Ethical review process system for NHS
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Ethical review process system for NHS

HARP is a complex web management application solution developed for the needs of Health and Social Care Research in the UK.

About the solution

The Health Research Authority in the UK needed to simplify and digitalize its system of assessing and monitoring on the R&D studies in the Healthcare industry of the country.

For that reason, the Health system representatives reached out to Custom Software Development companies, to find a way to meet the new standards of all study types submission,  management, and approval. BGO Software was able to meet the requirements and developed HARP – approved database that records and tracks the progress of research applications submitted to the HRA for approval.

The HRA Assessment Review Portal, being a web-based management information system, manages all research ethics applications that require NHS  Research Ethics Service review. It also ensures compliance with the requirements of the  Research Ethics review, keeps records and measures the time taken to award decisions, produces correspondence, manages meetings and contacts, and produces research summaries. Using HARP, sites can manage HRA Approval processes as well.


NHS UK - Health Research Authority



Project Timeline

July 2013 - April 2014

Business Model

Dedicated team


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I wanted to thank you from all of us at HRA for what has been a truly ‘Herculean’ effort to launch the HARP successfully.

When we embarked on the project, we were aware that it was going to be challenging. I have to say that I never thought there would be so few issues on such a complex project! You should be very proud of your efforts, as we are and realize that there are not many (if any) groups of people who could have achieved what you did. Furthermore, I think it is important that the team relates the achievement to real-world impact.

HARP and e-submission pave the way for a much more streamlined and effective service for researchers. Those changes will lead directly to improvements in healthcare and quality of life for many individuals around the world."

Jonathan Bell

Architecture and system manager, Health research authority


Project Management Methodology

Agile, SCRUM

Scrum is one of the most popular Agile methodologies. It is an adaptive, iterative, fast, flexible, and effective methodology designed to deliver significant value quickly and throughout a project. Scrum ensures transparency in communication and creates an environment of collective accountability and continuous progress. The Scrum framework is structured in such a way that it supports product and service development in all types of industries and in any type of project, irrespective of its complexity.


BGO Software had nine months to build from scratch and completely replace the existing ten-years-in-development government solution. This required the transformation and migration of very large volumes of data into a completely new format, and last but not least the development of additional e-submission functionality.

One of the main challenges, our team had to overcome is the type of data HARP contains and manages. The information held in HARP is strictly confidential and therefore, the access must be restricted to authorized users only. Many additional integrations were made to ensure the confidentiality of all participants in the assessments: 

  • CAG (Assessment Review Portal)

The system is used by the HRA for all Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG) applications. CAG portal stores all application documents; records the committee recommendation outcomes and is fully cross-functioning with HARP management system.


The highly efficient two-way communication and data exchange methodology adopted by the customer and BGO Software teams ensured successful project completion within strict deadlines. To manage the complex data analysis and migration, the team developed a new data format and sophisticated tools, capable of transforming and migrating large data volumes from the old software to HARP. 

BGO Software successfully deployed new functionalities that contribute to the system’s efficiency and capabilities for

  • simple log in and registration for R&Ds for booking applications onto Research Ethics Service
  • REC members access to a personal portal, which enables them to view full, proportionate and or substantial amendment applications electronically
  • HRA to be more efficient and environmentally-sustainable as an organization
  • a sophisticated new approach to a regulatory system for research assessments in the UK.


HARP proved able to migrate large amounts of data in order to allow flexible workflow management and of course making all integrations, migrations and additional functionalities in the web-application as secure as possible. 

The functionalities of HARP allow administrators to track the whole clinical research trial application review process, as well as post-approval monitoring and reporting.