About the AIMS network

AIMS-WA and AIMS-AT work with services to assure and improve the quality of acute inpatient services for working-age adults.

Through a comprehensive and standardised process of review, we identify and acknowledge high standards of clinical care and organisation, and also support and advise services to achieve these where necessary.

Involving service users and carers in our work is a focus and priority. Individuals with first-hand experience of using services are encouraged to get involved in all stages of the accreditation process. Accreditation helps to assure staff, service users and carers, commissioners and regulators of the quality of the service being provided. 

Accreditation is completed in three stages:

Phase 1: Self review 

During this phase, you will undertake a series of surveys, including staff, carer and ward/unit manager questionnaires, a service user feedback tool, a review of case notes and an audit of the environment. 

These enable you to review your local procedures and practices against the standards and, if necessary, to start thinking about the changes that are required to achieve accreditation. 

This phase will last three months and a summary of the results from the self-review forms the basis of the discussion at the peer-review visit.

Phase 2: Peer review

The peer-review visit takes places four to eight weeks after you have completed your self-review. 

A team, generally of four-five people and comprising staff from other member services and a service user and/or carer representative, will undertake the visit. 

In addition to validating your self-review, the peer-review provides an opportunity for discussion, sharing of ideas and for the visiting team to offer advice and support.

Phase 3: Accreditation decision

Information from the self- and peer-review is compiled into a summary report which is verified by the review team and the service before being submitted to the Accreditation Committee (AC). 

The Committee will then make a decision about the service’s accreditation, there are three categories of accreditation: 

  • Accredited – for teams that meet:
    • 100% of Type 1 standards
    • 80% of Type 2 standards
    • 60% of Type 3 standards
  • Accreditation Deferred - for teams that: 
    • Do not meet all Type 1 standards but show they will be able to
    • Do not meet enough Type 2 or 3 standards but show they will be able to
    • Do not meet a significant number of standards in one particular area.
  • Not Accredited – for teams that:
    • Do not meet the number of standards needed, and do not show they will be able to within a reasonable time
    • Do not submit sufficient self-review data

Your team will be given time, guidance and support to reach accreditation. Accreditation is valid for up to three years, subject to satisfactory completion of an interim review.

Your AIMS membership benefits

Included in your membership is:

  • The accreditation process, including all documentation for your self-review, peer-review visit, and reports which outline your achievements and suggested approaches to improvement
  • Peer-reviewer training for AIMS service staff
  • Opportunities for staff to visit other acute inpatient wards as peer reviewers
  • Free places at the annual AIMS Forum
  • Up to two free special interest days or learning events annually
  • Year round support from the AIMS Team and Accreditation Committee to support you to meet the standards
  • Access to the AIMS email discussion group
  • Newsletters providing updates and sharing good practice
  • Certificate of AIMS Accreditation

Accreditation assures patients, carers, frontline staff, commissioners, managers, and regulators that your acute inpatient service is of a good quality and that staff are committed to improving care.

How to join?

Download and complete our joining form (PDF) and return it to AIMS-WA@rcpsych.ac.uk and a member of the team will be in touch to discuss your membership further.

The accreditation programme is funded on a subscription basis. The annual fee is £1,995 + VAT per ward which includes access to all our materials and events. 

A 10% discount is available for services that purchase a three-year membership, total cost £5,390 + VAT.

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