The article reviews ethical consideration in social research and identifies current approaches to safeguarding ethical standards. One of these is the requirement to obtain approval from research ethics committees (RECs). Based on the results of a survey of UK social science academics about the process of applying to National Health Service RECs, we conclude that lessons can be learned for Sociology from the experiences of social researchers in Health. Overly rigid ethics committees could be counter-productive; we may need to reassess the functions of RECs and to strengthen other procedures to ensure the highest ethical standards for Sociology. Some suggestions for how this might be done are taken from the literature in the hope that they will stimulate debate.