Local accreditation is one of three central components of the Chief Nursing Officer for England’s national shared governance and collective leadership programme.
In this section you will find a range of local accreditation resources including key actions to support implementation, shared learning from organisations that have successfully implemented ward and unit accreditation programmes across health care in England as well as tools developed to support best practice.
Key areas to consider when developing and implementing a local accreditation programme
Be clear about the benefits: Successfully implemented programmes identify several key benefits including reduction in unwarranted variation in practice, development of a culture of pride and accomplishment and increased quality improvement engagement and practice. Watch the short case study video about the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Exemplar Ward programme in the tools and resources section to learn more.
Identify Key Enablers: Establish sponsorship from the director of nursing/chief nurse who will identify support from your local board. Consider how your programme may align with your organisations values, ambitions and existing quality and performance systems and approaches.
Empower Leadership: Collective leadership is about everyone taking responsibility not just for their own job or role, but for the success of their team and their organisation as a whole. It is about ensuring that all voices are valued and contribute to the conversations where decisions are made. Considering how your local accreditation programme will empower staff across a range of grades and roles to become leaders is key to ensuring teams are enabled early in the process to contribute and engage.
Engage and Consult: There is compelling evidence that the more engaged people are, the more effective and productive they are, and most importantly, the higher the quality of care they deliver to our patients, citizens and communities. For meaningful engagement with nursing, midwifery and care staff it is important to ensure there is a clear understanding of the value and impact the professions have in the delivery of high-quality care as part of your local accreditation programme. A well represented steering group may support this.
Establish the right culture: Successful accreditation programmes demonstrate that positive, open and supportive cultures within organisations support innovation, improvement and a continued focus upon patient-centred high quality care. Supporting this; approaches such as shared decision-making and a supportive team culture have also been shown to increase staff job satisfaction and support improved retention and recruitment within services.
Set your standards: Establishing a robust set of local standards for your programme is key to ensuring its success. Consider how the standards and success measures you develop will need to reflect a range of evidence bases, it might be helpful to examine both national and locally available measures from a variety of sources.
Use ‘assessment’ days: Developing a programme of assessment days where your local accreditation programme will be routinely undertaken using a model that includes a multi-disciplinary team from a range of backgrounds, roles and expertise.
Establish ‘what you want to achieve’: Decide what constitutes achievement of ‘accreditation’ and what systems/processes will need to be in place to support this. Remember the bar for achievement should be ambitious and it may be that not all units/wards will achieve accreditation the first time and this will need communicating well. It is recommended that you consider how your local accreditation programme will be monitored going forward and where governance will sit as well as how you will celebrate successes and recognise the fantastic work of teams as they progress along their accreditation journeys.
These key actions build upon the NHS Improvement’s ‘Guide to developing and implementing ward and unit accreditation programmes. Access the guide to learn more about the accreditation approach.
Tools and resources
Learn about the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Exemplar Ward programme and the key benefits of this local accreditation scheme.
Hear colleagues talk about local accreditation at Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust:
A local accreditation programme has been implemented at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Watch this short film to learn more:
There are a range of resources available that aim to support development of local accreditation programmes across England these include:
- A range of case studies from organisations that have successfully embedded programmes with demonstrably positive outcomes
- A range of tools developed by local accreditation experts which aim to support sharing of good practice.
Further tools and resources to support local accreditation will continue to be added to this page.
Follow #1ProfessionalVoice on Twitter to share your local accreditation work and hear the latest news and updates.