Objective: To assess the current working practices of local research ethics committees (LRECs) in their review of a multicentre study approved by the new multicentre research ethics committee in Scotland.
Design: Observational data collected from correspondence with LRECs.
Subjects: All LRECs within the geographical area of the study in Scotland.
Outcome measures: Delay from application to calling an LREC meeting, to an initial LREC decision, to final LREC approval, and the number of A4 pages required.
Results: The median delay to review of an application at an LREC meeting was 28 days (range 14-97), the median delay from application to the time of LREC final approval was 39 days (range 21-109) and a total of 5,789 A4 pages (26.9 kg) were required to complete the application process.
Conclusions: Despite recent standardisation of ethical review of multicentre research, elimination of unnecessary delay, cost and variation in LREC operating procedures is still necessary.