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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Quality Network for Forensic Mental Health Services

The Evaluated Low Secure Quality Network



Here you can find out more about the Low Secure Quality Network, including a break-down of the review process and you can view the full set of Low Secure Standards used to measure the quality of services.





The Cyclical Review Process

The work of the Quality Network is based around a cyclical review model.

By clicking on the links below you can explore each stage of the review process, from agreeing the standards to producing the Annual Report.


Stage 1: Agree Standards

Stage 2: Self Review

Stage 3: Peer Review

Stage 4: Local Reports Compiled

Stage 5: Action Planning

Stage 6: Annual Forum and Report

Stage 1: Agree Standards

The Network uses an iterative cycle of self and peer-reviews using a set of standards developed from Department of Health draft commissioning guidance (2012).

The following outline the areas each of the services are measured against during the self and peer-review process:

A: Model of Care

1: Admission
2: Recovery
3: Physical Health Care
4: Discharge

B: A Safe Therapeutic Environment

1: Physical Security
2: Relational Security
3: Procedural Security

C: Service Environment

1: Environmental Design
2: Risk assessment and management
3: De-escalation and seclusion
4: Access to external spaces
5: Facilities for Visitors

D: Workforce

E: Governance

1: Reporting and management of
adverse incidents
2: Business Continuity

Stage 2: Self Review
September - march

The self-review process commences and services are expected to provide commentary and score themselves as to whether they have met, partially met or unmet each of the Low Secure Standards. We request that the service consults a range of people to ensure the information provided is representative. This should include:

  • Senior Managers
  • Members of the multi-disciplinary team
  • A range of ward based staff
  • Patients

Forensic Staff, Patients and Family and Friend Questionnaires

Each service must disseminate a questionnaire to all staff, patients and family and friends of patients at their service, asking them to provide feedback about their views and experiences of the service. All staff questionnaires must be completed through the online link. Where possible, questionnaires for patients and family and friends should be completed online. Where this is not possible, you will need to contact the Project team who will provide you with paper copies of the questionnaire and pre-paid addressed envelopes to return the questionnaire to the team.

We will only ask questions about the service. We will not ask for any personal information and all answer to questions will remain anonymous. All comments will be treated confidentially.


Stage 3: Peer Review
November- may

The peer-review is a supportive process, encouraging services to identify areas of both achievement and challenge, whilst also considering improvements for the future.

Peer-review Team

The peer-review team is usually made up of four staff members from two different services, a Patient Reviewer and a Project Worker from the Quality Network. Two of the staff members assume the roles of Lead Reviewer and Deputy Lead Reviewer. Lead Reviewers have training to support them in this role.


The visit is broken up into various meetings and can last between one and two days, depending on the size of the service. The day is broken down into the following areas:

  • Tour of the Unit
  • Perimeter Check
  • Meeting with Senior Managers
  • Meeting with Frontline Staff
  • Meeting with Patients
  • Meeting with Senior Clinicians

Stage 4: Local Reports Compiled
November - June

Draft Report- Sent to the host service and peer-review team within four weeks of the peer-review date for their comments.

Final Report - Issued to the host service only within eight weeks of the peer-review date.


Stage 5: Action Planning
January - september

The report will outline the key areas of achievement and challenge and suggest a number of action points for improvement for the following Cycle.

Two months after receiving the final report we will expect to receive a copy of the action plan from the service and this will be used in the following Cycle to identify any areas of change or improvement.

Stage 6: Annual report & Forum
25 June 2015

 At the end of each Cycle an Annual Forum is held for forensic mental health staff, commissioners, patients, family and friends and all interested in the Quality Network. It outlines the key trends from the past Cycle and focusses on particular areas for further exploration.

The Annual Report explores each of the six sections of the Standards for Low Secure Services, drawing on the achievements, areas for improvement and solutions to common problems. Members can use the report to benchmark themselves against other services, identify key areas of variance within the Quality Network and gain ideas for service development from the good practice section.

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The CCQI are currently evaluating the Low Secure Network. Read more about the work they are doing.

Joining the network

Find out about the benefits of becoming a member.

Register for Cycle 4 please log in to CARS

member units

See who has already joined the Low Secure Quality Network.

news & email discussion group

annual reports



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