Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Terminology - Supervision
The following is derived from RCN guidance on the differences
between the different types of supervision identified in the AIMS
Clinical supervision is a professional
relationship between a staff member and their supervisor. A
clinical supervisor’s key duties are:
- monitoring employees’ work with
- maintaining ethical and professional
standards in clinical practice.
Managerial supervision involves issues relating to
the job description or the workplace. A managerial
supervisor’s key duties are:
- prioritising workloads;
- monitoring work and work
- sharing information relevant to
- clarifying task boundaries;
- identifying training and development
Personal (or Pastoral)
Personal/pastoral supervision relates to
personal issues raised through work. A personal/pastoral
supervisor’s key duties are:
- discussing how outside factors are
- enabling people to deal with
Determining your Self-Review targets: Staff
Once you've completed your registration
with AIMS, and in advance of your self-review period,
we'll send you a 'Starter Form' (formerly a "Contextual Data
Questionnaire'). We ask you to provide a full breakdown
of staff who “have regular input to the ward”. We then
set a target equal to the total number you provide
and encourage you to approach each and every “regular” staff
member – even if they are not directly managed by the ward/Ward
Manager – to complete a Staff Questionnaire. It is in your
interests to do this: more responses means better and more accurate
data, which can only help you in your efforts to achieve (or
It is important to remember that the number we give you is a
target. We know that circumstances change: staff move on,
have annual leave, are taken ill, and so on. If we ask you
for 35 and you are only able to give us 32, we won’t be too
worried! It’s worth remembering that we are always able to
give you updates on how many responses we have received, and can
even give a breakdown by profession/job title (though we are unable
to identify individuals). Also, if it helps, it is worth
remembering that this is a golden opportunity for staff to give
open, honest and – most importantly – completely anonymous feedback
about their ward.
Determining your Self-Review targets: Health Record Audits
We calculate how many Health Records we
want from you on the basis of your "patient turnover" during the
three month self-review period. This is based on the number
of beds you have, your occupancy rates, and the average length of
stay. It's a rough average based on how many patients are
likely to pass through your doors, and we do appreciate that this
might not pan out in reality. We aren't too concerned if you
fall a little short of your target (but not too much) - if you have
any doubts, get in touch.
Completing the Health Record Audit
Health Record Audits are to be
completed using our online data submission tools. When you receive
your Self-Review pack, you'll receive a username and password for
this, as well as sending one paper copy of the Health Record
Audit for your reference. If you wish to photocopy the
reference copy and complete your audits on paper before entering
the data online, you are welcome to.
If we ask for 20 Health Records, you have to repeat the audit
questionnaire 20 times for 20 separate patients'
notes. Collating results onto one questionnaire and
submitting that will result in the submission being deleted, and
you being asked to submit separate audits for separate
Logging in to enter questionnaires
If you are having difficulty logging in to enter questionnaires,
you should first check the following:
- Are you entering the username and/or password in the
Both are case-sensitive.
- Has someone else been entering
questionnaires on your computer?
You may need to click the 'Logout' button on
the right-hand side, and then try to log in yourself.
- Do you have the right logins for the
right data collection tool?
The logins for the Checklist, Environment and
Facilities Audit, Health Record Audit and Ward Manager
Questionnaire will not work for the Staff Questionnaire, and vice
If you are still having difficulties, please
get in touch with us.
Attending a Peer-Review: selection of reviewers
Our process for selecting reviewers to attend review visits is
more complicated than it might appear. Here are some of the
factors that affect our decisions.
- We try to send out requests for reviewers as soon as we have
confirmed dates with wards. Obviously the earlier we can do
this the better, which is why we now ask for wards to set their
dates as soon as we start working with them
- Often we have a lot of different priorities which we have to
balance. We usually start with ‘first come first served’, but
if we get multiple offers, other factors come into play, such as
geography and travel links.
- We are working on a system now to introduce more fairness into
the system. We are going to keep a log of who has offered to
do a review, in the hope that if we have to decline their offer, we
can prioritise them the next time they put themselves
forward. We’ll also try to do this when a review is cancelled
– i.e. offering the re-scheduled date to the same reviewers
- Newly-trained reviewers are usually prioritised, as we like to
get people out on the road as soon as possible, to put their
training into practice! We do have to be careful not to have
too many newly-trained people on one review – we try to strike a
balance between new reviewers and those with experience. This
is often most difficult to do if we’ve just had a training session
– we do greatly appreciate when our newly-trained reviewers put
themselves forward, but often we have a lot of offers to choose
- Occasionally we have to decline offers because of the skill mix
on the review team – we have to have at least one nurse, and we do
try to have at least one other profession represented. We
also need to select people from different Trusts/organisations – we
can’t have a whole team from one Trust/organisation reviewing
It is also worth remembering that we have a lot of very active
service user and carer reviewers, which is great, but does mean
that we often get lots of offers which we have to choose
from! Hopefully some of the new systems we’ve put in place
will enable us to be fairer.
