Join the network

New teams can join and start the accreditation process at any time. If you’d like to join the network, please follow the steps below:

  1. Email with details of the team(s) you’d like to sign up, including the name of the team and what Trust you fall under;
  2. We’ll add you to our online data collection system ‘CARS’;
  3. You’ll then be able to create an account and sign up on ‘CARS’;
  4. We’ll then arrange together a convenient time for the team to start the review process.

How much does it cost?

The accreditation programme is funded on a subscription basis. The annual fee is £2,980 + VAT per team which includes access to all our materials and events. 

We can offer discounts for services committing to three or more years' membership.

If you’d like further information about joining PLAN, please contact us

Your PLAN 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;
  • Annual PLAN Forum;
  • At least two special interest days or learning events annually;
  • Year round support from the PLAN Team and Accreditation Committee to support you to meet the standards;
  • PLAN-Chat
  • Two newsletters per year providing updates and sharing good practice.

Accreditation assures patients, carers, frontline staff, commissioners, managers, and regulators that your liaison service is of a good quality and that staff are committed to improving care. This formal recognition is fantastic, but PLAN membership also brings a range of other benefits:

  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) views membership of PLAN favorably when inspecting a Trust.
  • Accreditation rewards hardworking liaison staff for their efforts, raises morale and the profile of the team within its wider organisation.
  • Taking part in PLAN helps solve long term problems and encourages provider organisations to better support their local liaison team.
  • The PLAN process helps build dialogue with referrers, partner agencies, and commissioners. In some cases, it has helped liaison teams to secure additional funding or new contracts.
  • The central team has considerable knowledge of the strengths of different PLAN members and will put people in touch with each other accordingly.
  • The ‘Treat as One’ report produced by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death found that good practice in the quality of mental healthcare provided by hospitals with PLAN accredited teams was better than those with teams that were not accredited (NCEPOD, 2017).


  • "Teams that have been through the PLAN process are able to collect and act upon feedback from their patient and carers and the impact of PLAN is clearly visible."  Satveer Nijjar, Patient Rep on PLAN, trainer in mental health. 
  • "The PLAN process was an excellent exercise for the whole team in reflecting upon our achievements as a new team and areas for development.  We've used the independent information gathered from the PLAN review to gain funding to improve the Emergency Department assessment cubicle.  Gaining PLAN accreditation is a valuable and objective assessment of the quality of the service we provide."  Dr Mahnaz Hashmi, City Hospital.
  • "The team were so uplifted by all the positive comments and proud of the service they offer." Barbara Woodworth, Cheshire and Wirral. 

  • PLAN provides an extremely helpful framework for improving services, as well as the opportunity to demonstrate the quality of our service.” Cathy Walsh/ Mae Wong, Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

  • PLAN helped us negotiate better facilities in the acute hospital and helped us re=configure our alcohol services.” Peter Byrne, Newham University Hospital

There are three stages to the accreditation process. 

  1. Self-review

The self-review stage is a 12 week period of data collection where your team will:

  • Rate yourselves against each standard, stating whether you think you meet it or not
  • Complete a brief audit of case notes
  • Each complete a staff questionnaire
  • Ask your acute colleagues to complete a questionnaire
  • Ask patients and their carers to complete a questionnaire

All the documents and information needed for completing the self-review will be sent to you once we have agreed a start date.

When the self-review ends, we’ll send you a summary of the data telling you which standards you’re meeting.

Peer Review

You’ll be given 6-8 weeks between the self- and peer-review stages so that you can look through your data and begin to implement any changes.

A review team made up of at least 2 liaison professionals from other PLAN member services, a service user or carer representative and a member of the central PLAN team, will then visit your service to discuss the self-review data.

The data collected from both the self- and peer-review will then be used to write a report. The report will highlight your achievements, and outline any changes you’ll need to make to be ‘Accredited’.

You’ll then be given one month to make any changes before being presented to the PLAN Accreditation Committee (AC).


The AC is made up of professionals representing:

  • Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Faculty of Liaison Psychiatry
  • Royal College of Nursing
  • Royal College of Physicians
  • Royal College of Emergency Medicine
  • Mind
  • A Patient and Carer Representative

Using your report and any further evidence you might have sent to show you’re meeting the standards, the AC will recommend an accreditation status for you. There are three main categories of accreditation status:

  • ‘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, for example ‘training for acute colleagues’.
  • ‘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.

Review our accreditation process diagram

Review our typical PLAN timescales diagram

View our PLAN standards.


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