Science review of the Home Office and the - Annex 9 - The Project

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Science review of the Home Office and the - Annex 9 - The Project

    . . . . . .. . . .

     Annex 9 - The Project Quality


    nApproval Board (PQAB) and Research d


    pQuality Assurance (RQA) processes

    e n d

    Introduction e

    n1. This Annex reproduces information regarding the Home Office (HO)‟s Project Quality t Approval Board (PQAB) process for the appraisal of social science projects, i.e. prior to their being (started; and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)‟s equivalent Research Quality Assurance (RQA) process, ewhich differs significantly, in that it covers the lifetime of a project, from planning to completion. x te2. For HO‟s PQAB process, this Annex reproduces the: r

    ; submission template; and n

    ; Project Approval Record (signed off by various senior officials). al

    tWe have also been provided with standard material covering:

    o ; guidance for completing the forms; and d; scope of PQAB ebut this material is not reproduced here. p a3. As indicated in the main report, the PQAB process is applied for most HO social science rtprojects. The exceptions are: m

     a) Projects that are to be conducted in-house and will require no more than 20 days of staff e

    time to complete can be signed off by the RDS Director or an RDS Assistant Director without n

    t) PQAB approval. “Any such exemption is not automatic and must be allowed only after considering

    pthe project risks: a small project can entail large risks, e.g. it might produce results that are

    ecounterintuitive, contentious or have major operational resource implications but might nevertheless ebe liable to public disclosure.” r b) Policy staff will still sometimes commission „quick and dirty‟ studies without recourse to rRDS or the PQAB process: the review expresses strong concerns about the consequences of this. e v4. In MoJ, PQAB has recently been modified to a Research Quality Assurance (RQA) process, Iwhereby one of three categories of RQA (: light, standard or continuing) is used to oversee the work, n

    based on factors such as the risk of the project, its impact on policy, the complexity of the d

    methodology and its scale and scope. Projects conducted under the „light‟ approach are still e

    prequired to have the specification peer reviewed and the report is subject to independent peer review.

    eAt the time of writing, no MoJ projects will yet have been through the whole RQA process.


    d e

    nContents t 1 Introduction (

     2-8 HO PQAB process forms e

     9-13 MoJ RQA process guidance note x

    te 14-15 MoJ RQA process flowchart



    al 1 t




    PQAB Submission Template Issue date: 16 MAR 2006 Please read the guidance notes before completing the form. Make sure you are using the current versions of the form and guidance. If in doubt, check the PQAB documents on the RDS shared drive or the RDS pages on Horizon, or call the PQAB secretariat on 020 7035


1. Project Approval Record (PAR)

    The PAR must accompany this submission. 2. Project description

    PQAB reference: Note 1

     Project title (from


    Approval by RDS Signature Name Date Programme Director

     Will the research be External only If all or part of the work is to conducted by Home Internal and be external, put a cross here if Office staff or external the ITT is included with this externally? submission Internal only ITT



Notes 2-6


Design type

    Literature review


    Other quantitative research

    Qualitative research

    Other (state below)

Notes 7-15

    Burden on data providers put a cross in one box

    No significant burden

    Burden identified (as noted in box above) and accepted by provider

    Burden identified (as noted in box above) and yet to be negotiated

Dissemination and impact

Notes 16-19


Ethical considerations

    Will an ethics committee will be involved in approving the work (e.g. a contractor‟s ethics committee)?

    Yes No Don‟t know yet

    If yes, if so, who will be responsible for applications to it?

    Put one X on each row of the following table to indicate whether each of the potential ethical issues is (a) not an issue for this project, (b) an issue that has been considered and dealt with or (c) not dealt with. If there are additional ethical issues for this project, please add rows to the table to cover them

     Not an Issue Issue not

    issue dealt with dealt with

    Assignment of potentially beneficial treatments is influenced by the


    Medical interventions

    Honesty to researchers and subjects about the purpose, methods and

    uses of the research

    Informed consent

    Participant confidentiality and anonymity

    Data protection

    The independence and impartiality of researchers in relation to the

    subject of research

    Risks to researchers and subjects (e.g. health and safety)

    Working with vulnerable groups

    If the responses on the checklist indicate that any ethical issues are not adequately covered in the proposal, state how this will be resolved.

    Note 20

    Specify which professional code(s) of conduct (e.g. GSR, SRA, BPS) has been or will be referred to in addressing ethical questions during the course of the research.

Diversity issues

    Will the research address any of the following diversity issues in the sampling, data collection or analysis?

