At Developing Healthy Communities, we have been working with the Public Health Agency (PHA) since 2010 to develop and tailor a framework of Quality Standards within which any service providing mental and emotional wellbeing support and suicide prevention across Northern Ireland should operate.

Improving governance within organisations

The Quality Standards focus on improving governance arrangements within organisations to provide safe and effective practice for service users. They are regularly reviewed to ensure compliance with changing legislation or best practice. 

There are three main areas of the standards:

  • Setting minimum standards to strengthen services, practice and improve outcomes for service users
  • Improving governance arrangements and improve the way in which service providers across all sectors manage their business
  • Improving the way in which service providers are held to account for the services they provide

Previous organisations that have completed the Quality Standards training have said:

“We owe it to the people we help and support to provide the best possible service and this framework is an excellent way of giving our service users the confidence in choosing where to seek help and our staff the guidance in how best to run an agency and deliver the services to a high standard.”

Setting a minimum standard of service

All organisations – public, private or charitable – funded by the PHA and who are supporting people with their mental and emotional wellbeing or engaged in suicide prevention should complete the Standards. These will set minimum standards of service, practice and improve outcomes for service users.

“The standards are a quality stamp achievement which in turn demonstrates an organisations’ professionalism, credibility and good governance which are essential elements in obtaining funding and contracts.”

A self-assessment process

The Quality Standards framework is completed as a 'self-assessment' programme.

Organisations complete their own evaluation of how the standards apply to their organisation and particular areas of expertise. It requires participants to read and apply the standards to their unique organisational goals.

Each year, a number of organisations are chosen at random for independent assessments. These are in place to ensure the high quality of the self-assessment process.

Core & additional standards

All organisations will complete the self-assessment on the ‘Core Standards’. These standards apply to all PHA funded Emotional Well Being and Suicide Prevention Projects and other services where considered appropriate. They cover:

  • Management & organisational governance
  • Employment & volunteering structures
  • Organisational practice & service delivery
  • Monitoring & evaluation
  • Communication processes

Depending on the nature of the projects you are working on, it may also be useful to complete some or all of the ‘Additional Standards’. These provide specific frameworks on:

  • Training
  • Self-harm services
  • Counselling
  • Complementary therapies
  • Bereavement support services
  • Bereavement support groups

Find out more

If you think your organisation could benefit from the Quality Standards, let us know and we will support you through the process:

Get in touch by: