ASSAf and NHREC POPIA Stakeholder Engagement with the RECs, 18 May 2021
ASSAf is facilitating the process to develop a Code of Conduct for Research under the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), having hosted three stakeholder events that were attended by scientists and researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. ASSAf has set up a Steering Committee to oversee the process of developing a Code of Conduct for Research, as well as a Drafting Committee who are drafting the document. At the last virtual consultation forum hosted on 3 May 2021, presentations were offered on the process of developing a Code of Conduct, as well as on thematic areas of interest, including consent, genomics research, information matching programmes and the use of social media data in research. Stakeholders were given an opportunity to share insights and provide comment on the development of the Code of Conduct. The stakeholder engagement with members of the RECs aims to take a deeper dive into considerations of the POPIA Code of Conduct for Research in the Ethics Review. The intention is to better understand the concerns of REC members and what would be most useful to their work in understanding the risks related to personal information of research participants. The Discussion Document published on 3 May in the South African Journal of Science provides background on the deliberations of the Committees and can be consulted for further information. The Code of Conduct remains under further discussion as the broader community provides their inputs. There will be several addendums to the Code of Conduct, and we will specifically ask for inputs that would strengthen these documents and make them more practically useful to the research community.