     Yes No Yes No Yes No

    Gender Religion Other (stated below)

    Ethnicity Sexuality

    Disability Specific age groups

    If the answer is yes to any of these, answer the three following questions.

    What procedures are in place to ensure that the research is undertaken in a way that is sensitive to the needs of participants from different backgrounds/cultures?

    Notes 21-23

    To what extent is the research aiming to use a sampling procedure that would be expected to produce a sample that is representative in terms of sex, age, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation?


    If not fully representative, why is this? Note 24

Project risks

    Main risks

    ; Notes 25-26

    Risk assessment/management

    Hazard P I Mitigation Monitoring Contingency Note 27 Note Note Note 30 Note 31 Note 32 28 29

Project plan

Date Target


     Project start

     PQAB submission

     Contract start (delete row if no contract)

     Draft final report from contractor (delete row if no contract)

     Note 33

     Contract completion (delete row if no contract)

     Publication draft to SRGS-CDS or other publisher (delete row if no publication)

     Project completion

    Notes 34-36

Resource plan

     2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 Other Total


    0 Home Staff days 0 0 0 0

    1Office 0 Cost inc. overheads (?) 0 0 0 0 project


    0 OGD staff Staff days 0 0 0 0

    0 Cost inc. overheads (?) 0 0 0 0

    0 ContractorCost (?) 0 0 0 0 s

    0 Others Cost (?) 0 0 0 0

    20 0 0 0 0 Total Days

    0 0 0 0 0 Cost (?)

    Other information

    Notes 37-41

1 Including overheads and all non-contract costs. 2 Right click on total and update field.


Project Skills

    Note 42

    After completion up to this point, the RDS Programme Director should email this form to Mike Taylor, Mark Greenhorn and Cheryl Drew in SRGS, RDS.

    If urgent response is needed, explain and give deadline.


3. Feedback record

    Section 1: First decision PQAB decision (cross as appropriate)

    1a Approved without modification 1b Approved subject to minor changes 2 Modify and submit to board 3a Provisional acceptance, pending sight of ITT 3b Provisional acceptance, pending sight of preferred tender 4 Rejected

     5 Decision taken after discussion with third party

Design rating (1-5)

    PQAB PD (responsible for feedback)


Principal areas of weakness / lack of detail

    Aim definition

    Account of background / related work




    Power calculation


    Availability of data

    Consultation within RDS

    Issues with third parties (e.g. courts, IS, police)


    Dissemination & impact

    Project plan


    Risk assessment


Section 2: Feedback and response

    3PQAB comments/feedback

    Compulsory: numbered points that must be addressed in the proposal 1.

Further actions needed by the Project Leader: numbered actions (e.g. to discuss with a third party, provide

    further documentation or further information about particular aspects of the project)


     4Other points, e.g. stylistic, English, points to take into account as the project progresses


    5Response from Project Leader

    Compulsory points


Further actions


    Other points (response not compulsory unless specifically requested by PQAB) 1.

If there is more than one round of comments and response, duplicate Section 2 as necessary.

Section 3. Final decision

    Final PQAB decision (tick as appropriate)

    1a Approved without modification

    1b Approved subject to minor changes

    3a Provisional acceptance, pending sight of ITT

    3b Provisional acceptance, pending sight of preferred tender

    4 Rejected

     5 Decision taken after discussion with third party

Design rating (1-5)

    Copies of the feedback record should be circulated at every stage to: ; The PQAB secretariat

    ; the relevant Project Leader

    ; the relevant Programme Director.

     3 The PD and Project Leader do not have to accept PQAB comments without question but would need to argue the case for not taking on board all the comments. 4 If appropriate, comments in this category may be provided as comments/tracked changes added electronically to the proposal document. 5 Also list any additional information or provide this in annexes.


    6Project Approval Record for Home Office Research Issue date: 20 July 2005

    File reference Note 1

    Note 2 Project title

    Project leader Note 3 Section Note 4 RDS Section Head Note 5 Section lead Programme ProgrammNote 6

    Director e

    Assistant Director Note 6 Group ERA or RDS-xxx Note 7 GrouMain contact Note 8 Job title Note 8 p lead Head of Unit Note 9 Unit Note 9

    DirectoratDirector Note 10


    Aim of project

    Notes 11-15

    Expected output

    Notes 16-21

    What will be done with the output?

    Note 22

    By whom? Say who will take the action referred to in above.

