Our review process

On average it takes six to nine months from the start of the registration process to become accredited, and this includes three main components: self-review, a peer-review visit and an accreditation decision.

ACOMHS use the following questionnaires as part of the process for self-review data collection:

  • Service User Questionnaires
  • Relatives, Friends and Carers Questionnaires
  • Staff Questionnaires
  • An Audit of Case Notes
  • Referrer Questionnaires.

All ACOMHS member services are provided with survey links in order to complete ACOMHS questionnaires online. Questionnaires for service users, relatives, friends and carers, and referrers are also available as paper-based copies.

The information is collected on our information gathering system called CARS. ACOMHS Member services can log into CARS at any time during the self-review period to complete their self-review workbook (i.e. to rate themselves against each of the quality standards), monitor survey returns and download information related to the service.

As part of the accreditation process, each service receives a peer review visit from a team made up of clinical staff from other member services, as well as a service user and/or carer representative and a member of the ACOMHS team. This is a one-day visit which normally takes place within three months of the completion of the self-review process.

Why become a peer reviewer?

  • Being a peer reviewer gives you the chance to visit and assess other community services in the UK, and for community mental health service staff and clinicians this means becoming part of a dynamic network where you can share ideas, examples of best practice and resources. It also gives peer reviewers the opportunity to see how other services work as part of their professional and personal development. Additionally, many of our professional reviewers really value this experience in preparation for their own peer reviews.
  • As part of the agreement of joining, member services are required to nominate staff to become peer reviewers. Please bear in mind that your service will receive a visit from at least two peer reviewers (who are clinical staff) every two years, so you should provide at least two reviewers every two years in order to keep the programme running fairly and efficiently.
  • If more than two members of your team would like to become peer reviewers, please just let us know. We always welcome new reviewers.
  • As a service user or a carer, you will become part of a programme which aims to improve the quality of community mental health services. Through the accreditation process, we want to consistently raise standards and improve the quality of care and support for both patients and carers. As such, your views are vital in ensuring that service user and carer perspectives are ‘at the heart’ of the peer review process.

Who can become a peer reviewer? 

  • People who work in a community mental health service which is a member of ACOMHS.
  • Service users or carers, who have experience of using a community mental health service.

How do I become a peer reviewer?

You will need to attend a free one-day training event to learn how peer review visits typically work and what the key requirements are on a peer review day. The training day is structured like a peer review day and involves some elements of role play to also give you an idea of how a peer review visit is typically conducted. If you are a clinician, training days are eligible for your CPD programme.

To register, please contact the ACOMHS team.

For more information on the review process, please download the Accreditation Process document from our resources page.

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