The CHKS Standards Development Process

The assurance and accreditation team at CHKS is committed to ensuring that all standards and criteria that underpin the accreditation and assurance programmes are up to date and relevant to the client organisations taking part in the process.

To ensure a robust and professional programme of standards, a proactive approach is taken to developing, updating and consulting on a continual basis.

The CHKS standards focus on excellence and best practice to motivate organisations to aim higher than the achievement of minimum standards, facilitated by the use of indicators and outcome measures linked to the standards. 

The philosophy that continues to inform our work and which is reflected in our standards is that quality of care and service for individuals is best assured when:

  • There is a strong commitment to continuous improvements in patient safety
  • The patient’s and family member’s experiences are central to how the service operates
  • Resources are well used in a physical, technical and organisational environment that enables staff to give of their best.
  • Those who provide and deliver services are fully engaged and supported in influencing and achieving desirable change.

CHKS library of standards for health and care organisations 
In 2016, the approach to standards development changed.  Previously there were many sets of programmes of standards reflecting different health and care providers and the process of revising and updating these every three years proved to be resource intensive and untenable. 
Analysis of the common generic standards, applicable to all health and care providers, identified the general themes as: Leadership and Management, Risk and Safety, Patient Centred Care and Facilities and Site Services.   These are collated under the heading of CHKS General Standards.
Additionally, all the specialist clinical and support standards are collated under the heading CHKS Specialist and Support Standards. 
A generic standard on Service Governance has also been developed which can be applied to all services.  This covers issues such as skill-mix, competency of staff, environment and quality improvement.
These standards make up the CHKS library of standards for health and care organisations.
This enables a flexible approach to the development of tailored programmes for assurance and accreditation across a range of organisational need.
Quality and the patient remain at the heart of the CHKS standards development philosophy with a focus on excellence and best practice to motivate organisations to aim higher than the achievement of minimum standards.

External consultation and revision of standards
A rolling programme of updating of the standards will take place on an ongoing basis.  The updating will be based on a priority basis, in response to client need, or in response to changes in professional practice, through market intelligence and other stakeholder information and direct requests.  The views of potential users, feedback from clients and surveyors, CHKS Council and Panel members inform the process.

The review process in summary includes:

  • Liaising with clients in advance of standards reviews and drawing on feedback received, to support the development process
  • Extensive research into current best practice both nationally and internationally, and horizon scanning to identify current and future trends
  • Taking account of legal requirements, professional guidance, clinical and managerial information and evidence-based practice
  • Consultation with associated healthcare professionals and experts in the field
  • Consultation with relevant external professional bodies and national associations
  • Piloting of standards in new fields
  • Ratification of the standards by the CHKS Assurance and Accreditation Council.

The standards of other organisations and professional and regulatory requirements are considered, in view of linkages and overlaps, which may be identified to aid implementation of the standards and avoid duplication where possible.  Professional engagement with regulatory organisations to share mapping of the standards is encouraged.

The principle underpinning the standards are the RUMBA principles which ensure the criteria are Relevant, Understandable, Measurable, Beneficial and Achievable.  

Structure of CHKS standards
Standards and criteria: Each standard addresses an area of work or activity carried out by the service and is made up of criterion statements designed to be measurable through the self-assessment and survey process. Each criterion statement is intended to be clearly defined, achievable, measurable, and adaptable, while enabling flexible implementation as required at a local level, across the range, size and composition of services. 

Indicators: While the standards continue to include the essential elements concerning systems, processes and environment we also assess participating organisations on their achievement of outcomes by request relevant data indicators, such as the infection or mortality rate, or percentage of staff trained in a particular skill.  These indicators are included where they are deemed valuable to surveyors and while currently not directly rated for compliance, they complement the criteria by providing a broader, 360 degrees assessment of the quality of care being provided by the organisation, both by demonstrating that the organisation is measuring and monitoring its effectiveness as well as the providing detail of the outcomes of the service.

Guidance:  To help interpret the criteria, guidance is provided which gives greater detail on what the surveyors will be looking for as evidence to meet the specific criteria. 

References:  Many of the criterion statements are referenced to legislation, statutory guidance, department of health guidance and other national and international guidance. The references provide clients with the evidence base and a guide to where to go for further information.

Supporting national requirements
The standards aim to complement local and national quality initiatives.  Criteria are mapped to key professional guidance and national regulatory criteria where appropriate, for example the Care Quality Commission's (UK) current assessment criteria, or the Health Information and Quality Authority (Ireland) current standards. Working to implement CHKS standards will directly support the requirements of other quality awards or regulatory programmes. 

Dual award of CHKS Accreditation and ISO 9001
The CHKS standards are mapped to the international Quality Management Systems Standard ISO 9001 and CHKS, having gained external accreditation from UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service), can award health and care organisations with certification to ISO 9001 alongside their accreditation award.

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