    Job Name Note 23-24 Note 25


    When is the output required

    Notes 26-27

    Other key information

    Note 28

    Agreement Signature (in the order shown) Name Date GrouGEB-designated p signatory

    RDS Assistant PQAB



    Director of RDS



    RDS Assistant Director (see Introductory Notes)

     Use no more than two sides. Print double-sided.

6 Please read the guidance notes before completing the form. Make sure you are using the current versions of the form and guidance. If in doubt, check the RDS pages on Horizon or call the PQAB secretariat on 020 7035 3285.


Ministry of Justice - RQA Process



    This note provides guidance on the key points of MOJ Research Quality Assurance process and the role of contract mangers (both researchers and non-researchers). It should be read in conjunction with the RQA flow chart.


     thThe MOJ Strategy and Planning Steering Group on 11 September 2007 agreed that all research

    commissioned in MOJ would go through a research quality assurance (RQA) process. The aim being to ensure that all research projects received appropriate support and advice from suitably qualified researchers and to ensure that findings and outputs meet a minimum acceptable quality standard.

    The RQA allows MOJ researchers to more effectively provide expert support for those commissioning research projects and ensure there is no duplication of work. It also helps guarantee the quality and value of research commissioned by the Department. Experience in other departments has demonstrated that poor quality research can impact negatively on the reputation of the Department.


The RQA process has the following coverage:

    ; All external research undertaken by the department irrespective of whether researchers or non-

    researchers commission it and whether it is done nationally or locally (for example, by the

    tribunals service, prisons or probation service).

    ; Research carried out in-house but likely to be published by MOJ.

    ; Research is defined as all social research projects, policy evaluation, outcome studies,

    economic research, market research and opinion polling.

    If you are not sure whether your project is covered, please speak to one of the following Research Programme Directors in MOJ:

    Tina Golton (Research Unit former DCA research) Tel: 020 7210 1465

    Lawrence Singer (OCJR research) Tel: 020 7035 8567

    Gemma Harper (NOMS research) Tel: 020 7035 3414

This RQA process excludes:

    ; Research commissioned by Legal Services Commission (LSC) which is covered LSRC


    ; Research carried out completely in-house and not expected to be published at any stage ; Statistical collections and analysis covered by National Statistics Protocols


The role of a contract manager of research is to two-fold:

    ; To inform relevant Research Programme Director of your research project (as soon as possible) ; Ensure that project timetables have allowed additional 3 weeks for RQA process ; Ensure that you comply with the RQA process throughout your project

The role of a researcher/analyst in MOJ is to:


    ; To highlight to all policy and delivery colleagues considering any research that they need to go

    through the RQA process prior to commissioning.

    ; To provide advice and support for policy and delivery colleagues going through this process

    (e.g. assisting in the completion of the required forms, providing advice on research

    specification, etc)

The role of Principal Researcher (G7 level) and above is also to:

    ; Be part of RQA Panels that make the decisions on research proposals.


    Advice is available from G6 researchers/Research Programme Directors, specifically: Tina Golton (Research Unit former DCA research) Tel: 020 7210 1465

    Lawrence Singer (OCJR research) Tel: 020 7035 8567

    Gemma Harper (NOMS research) Tel: 020 7035 3414

MOJ Researchers may be able to help you to deliver your research project.

    a) Scoping research: We can assist you in identifying whether relevant research already exists to

    help you deliver your policies. We can work with you to complete the „Research Requirement

    Form‟ (Form 1) setting out your research needs, identifying possible resources to support the

    research and prioritising the work within your existing requirements.

    b) Designing the research: we can advise on the most appropriate and cost-effective methods to

    answer your research questions reviewing the resources and data that you have available

    and assist you in completing the RQA form 2.

    c) Submitting the RQA: with our experience of quality assurance processes, we can support you

    through the RQA process.

    d) Peer review: where reports will be published, it is important to commission external peer

    reviews of reports. This ensures MoJ can be confident in the quality of the work that has been

    done and the robustness of the recommendations that have been made for taking policy

    forward. We can recommend suitable peer reviewers and advise on their feedback. e) Project review: we can advise you in reviewing a project once it has been completed - to

    consider whether it has been useful in taking policies forward and whether there are any

    lessons to improve future projects.


Details of the process and supporting material is on the MOJ Intranet at <intranet hyper-link to be


    The process is designed to be as light touch as possible, and flexible and proportionate to the different types of research that the department undertakes. Thus, each research project would go through one of the following:

    ; RQA Light;

    ; Standard RQA; or

    ; Continuing RQA.


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