About the ACOMHS network

The accreditation programme works with staff to assure and improve the quality of community mental health services for people with mental health problems, and their carers.

It engages staff in a comprehensive process of review, through which good practice and high quality care are recognised, and teams receive support to identify and address areas for improvement.

Involving service users and carers in this programme is a priority, and people with first hand experience of using community mental health services have been encouraged to get involved in all stages of the development process.

Accreditation assures staff, service users and carers, commissioners and regulators of the quality of the service being provided.

Accreditation Membership

This membership’s best for:

  • services who meet a set standard to achieve accreditation.

What’s involved?

  • You’ll self-review your service against the standards over a three month period. This will include completion of patient, carer, staff and referrer questionnaires and a health record audit.
  • A peer review team will visit your service for one day and help you identify your areas of achievements, and ways to improve your service. You will also need to provide documentary evidence to show compliance against our standards.
  • Your draft report will be discussed by our accreditation committee who will decide if your service can be accredited.

Once awarded, accreditation lasts up to three years subject to terms and conditions.

Developmental Membership

This membership’s best for:

  • new members of the network who’ve not had experience with the standards before
  • services who want to focus on the specific areas of the standards that are most useful to them
  • services who feel unable to go through the accreditation process
  • services who want to prepare for accreditation in the future.

What’s involved?

  • You’ll self-review your service against the standards over a three month period.
  • A peer review team will visit your service for one day and help you identify your areas of achievements and ways to improve your service.
  • You’ll receive a report of findings from the review day.

Who are we?

ACOMHS: Accreditation for Community Mental Health Services is a network of community services across the UK. Member services are supported to improve the quality of the service that they provide against a nationally recognised set of standards. The backbone of the network is peer review and accreditation but member services are also able to benefit from specialist events, publications, and the knowledge and experience of peers.

National Standards

Standards used within the network are designed specifically for community mental health services. They are developed in consultation with frontline staff, managers, patients and carers and are aligned with NICE guidelines, CQC regulations. Participating members are able to demonstrate that they are working towards and achieving these measures, as well as our wider standards, while showing their commitment to quality improvement.

What do we provide?

We provide opportunities for networking, tools for self -assessment and we facilitate peer review visits between member services. These visits are a key element of both developmental and accreditation processes. A peer-review team review evidence provided by the service to assess whether they meet the standards. Those meeting the required level are accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The network allows services to create a learning community, where they share and benefit from best practice and updates in the field. It enables staff to regularly consider ways to improve the quality and efficiency of their work and the care that they provide.

If you would like further information or would like to discuss ACOMHS, please contact the team on 0208 618 4003 or email acomhs@rcpsych.ac.uk.

For more information about how the CCQI handles data please read the College  privacy notice.
  • If you work in a UK community mental health service for adults, then your service is eligible to join the programme. 
  • The standards focus on the core functions of a community mental health team. This means that both working-age adult teams and specialist teams such as those for older adults, rehabilitation, forensic, and so on, can join the programme. However, at present ACOMHS is not able to review the specialist aspects of such teams, just the aspects of community working which are common to all community mental health services.
  • If you work in an Early Intervention in Psychosis service, please see the Early Intervention in Psychosis Network (EIPN).

Please note: As part of the assessment process, we will review your staffing and processes and therefore if you work in a service that includes multiple teams, we will assess each team separately. 

If you are unsure whether your team counts as a single or multiple, please contact us.

The programme runs on subscription fees from members; therefore there is an annual subscription fee for each service wishing to participate in the programme.

ACOMHS membership costs £2780 (+VAT). If you sign up for three years of membership at a cost of £7920 (+VAT), you save 5% and ensure your membership cost is frozen for the duration. To join the network, please fill out the joining form

Please note: The subscription fee applies per team or per service as individual teams/services will each be reviewed separately. Therefore if you have multiple teams or services in your Trust they will each need to sign up separately. If you are unsure as to whether your service qualifies as single or multiple services, please contact the ACOMHS team before subscribing.

The College Centre for Quality Improvement is cost-neutral, so the majority of your subscription fee goes towards the cost of organising your peer review visit and other benefits such as free training and forum events; the rest is used in administration of the process.

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry