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Quality Standards Process Guide

Updated version published 1 April 2014

This version has been amended slightly to reflect a minor change to the way that quality standards are developed in light of the recent Francis Inquiry Report and subsequent government response.

The Francis Inquiry Report recommended that there should be an integrated hierarchy of standards of service across the NHS which should be divided into fundamental standards of minimum safety and quality, enhanced quality standards and developmental standards. In the government's response, it was stated that enhanced quality standards are set out within the current NICE quality standards, which in future will also specify developmental standards.

The Care Quality Commission will be responsible for the setting of fundamental standards.Therefore, in future NICE quality standards may contain both enhanced and developmental statements. Generally, quality statements will continue to be enhanced statements describing high-priority areas for quality improvement which are aspirational (they describe high-quality care or service provision) but achievable. However on occasion quality statements may be considered to be developmental in nature if they set out emergent areas of practice that have the potential to lead to wide-spread benefits in improving outcomes over time, but which require significant specific and significant changes to be put in place.Stakeholders will be able to submit potential emergent areas of practice during the topic engagement exercise which takes place at the start of the quality standards development process for consideration by the Quality Standards Advisory Committee (QSAC).

For further information, and to view the amended process guide, please visit the NICE website
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