethics Secretariat at the Ministry of Health will closed for the Christmas period on December 21 at 3pm and will not reopen until Monday 07 January 2019.

All the Health and Disability Ethics Committees will be closed from 21 December at 3pm and will not reopen until Tuesday 15 January.

For urgent study safety concerns or research participant complaints during this time please email rob_mchawk@moh.govt.nz.

The HDECs and the Ethics Secretariat would like to wish you all a very safe and happy Christmas period, and we look forward to working with you in 2019!

The HDEC Team

21 November 2018

Due to a high volume of applications recently received, the five remaining meetings for this year are likely to be full well in advance of their agenda close dates.  

Additionally, the HDEC Secretariat will be closed for the year from 21 December 2018 and the HDEC review clock will be paused from 25 December to 15 January inclusive.

We are in the process of working with Committee members to hold an additional meeting before the 21st December 2018. We will update this announcement once arrangements are confirmed.

The first meeting scheduled for 2019 will be the Central HDEC meeting on 22 January 2019.  Agenda close date for this meeting is 10 January 2019.

In the meantime please feel free to contact the Secretariat by email at: hdecs@moh.govt.nz  or by phone: 0800 4 38442.

21 August 2018
Kia Ora 

We are currently experiencing a high level of demand for the services of the HDEC Secretariat. Please be patient, due to a delay in resources it is taking longer than usual to respond. 

If your matter is an urgent ethics or patient enquiry, then please contact the Ethics Team on 0800 4 ETHIC (08004 38442 or +64 4 819 6877 from outside New Zealand). 



30 July 2018

The HDEC Newsletter - Winter Edition 2018 -  is now live 

This Newsletter will give you an update on changes to HDECs standards and expectations, as well as pointing you in the direction of new guidance that has been created to help you through the application process. 
Please see www.ethics.health.govt.nz for a copy of this newsletter.

15 May 2018
It is your responsibility to ensure that the file name to  attachments (eg Protocols, Surveys and PISF)  that are submitted with  Applications and Post Approval Forms,  are correctly labelled with the most current  version number and date. Please check that these are all correct before submitting your application.  Due to our increasing workload, the Secretariat will place a low priority on administrative decision letter changes.

22 November 2017


Kia Ora Koutou.  The Health and Disability Ethics Committee formally close between 25 December 2017 and 15 January 2018.

The calendar days between 25 December 2017 and 15 January 2018 will not count towards the review clock.  Review recommences on 16 January 2018.

Thank you

HDEC Secretariat

25 November 2016

Notice for Researchers

The last scheduled HDEC meeting for full review is Southern HDEC on 13 December 2016 in Christchurch. The agenda is full for this meeting.

You may still submit applications for expedited review up until 23 December 2016.  We will assign validated applications for full review to the next available HDEC meeting in 2017.

The next scheduled meeting for full HDEC review is 24 January 2017.  Southern HDEC in Christchurch.

If you have an urgent application for review please contact the HDEC Secretariat to discuss the matter.

The HDEC Secretariat will be on leave from the afternoon of 23 December until 4 January 2017.

18 August 2016
Online Form users, please be advised we are currently experiencing some difficulties with the phone lines. Please email the Helpdesk on helpdesk@infonetica.net with your technical issues. [RESOLVED - Online form users can now call the Infonetica Helpdesk for technical issue.]

8 July 2016
HDEC Vacancies

A lay and non-lay role are advertised for recruitment. Applications due 20 July 2016.

Please pass the message on to any qualified and interested groups.


22 June 2016

HDEC Chairperson Update

Student Research

The HDEC Chairs would like to advise all applicants who have supervisors that the HDEC strongly recommends supervisors attend and support their students both through the completion of an HDEC application as well as when attending full committee meetings. Student led research is important in terms of new researchers gaining valuable experience however conversely they must be well supported due to their lack of experience.


It is also advisable for student research to have the tertiary institution be noted as a Sponsor of the programme of study. Students are encouraged to approach their Head of Department to discuss this. In the case of funded research it may be appropriate to discuss the matter of sponsorship with the Institutional Research Office.

16 May 2016

Note about upcoming HDEC meeting (7 June)

7 June NTB HDEC - the agenda for this meeting closes on 25th May. This means the agenda is open for 2 weeks. This is because there is no meeting on 31st May.

Therefore, you are more likely to get onto the 7 June agenda if you submit earlier. Feel free to contact the Secretariat for an update on agenda availability.

2 May 2016


There will be a planned outage from Tuesday 3rd May 2016 from 6pm through to Wednesday 4th May 2016 9am NZT.

Kia ora koutou,

There have been some improvements to the Online Forms website.

Post approval forms:

From 4 May 2016 the annual progress report and the protocol deviation and or violation form will have new fields for you to complete. The new fields assist the HDEC in monitoring approved HDEC applications.  Please contact the HDEC Secretariat if you have any questions about how to complete the new fields.

Please remember to submit your progress report each year. You may contact the Secretariat if you want to confirm when you report is due, or if you need help submitting your report.


HDEC consulted with sponsors and localities and as a result have added some new and useful fields to the ‘request for authorisations’ feature of Online Forms. This means that local sites and sponsors can have more detail and information when getting locality authorisations in Online Forms.

These new fields also populate in the authorisations report.

Online Forms:

Modification to the Submission History tab to always display documents.

Modification to the post approval form number. The online forms reference number for post approval items will now update to reflect the HDEC reference number, i.e. 12/CEN/599/AM06

12 April 2016

"Kia ora,

Please see http://ethics.health.govt.nz/ for New HDEC Guidance for Researchers on Expected Standard for Responses to Questions in On-Line Forms: Benefits to Maori of Health and Disability Research"

8 March 2016

Close of Agenda Update's for Upcoming Northern B Meetings are as follows:

Northern B - Tuesday 5th April 2016 the close of agenda is Wednesday 23rd March 2016 at 12noon (due to Good Friday and Easter Monday)

Northern B - Tuesday 3 May 2016 the close of agenda is Wednesday 20 April 2016 at 12noon (due to Anzac Day)

Northern B - Tuesday 07 June 2016 the close of agenda is Wednesday 25 May 2016 at 12 noon (due to Queens Birthday)

14 October 2015

Kia ora,

The HDEC Secretariat would like to advise researchers that full meeting agendas are filling up 5-7 days prior to the agenda close date. If you are submitting on a specific agenda close date it is unlikely you will be assigned to that agenda.

Two additional HDEC meetings have been held to manage the demand.

As of this message (2pm 14 October) the NTB 3 November meeting (agenda close date 22 October) has 6 applications already, with 12 applications being the maximum.

Please submit early if you are seeking a specific agenda close date. Alternatively, contact HDEC to confirm what meeting your application will be heard at.

29 April 2015

Kia ora,

We have implemented speed increases for Online Forms in response to requests from researchers. We hope that this change makes it a little easier for you to submit your applications.

Please note!

The website address for Online Forms will change after this maintenance. If you type in the old web site address it will re-direct you to the new one but please update your bookmarks to ensure you have the updated address.

The new address is:



If you have any questions before then, please do not hesitate to contact us.

28 April 2015

There will be a planned outage from Tuesday 28th April 2015 6pm through to Wednesday 29th April 2015 9am NZT. (ACTIONED)

27 February 2015

Reminder of obligations around coverage of injuries sustained on clinical trials

Dear General Manager/Clinical research organisation/sponsor

The Health and Disability Secretariat would like to pass on the following message from Medicines New Zealand. Please pass this advice around

It has been brought to Medicines New Zealand’s attention that the process for finalising any compensation for injuries sustained by subjects while on clinical trials is variable and sometimes protracted in New Zealand.

We are conscious of the responsibility that companies have to provide cover that is equivalent to that provided by ACC, depending on the injury being related to the trial medicine and would encourage companies to review their processes to ensure a satisfactory resolution of any claim in a reasonable timeframe.

The ability to engage in clinical trials in New Zealand brings with it an obligation to ensure that any risks posed to the subjects are adequately mitigated by good clinical processes, but also by a robust insurance process. Ethics committees carry the responsibility of ensuring that investigators and sponsors have ensured that ACC-equivalent compensation arrangements will be in place for participants. By way of example, ACC coverage can include a range of entitlements such as compensation for lost earnings, lump sum compensation and independence allowance, home-based care and rehabilitation.

We refer you to the Medicines New Zealand Guidelines on clinical trials compensation for injury resulting from participation in an industry sponsored clinical trial http://www.medicinesnz.co.nz/clinical-trials/




3 February 2015
Progress reports/notifications of conclusion of study/final reports
Please make sure that you are submitting progress reports annually.  If your study has finished, please complete first a notification of conclusion of study, followed by a final report within one year.