Please be assured that the above reasons are the only criteria by
which we choose reviewer, and no personal preferences affect our
decision. The only slightly personal factor that affects our
choice is in the selecting of Lead Reviewers, simply because you
have to have attended a couple of reviews at least before you can
If you do volunteer to go on a review, please check your emails
over the subsequent days. We try to confirm quickly, so you
should hear from us either way very soon after you’ve been in
touch. If you subsequently find you are unable to attend,
please let us know as soon as you can.
Attending a Peer-Review: what about expenses?
Please send your claims to the AIMS Project
Administrator directly, not to the
Finance Department. Claims sent to the Finance
Department have to be send to the AIMS Project Team to be signed
off, which may delay payment.
We pay a standard fee of £100 per day to Service User and Carer
Representatives who attend our reviews.
Travel, Accommodation and Subsistence
Please refer to the College's guidance for expense
claims before filling out a claim form - this guidance can be found
When completing your claim, please check the following:
- the correct claim form has been
- supporting paperwork (e.g. receipts)
have been included;
- amounts claimed fall within College
- mileage is accurate;
- the claim is signed.
In addition, please note the following:
- A receipt must be included for every
item claimed. Items without receipts will not be
- Where a reviewer has purchased, for
example, a train ticket themselves, which has then been retained by
an automated barrier, we can make an exception to the College
guidance and allow the claim upon production of a receipt, which we
will then check against advertised fares. Please try to
retain your ticket wherever possible – and remember that it is
always preferable that we book your travel for you in
- We will reimburse subsistence only as
self-contained meals – it is not permissible to purchase several
snacks and claim them all as dinner. Snacks and beverages
purchased outside of these meals will not be reimbursed.
- One alcoholic drink is
permissible with a meal – not separate to the meal, and not, for
example, a whole bottle of wine.
- Subsistence receipts must show the
date upon which the meal was purchased, and detail what was
- The 12-hour absence begins when the
journey we book for you starts, and ends when the return journey
does. Snacks and beverages outside this time will not be
reimbursed. We would normally expect reviewers to have eaten
breakfast before leaving home, if they are travelling on the day of
the review. It is also not permissible to arrive at the
departure station early and purchase and claim for a lunch or
dinner before travelling, or purchase a meal after completing the
return journey. If you chose to extend your travel by departing
earlier or returning on a later date when not required by
train schedules (i.e. for personal reasons/holiday), we cannot
reimburse any meals or accommodation outside what would be
required of a standard journey.
- If you are staying in a hotel and the
booking includes breakfast, and/or the ward you are visiting
provides you with lunch, we cannot reimburse additional breakfasts
or lunches, and the relevant amounts will be deducted from the
12-hour absence allowance.
- Mileage is calculated on a
postcode-to-postcode basis using the AA’s ‘Route Planner’ facility
on its website. We are unable to verify any changes to this
because of, for example, detours.
If you are in any doubt about any aspect of
your claim, please get in touch with us before submitting it.
If we have any queries, outside of the points listed above or in
the attached document, we will get in touch before we submit the
claim to our Finance Department.
Please remember when submitting a
claim that the College is a registered charity, and that AIMS has
no other source of income other than subscription fees from member
The Peer-Review Visit: evidence to demonstrate compliance with
One of the biggest difficulties the AIMS
Project Team faces is the amount of documentation we receive from
wards/units, after the Peer-Review Visit has taken place, as
evidence to show compliance with standards. This is
problematic for a number of reasons – not only is it
administratively very time-consuming (we are doing work that should
have been done on the day of the review), it is also beyond the
remit and expertise of most of the Project Team, most of whom are
not clinicians. All the evidence we receive has to be
considered by the project’s clinical advisor, which can be quite a
hefty task at times. Even then, this is a little
unsatisfactory, as the documentation is not being considered by
someone who has been to the ward/unit, which somewhat defeats the
object of conducting a Peer-Review Visit at all.
To alleviate this issue, and the implications
it has for the validity of the accreditation process, we will from
now on be more proscriptive about what we can and cannot do after a
Peer-Review Visit has taken place.
- The Peer-Review Visit is your one and only
opportunity to provide evidence that you are meeting standards,
particularly if your self-review data is indicating that you are
not meeting those standards.
- It is the responsibility of Host Teams
to review their own data in advance of the review visit and produce
the required evidence on the day of the review. We advise
that host teams read their Peer-Review Booklet as soon as it
arrives and start preparing their evidence – they will not have
another opportunity after the Peer-Review Visit to demonstrate
compliance with standards.
- It is the primary responsibility of
the Peer-Review Team to validate the self-review data, and to amend
it where it is inaccurate: as they are there on the ground on the
day of the review, and as they are true peers, they are the people
best placed to do this. The Project Team is not able to do
this in anything like the same way.
The guidance we give to host teams and
peer-reviewers has been combined into one document, entitled
for Peer-Review Visits. This document is
available from the Project Team on request, and is also sent
out with each and every Peer-Review Booklet. It is vital that
both those receiving a review, and those conducting it, read this
document well and check periodically for updates.
No further evidence can be considered by the AIMS Project Team
after the peer-review day – the draft report we send to wards/units
is the report which will be submitted to the AIMS Accreditation
Committee (AC), and is the report upon which the AC will make its
accreditation recommendations. The only amendments we can
make to a report are to correct typographical errors.
There are always exceptional circumstances, and we won’t be
completely inflexible on this, but as a general rule, the above
will apply in every case.
Accreditation Process document (also
available from the Project Team) specifies that accreditation
decisions are based on the circumstances of the ward/unit at
peer-review. The above changes will ensure that we are
accurately following this requirement.
INTERIM REVIEWS/CYCLE 2
Type 1 Standards Not Met
At Cycle 2 or at interim review stage, we
sometimes find that slippage has occurred since initial
accreditation – and the same unmet standards recur often. All
member wards/units might find it useful to look at this list, as it
might help them to know what to keep their eyes on between
- On the day of their admission, or as
soon as they are well enough, the patient is given a “welcome pack”
or introductory booklet.
- The ward provides access to an
independent advocacy service that includes IMCAs.
For both of these standards, wards/units are
not meeting them because of what patients say to us – the
information may be available, but it’s not being communicated
thoroughly and regularly. Wards/units should ensure that
their welcome packs are re-visited after admission (as we are often
told by patients that they were too unwell at the time of admission
to recall if they had seen one), and that information on advocacy
is regularly provided, via a variety of methods.
- Inpatients have access to specialist
practitioners of psychological interventions for one half-day (four
hours) per week per ward.
This was not a Type 1 Standard when a lot of
wards/units conducted their original reviews, but it is now!
It is important that wards/units keep tabs on changes to the
standards as they occur, particularly when there are new Type
1s. ‘Specialist practitioners’ does not necessarily have to
be an actual clinical psychologist (though obviously we welcome
that) – we’re more concerned with seeing that the interventions are
- All qualified nurses have been
assessed as competent in the administration of medications on a
yearly basis using a competency tool, and a record is kept of
We are not sure why so many wards/units are
not meeting this standard – it has been a Type 1 from the
beginning! I have been reliably informed that here are lots
of suitable tools available on the internet to download.
- Records contain information as to the
security of the patient's home, whereabouts of children/animals
There appears to be slippage in this area –
most wards/units have now added an item to their ‘admission
checklist’ to reflect this standard, but it may need reiterating to
staff that it is important for this item to be completed.
Patients often tell us that their concerns in these areas are a
source of distress.
- Access to training is facilitated, and
there are arrangements for staff cover to allow staff to attend
Many wards/units do not meet this standard
because staff have had training cancelled due to lack of staff
- On the day of their admission or as
soon as they are well enough, informal patients are given written
information on their legal status and rights.
This again was not a Type 1 Standard when many
wards/units undertook their first review, but it has been for a
couple of years now. It may be that the information given to
patients is not presented as being ‘information on rights’, but we
often have to ask wards/units to address this. Wards/units
that have added this as another item on their ‘admission checklist’
usually meet this standard.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but these are the most
commonly unmet standards, at least on working-age wards.
Please get in touch with the AIMS Project Team if you feel we can
assist you in ensuring you meet – and continue to meet – these
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