ACOMHS standards 

Our standards

New edition of standards for community mental health services published (ACOMHS) in September 2016.

Overarching principles

The overarching principles that have guided the development of our standards are that:

  • People with mental health problems should receive timely assessment and treatment which is focussed on their individual needs and recovery goals.
  • People with mental health problems and their carers should receive a service that is person-centred and takes into account their unique and changing personal, psychosocial and physical needs.

What the standards cover

These standards are designed to be applicable to all adult community mental health services and can be used to assess the quality of general adult teams, as well as the ‘core’ functions of specialist teams. In future it is likely that there will be additional standards for specialist teams but all teams will be assessed against the standards included here as a minimum.

Since community mental health services differ widely in their configuration and the models used, these standards focus on the function of a team in order to make them as widely accessible as possible.

Download a copy of the standards.

Reflecting the views of those in the field

We know that those who are in the field have the best understanding of the issues and challenges that they face in providing high quality care.

The standards are drawn from relevant policies, guidelines and research literature and have been developed in consultation with a multidisciplinary group of professionals working in community mental health services, service users and carers 

Keeping up to date

The first edition standards were published in September 2016 following a pilot phase of the programme Following on from this, there will be a further opportunity for revision and then at regular intervals thereafter, to ensure that they continue to reflect developments in policy and practice and any issues identified through the accreditation process.

A multidisciplinary standards development group, comprising of representatives professionals working in, and with, community mental health services and service user and carer representatives, is responsible for the revision process.

How we measure performance against the standards

The full set of standards and criteria is aspirational and it is unlikely that any service would meet all of them. Therefore, each standard is categorised at one of three levels:

  • Type 1: criteria relating to patient safety, rights, dignity, the law and fundamentals of care, including the provision of evidence-based care and treatment;
  • Type 2: criteria that a service would be expected to meet;
  • Type 3: criteria that are desirable for a service to meet, or criteria that are not the direct responsibility of the service.

All type 1 standards must be met for a service to be accredited, along with 80% type 2 standards and 60% type 3 standards.

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