3 February 2015
Unclear about whether your study is an observational study needing review or exempt from review?
We have developed a short form that you can email to us to determine whether your observational study needs review.  This means that you won't have to complete the full form unless you absolutely need to.  The form can be found on http://ethics.health.govt.nz/.

17 November 2014

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Change of address from Monday 8 December 2014.


New physical address is:


Ministry of Health

Ethics Department

Level 13

Freyburg Building

20 Aitken Street


5 November 2014
IMPORTANT TO NOTE! An issue has been identified whereby Post Approval Applications are not being submitted to the reviewing committee. The NZ Forms system allows the user to submit however the status continues to display IN PROGRESS. Please refrain from submitting any Post Approvals while we are working to resolved this issue.  Thank you for your patience. (Resolved 5 November 2014 - PAFs that had a submission code but were marked as IN PROGRESS have been submitted successfully)

10 October 2014

There will be a planned outage on the 13 October and 28 October. The outage will be for 3-5 minutes between 12-6pm NZDST. You should experience little or no effect and can carry on using the system. At the time of the outage you may experience a longer page load or a timeout for a few seconds.

29 August 2014

IMPORTANT TO NOTE! An issue has been identified whereby electronic signatures are invalidating HDEC/SCOTT applications (generated before 28 August), that are opened to the authorisations tab. PLEASE DO NOT OPEN THE AUTHORISATION TAB until this issue has been resolved as this will invalidate the electronic signatures. Thank you for your patience. (Resolved 3 September 2014)

28 August 2014

New functionality
The multi document upload allows you to upload more than one supporting document on the application's Documents tab. This is compatible with Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer 10 and above. You can select multiple documents in the one folder and enter the version, document date and description for the selected documents and upload the files at the one time. For more guidance click on the (i) information icon on the documents upload tab.
For browsers Internet Explorer 9 or below, you will need to upload documents one at a time.

31 July 2014

Customising Online Forms categories
After approval it can be useful to organise your approved studies by their HDEC Reference number. We have prepared some instructions on how to customise your online forms categories, and how to group similar studies, eg by Co-ordinating Investigator, study type, or sponsor. You can also use this function to easily find the HDEC reference on the ‘My Projects’ without having to enter into a study. Please check out the instructions and screenshots on our HDEC website at http://ethics.health.govt.nz/home and view the Latest News and Updates section for the instructions.

30 July 2014

Proposal to drop valid letters

At the moment the HDEC team sends you a letter confirming that your application has been processed and assigned to a meeting.   These letters do not constitute review and replicate information that is available on online forms.  

We plan to stop sending these “valid letters” from 1 September 2014.  This will give us more time to spend on processing incoming applications and actioning items that have been approved, ie activities that contribute to faster approval times.

What if my application is out of scope or going to a full meeting?

We would still send confirmation letters for applications that will be heard in a full meeting, and applications/PAFs that are deemed not to require HDEC review

How can I check that my application has been received?

You can view when your application or post approval form has been validated and assigned for review by logging into your online forms account, clicking my project and choosing the study you want to check, then go to the e-submissions tab and click the + sign on submission history.  This will tell you whether it has been validated and that it has been assigned to a meeting. The same process works for post approval forms, but you must make sure you have selected the relevant post approval form on the left hand side of the screen.

You will see that items reviewed via expedited review (expedited applications, amendments, progress reports etc) have been assigned to an online meeting.  DON’T PANIC! Your items will be reviewed within the time periods set out in the SOPs.

How do I find out about my review?

You will receive a letter via email as well as being uploaded to your online forms account, this letter will detail the decision the committee made and if there are any requests for further information it will state what these are and how to submit them.

If you have any questions please give us a call on 0800 4 ETHICS.


We often get asked whether a study has a sponsor or not.  A sponsor is different from a funder and different from the locality.  This is how we differentiate:

·          A funder is a person or organisation that provides funding for the study (eg HRC, Marsden Fund)

·         A sponsor is a person (or entity) who controls the design, running, and funding of a study (eg an industry-funded clinical drug trial).

·         The locality authorisation ensures that the host organisation is aware of the proposed research and has assessed whether (in light of staff, resources and other governance matters) it is safe and appropriate for the study to be conducted.

