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

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Joining the Quality Network for Inpatient CAMHS

Recruitment for Cycle 18 of QNIC has now started. Please click below to download the QNIC information leaflet, which outlines the annual cycle and the QNIC process.

For any more information about QNIC please contact or phone 020 3701 2663.

What does membership of the network provide?

  • Updated service standards

  • Peer-review visit from other CAMHS professionals

  • A local service evaluation and report

  • A national annual report - allowing services to benchmark and compare their activity and performance with all other units

  • A newsletter which is produced 4 times a year

  • The QNIC email discussion group

  • Reduced rates to attend the QNIC Annual Forum

  • A certificate of participation

  • QNIC Routine Outcome Measurements Service

You can also see feedback from units who have already participated in QNIC

The Process That We Use

Quality Network for Inpatient CAMHS uses a method that combines the clinical audit cycle with peer reviews. Participating teams rate themselves against the QNIC Service Standards via an annual process of 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 4 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 as a 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 between September and April

  • Detailed review report: Information from the peer review is compiled into a detailed team report, recognising 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 May 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 our website


During cycle 15, 8 units took part in the accreditation process. To date 20 units have been accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Advantages of taking part in accreditation are that members will have formal recognition of their good work and they will be able to use the accreditation award to demonstrate to commissioners, senior trust managers, referrers, young people and parents/carers that quality and safety standards have been met.

Teams that satisfactorily complete the accreditation process will be accredited for three years.

If, during this three year period, the employing organisation is aware of changes to practice that may affect the quality of the service, it must report this to the QNIC team which will re-consider the team’s accreditation status.

Maintenance of approved status will also be conditional on the provision by the team of interim data demonstrating ongoing compliance with the standards. This will be in the form of a three year cycle:

Year 1: Accreditation review

Year 2: Self review only

Year 3: Peer review visit

A team must have participated in at least one year of the standard QNIC quality improvement reviews before it has an accreditation review.

The time from registration to a decision being made about a team’s accreditation status will be between six and nine months.

There are three main phases of the accreditation review: a detailed self-review, a detailed peer-review and a decision about accreditation category and feedback.

These reviews will be more thorough than the usual quality improvement reviews in that they will require evidence to validate self-ratings, will use more information sources and more methods of data collection.

If you would like to take part in accreditation during Cycle 18, please contact on 0203 701 2663 or

Alternatively, to find out more information, please download the full QNIC Accreditation Process document.


Cycle 17 costs:

  • Peer review - £2495 per year (annual cycle)

  • Accreditation review - £2495 per year (3 year cycle)

QNIC, 2nd Floor Royal College of Psychiatrists, 21 Prescot Street, London, E1 8BB

Tel: 020 3701 2663

Fax: 020 3701 2761


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