SA Department for Health and Ageing Human Research Ethics Committee

The SA Department for Health and Ageing Human Research Ethics Committee (DHA HREC) receives and examines research and evaluation proposals initiated or conducted by SA Health staff and/or external researchers seeking access to SA Health data and/or clients. Proposals are assessed in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) ‘National Statement’, Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and SA Health's Code of Fair Information Practice.

Submitting an application to the DHA HREC

The DHA HREC reviews social health, public/population health, epidemiology, data linkage and qualitative research applications.

All applications must be submitted on the Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) form through the Online Forms portal.

The application must be on the Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) Form through the Online Forms website, and include a covering letter (DOC 42KB), a separate study protocol (DOCX 261KB) and all other attachments as outlined in the Submission Checklist (PDF 583KB).

Low or Negligible Risk Applications

Applications that meet the criteria as low or negligible risk (as defined by the National Statement, Chapter 2.1) may be reviewed via an expedited process.

The HREC Chairperson will decide whether to send the application to the full committee, or through to a subcommittee for LNR review.

When seeking a LNR review, applicants must also submit LNR Assessment Form.


Amendments to approved research proposals must be submitted to the DHA HREC with a cover letter outlining the request and updated application form clearly showing any modifications – either using tracked changes or highlighted.

The Chairperson will determine whether the amendment can be reviewed out-of-session or at the next full meeting of the HREC.

Fees for Ethical Review

A fee structure applies within the SA public health system for the review of research ethics submissions (new applications and amendments). Not all submissions are invoiced, and applicants should review the SA Health Research Ethics and Research Governance Fees Schedule (PDF 185KB) (effective 11 December 2017).

If you are required to pay a fee for ethical review, please submit the DHA Fee for Ethical Review Form (DOC 60KB) with your submission. Please note: submissions will not be processed until the necessary fee paperwork has been received.

Peer review

It is a requirement of the SA Health HREC that each ethics application undergoes a peer review process by a person independent of the project team, in accordance with the expectations outlined in the Australian Code for Responsible Research Conduct. Details of this review should be outlined in the ethics application form and a copy of the peer review report provided as an attachment to the application.

Waiver of consent

According to Chapter 2.3 of the National Statement, HRECs may sometimes waive the requirement for consent. Before deciding to waive the requirement of consent, HREC must be satisfied that:

  • involvement in the research carries no more than low risk to participants
  • the benefits from the research justify any risks of harm associated with not seeking consent
  • it is impracticable to obtain consent
  • there is no known or likely reason for thinking that participants would not have consented if they had been asked
  • there is sufficient protection of their privacy
  • there is an adequate plan to protect the confidentiality of data
  • in case the results have significance for the participants’ welfare there is, where practicable, a plan for making information arising from the research available to them
  • the possibility of commercial exploitation of derivatives of the data or tissue will not deprive the participants of any financial benefits to which they would be entitled
  • the waiver is not prohibited by State, federal, or international law.

Applicants seeking a waiver of consent must adequately address the above requirements in their application form.

Data Linkage applications

Applicants who are seeking to access SA Health data held by SA NT DataLink must submit to the SA Department for Health and Ageing HREC. The HREA application must be accompanied by the SA NT DataLink Statistical Application Form.

All applicants must ensure they address the conditions for a Waiver of Consent listed above. Where applicable, applicants must also address the matters listed for consideration in paragraph D.5 of the Guidelines Approved under Section 95A of the Privacy Act 1988, 2001; or, the matters listed for consideration in paragraph 3.3 of the Guidelines under Section 95 of the Privacy Act 1988, 2000.

DHA HREC membership vacancy – Community Layperson (male representative)

The DHA HREC is currently seeking to appoint a community layperson (male representative).

For more information and to apply, see:


For further information relating to the DHA HREC, please contact:

HREC Executive Officer

Office for Research
SA Health

PO Box 287
Rundle Mall SA 5000

Telephone: (08) 8226 7235

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