Please don’t declare your funder or locality as a sponsor unless they are in fact designing, controlling or directing the conduct of your research.  If your research is researcher-initiated, don’t tick sponsor, but do ensure that locality issues are covered off. 

13 June 2014
UPDATE:  Changes to Online Forms 

We have made some changes to Online Forms from 13 June 2014.  The user manuals have been updated to explain how to use these features.  Please consult the revised user manuals for more detailed information about the changes.  Key changes include:

Provisional Approvals - You will be able to submit responses to provisional approvals via Online Forms.  

Navigating Forms – We have modified the project filter tab to make it clearer where within the project tree you are working.

Transferring Forms – We have improved the transfer forms functionality to more clearly differentiate between transferring a form temporarily and transferring project ownership.

Authorisations – The authorisations report tab will include details of cancelled authorisations.

04 July 2013

For users using IE 10: When using the Print Draft or Generate PDF feature from Online Forms, the webpage is currently experiencing an issue whereby the page will refresh but the PDF will not be generated. Those users experiencing this issue are advised to use an alternate Internet browser (e.g. Google Chrome) or switch Internet Explorer 10 into compatibility mode (instructions on how to do this are available here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-AU/internet-explorer/use-compatibility-view#ie=ie-10). This workaround will allow the user to print from Online Forms whilst this issue is being resolved. (Resolved 6 July 2013)

26 April 2013

The Online Forms website has been updated. This includes the following changes:

  • The status field in the Project Information Bar now shows if the application is either submitted or not submitted.
  • Once submitted an application and its supporting documents becomes read-only.
  • The document description field is now viewable in the Documents - List tab.
  • Some information text changes have been made to the forms (questions have not been changed).
  • Word limits have been replaced with character limits.

01 November 2012

A new Online Forms User Manual has been released. Please go to the Help tab to download the Online Forms User Manual in PDF format. 

01 November 2012

SCOTT now available on Online Forms

The SCOTT form is now available in Online Forms electronic application system.

For step-by-step guidance on creating and submitting these forms, please click here. Don't hesitate to contact us if you need a hand.

04 October 2012

"The SCOTT form will now be available in Online Forms from 1 November 2012. We apologise for this delay, and thank you for your patience as we finalise this form."

26 September 2012

The SCOTT form will now be available in Online Forms from 8 October 2012. We apologise for this delay, and thank you for your patience as we finalise this form.

03 September 2012

MDF and PAF now available on Online Forms

Two new forms are now available in Online Forms electronic application system.  The Minimal Dataset Form (MDF) allows you to log applications submitted in hard-copy before 30 June 2012 into Online Forms.  The Post Approval Form (PAF) allows you to submit amendments, annual progress reports, and other items once a study is approved.

For step-by-step guidance on creating and submitting these forms, please click here. Don't hesitate to contact us if you need a hand.

20 August 2012

Revised release date for Minimal Dataset and Post Approval Forms.

Online Forms users will be able to log existing studies into Online Forms, and to submit post-approval items (including progress reports and substantial amendments), from Monday 3 September 2012.

We appreciate that you may need to submit a post-approval item for HDEC review before this date. If so, please contact us for advice on doing so.

We apologise again for this delay, and thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we continue to roll out Online Forms. 

16 August 2012

Unfortunately the release of the Minimal Dataset Form and Post Approval Form, due for today, has been furthered delayed.  A revised release date will be posted on this site by the end of the day.

The Ministry of Health apologises on behalf of its supplier, Infonetica, for the inconvenience this delay will cause. 

If you have inquiries about this update please contact:

Rohan Murphy
Manager, Ethics Committees
Ministry of Health
(04) 816 2053

31 July 2012
Delays in introduction of new form types in Online Forms

Unfortunately the introduction of new form types in Online Forms will be slightly delayed. We now expect that you will be able to:
  • Log applications submitted prior to 1 July 2012 using the Minimal Dataset Form (MDF) from Friday 17 August 2012 
  • Submit amendments, progress reports, and other post-approval items using the Post-Approval Form (PAF) from Friday 17 August 2012 
  • Use Online Forms to submit new applications to SCOTT from Friday 31 August 2012. 
We apologise for the inconvenience these delays will cause, and thank you again for your patience as we roll out the new application system. 

Contact us

24 May 2012
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