What we do

The College Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI) works with mental health services to assess and improve the quality of care they provide.

We work with more than 90% of mental health service providers in the UK and focus on four key areas: quality networks, accreditation, national clinical audits, and research and evaluation.

Our quality and accreditation projects work with a range of mental health services through a process of regular peer and self-review against service standards. Our work supports services to improve the quality of care they offer.

Our networks work with both inpatient and community mental health services, as well as specialist services such as forensic and prison facilities, enabling environments and therapeutic communities. 

For more information on our quality networks, including a list of all current quality and accreditation networks, please see the quality network section.  


Most of our quality networks offer accreditation. We accredit services who can demonstrate a high level of compliance with our quality standards.

To maintain accreditation, the service needs to demonstrate consistently high standards over time by being reviewed at regular periods.

The process looks for evidence that staff members are well trained, well supported and working within organised and safe systems. Services also need to demonstrate that they provide good quality care to patients and that they have the appropriate equipment and facilities to do this.

As part of our accreditation process, we collect feedback from local patients and carers. A service can only be accredited if they are satisfied with the overall quality of the service. 

Our National Clinical Audits aim to improve patient care and outcomes through systematic review of care against explicit criteria and the implementation of change.

Our current audits are:

  • National Clinical Audit of Psychosis (NCAP)
  • National Audit of Dementia (NAD)
  • Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health-UK (POMH-UK)

We also offer 360 degree appraisal systems for professionals:

  • ACP 360 is a system used by consultants to log multi-source feedback that they can use for appraisal and revalidation.
  • MAEP helps expert psychiatric witnesses, who provide their expert opinion on the mental health of people in court cases, collect feedback. Feedback is collected from people involved in the case, such as solicitors and barristers.

The Health Services Research Team conducts both large scale, national research and in-depth qualitative studies.

Our work provides insight into the experiences of both mental health professionals and those living with mental health problems, focusing on under-studied aspects of healthcare provision and public health.

For more information on our current and past research projects, please see the research and evaluation section.

In 2017, we were awarded £2.3 million of new contracts to run national clinical audits focusing on psychosis (NCAP) and anxiety and depression (NCAAD).

Our work has been found to have helped improve the physical healthcare received by people with psychosis, as evidenced by an increase in monitoring and intervention (where needed) of all seven physical health measures as defined by the CQUIN, from 39% of inpatients in 2014/15 to 59% in 2016/17.

A recent report looking at the impact of our accreditation work with inpatient mental health wards for working age adults over 10 years highlighted several areas of improvement, including:

  • Access to therapy and activity, increasing from 44% in 2007 to 91% in 2016.
  • Crisis plans being in place for absconding patients, increasing from 33% in 2007 to 93% in 2016.
  • Addressing blind spots in wards, increasing from 31% in 2007 to 98% in 2016.

Chaplin, R., Raphael, H. and Beavon, M. (2018). The Impact of Accreditation for 10 Years on Inpatient Units for Adults of Working Age in the United Kingdom.

Below are some testimonials from services participating in our quality networks:

What does it mean for your team to be accredited?

"The process of participating and having to produce evidence of meeting the standards has resulted in driving up our standards. It also gave us the opportunity to publicise the quality of our service..."

"It is recognition of the team’s hard work. And having an independent body accredit you also serves as a benchmark for patients..."

"It justified the years of hard work. I have also seen a growth in staff confidence -  they have more understanding of timescales and are more eager to offer solutions to problems..."

"The staff felt the peer review was a positive experience which they enjoyed. It was very good and we didn’t feel under pressure..."
Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry