How to use quality standards

Our quality standards set out priority areas for quality improvement in health, public health and social care. Each standard includes:

  • a set of statements to help improve quality
  • information on how to measure progress.

Quality standards support our guidelines by highlighting key areas to focus on. They can be used in:


Our service improvement template (Excel) can help you to:

  • assess current practice
  • develop an action plan
  • monitor quality improvement.

Our into practice guide contains practical steps you can take to improve the quality of care and services.

Influencing commissioning

Our quality standards play a key role in helping commissioners and providers. They can:

  • support in identifying changes that need to be made in order to develop services
  • empower providers to ask for the specific support they need to improve service performance and quality
  • provide commissioners with key quality markers that they can include in service specifications.

Supporting quality improvement work

You can use quality standards to:

  • write improvement action plans
  • set goals
  • demonstrate the level at which a service should be provided.

The standards support the assessment of health and care services, identifying areas of good care and areas for quality improvement.

Helping with quality assurance work and monitoring

You can use quality standards to develop quality assurance frameworks. They allow users to:

  • identify gaps in services
  • benchmark compliance
  • measure quality improvement after implementing change.

The standards are useful for:

Shaping services and provider markets

Quality standards are helpful for:

  • setting the baseline that providers are expected to meet
  • underpinning policies and procedures.