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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Quality Network for Community CAMHS Logo

Why Join the Network?


Quality Network for Community CAMHSPlease click the links below for more information:


How the Network Helps Services

  • We involve and listen to the people on the frontline, including staff from all professional backgrounds, service users and their carers and partner organisations.  At a local level, this means engaging people in the review of their own service, and at a national level in how the network develops.
  • We promote sharing of best practice as services are engaged with a network of peers, providing a forum for advice and information sharing.
  • We support professional development as members can sign up to receive lead reviewer training and are able to improve their professional practice.
  • We celebrate good practice and the achievements of staff as they are identified through the review process.
  • Our process helps to build dialogue with referrers, partner agencies and commissioners.
  • Learning and innovations arising from the process are often spread beyond the participating service to other services within the organisation.   

What Members Receive

Services are supported to evaluate their performance based on our robust standards, as a result of which they receive:


  • A detailed team evaluation and report
  • A service-wide report (where applicable)
  • A report of national findings to enable benchmarking with other services

Services are supported to improve their practice through:


  • An organised visit to another Specialist CAMH service
  • Regular newsletters
  • Membership of the Quality Network for Community CAMHS email discussion group
  • Our Annual Forum - see our events page for details of this year's forum


The Process That We Use

Quality Network for Community CAMHS uses a method that combines the clinical audit cycle with peer reviews.  Participating teams rate themselves against the QNCC Service Standards via an annual process of self and peer review. This model aims to facilitate incremental improvements in CAMH services. 


  • Development of service standards: Every two years, services in the network take part in a workshop to review and further develop the criteria and standards for Tier 2 and 3 services. 
  • Self review:  We support members to undertake a review of their team’s performance against the standards.  The review familiarises the team with the standards and provides a dedicated space to reflect on their service. The self-review takes approximately 3-5 hours to complete as a group and is best completed over several sessions. The self review should be completed in consultation with the multi-disciplinary team. 
  • Peer review:  A team comprising 3 staff from other member services plus a facilitator undertakes a peer review visit.  This provides an opportunity for discussion, sharing of ideas and for the visiting team to offer advice and support.  Peer reviews take place over a single day (10am - 3.30pm) and as many team members as possible should be present for at least part of your peer review day.  Peer reviews take place year round, with a gap over the school summer holidays (late July - August).
  • Detailed review report:  Information from the self and peer review is compiled into a detailed team report, recognizing areas of achievement and areas for improvement and recommending how these might be addressed.  Organisations with more than one participating service will also receive an aggregated report, enabling comparison of teams within the Trust and providing scores for the service as a whole.
  • Organised visit to another service:  Staff are provided with guidance and support to peer review another member service, led by an experienced lead reviewer.  Each participating team is asked to provide at least three members of staff to visit one other CAMHS team each. This requires attendance at the peer review day, plus travel time and an overnight stay where necessary. Visiting reviewers are asked to let us know their preferences for other member services they would like to visit.  It is our experience that people find their peer review visit a valuable part of the process, seeing areas of good practice in other teams and engaging in frank discussions about the challenges and potential solutions.  It also further develops their understanding of the standards and their rationale.
  • Benchmarking and trend analysis:  We summarise the findings from all our members into an annual national report, enabling services to benchmark their own performance against other services, and identifying trends in service provision.
  • Annual Members Forum:  In November each year we host an annual forum where members hear the findings of our national benchmarking and trend analysis and presentations from other services on their key challenges and lessons they have learned.  Members also consider the review process and how it might be developed in the future.
  • Certificate of participation:  The certificate is awarded by the Royal College of Psychiatrists as confirmation of the service’s commitment to on-going evaluation and quality improvement.
  • Active on-going network support:  We work hard to ensure that all our members are supported to share best practice, seek advice and pool learning throughout the process.  We do this through our regular newsletter, email discussion group and publication of resources on the member-only area of our website.

Why Focus on Child and Adolescent Mental Health?


  • The most recent survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that one in ten children and young people aged 5-16 years have a clinically diagnosed mental disorder.
  • If these disorders are not treated effectively, children and young people, as well as their families, can experience serious difficulties, including social, development and economic problems, which could persist into adulthood.
  • In 2008 Children and young people in mind: the final report of the National CAMHS Review concluded that, whilst local services have made significant progress in recent years, more can be done to improve the consistency, accessibility and suitability of services.
  • There is an increasing focus on services to support the mental health of children and young people in national policy and guidance.
  • CAMHS services will be subject to increasing inspection and regulation and the CQC has developed an indicator for CAMHS providers to be used in assessment of the services provided.
  • Tier 2 and 3 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are varied in structure and physically dispersed.  Consequently, quality improvement and innovation may often occur in isolation. Part of QNCC’s focus is on the extent to which Tier 2 and 3 CAMHS work with other services and agencies to deliver high standards of care for children, young people and their families.

Where next...







QNCC, Royal College of Psychiatrists, 21 Prescot Street, London, E1 8BB 
Tel: 020 3701 2663   Fax: 020 3701 2761   Email:

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