College of Occupational Therapists: The first NICE accreditation for AHP organisations

Having been accredited for the process it uses to develop its practice guidelines, the College of Occupational Therapists is the first allied health professional organisation to be awarded accreditation by NICE.

Julia Roberts, Quality Programme Manager and Mandy Sainty, Research and Development Manager share their experience of the accreditation journey:

"Practice guidelines are part of a wide range of professional resources to inform occupational therapy practice and support professional development.

"The College's commitment to work towards accreditation was made at the highest level of the organisation in 2010, following a risk-benefit analysis and the development of a 'Fit to submit' strategy.

"A key benefit or motivator to start the accreditation journey was that it provided a timely catalyst for reviewing our existing guideline development process against nationally recognised standards. We had a process which we determined was good quality and fit for purpose, but how would it stand up against NICE's 25 accreditation criteria? While we had a reasonable sense of where our strengths lay, we also knew that there would be areas in which improvements would undoubtedly be required. Stakeholder and service user involvement and providing evidence of our production processes to a sufficiently high level of detail were cases in point.

"The College's final accreditation report confirms that our guideline development process complies with all 25 criteria. As the professional body for occupational therapists, we can therefore be confident that the evidence-based practice guidelines the College publishes will help occupational therapy staff to make decisions about appropriate interventions for a specific condition or population. They will advise service users, other professionals and commissioners, and provide evidence which may inform the development of relevant NICE quality standards. The display of the NICE Accreditation Mark on NICE Evidence Search and on our own website will further raise the profession's profile, and provide continued evidence of the contribution that occupational therapy makes to health and well-being.

"Receiving notification of NICE accreditation for a guideline development process is without doubt a highly significant milestone for an organisation. It is an aspiration we would certainly recommend, and one which seems to be making an impression on guidance producers given that the College of Occupational Therapists' guideline development process is actually the 50th to be accredited."

Information about the College of Occupational Therapists practice guidelines can be found on the College's website.

Listen to Julia Scott, Chief Executive of the College of Occupational Therapists, talk about the benefits of NICE Accreditation

Receiving notification of NICE accreditation for a guideline development process is without doubt a highly significant milestone for an organisation.

Mandy Sainty and Julia Roberts

(Research & Development Manager and Quality Programme Manager, College of Occupational Therapists)