Home > Consultation on refreshed Bereavement Care Service Standards

Over the last six months, we have been working to review and refresh the Bereavement Care Service Standards. Last revised in 2014, the Standards were due an update. We have heard from 55 people across six focus groups with managers, practitioners and those with lived experience (including underserved communities) all contributing their thoughts about and experiences of quality service provision. Thank you to everyone who took part.

The Standards have now been refreshed and these draft versions are now open for a short period of consultation. We would be really pleased to get your feedback. Please have a look at the Standards below and then submit your thoughts here. The consultation closes midnight, Friday 14 June.

After the consultation, we will review insights and comments from respondents with a final draft of the Standards expected at the end of June.

Draft refreshed standards

Principle 1: Person Centred Support

  • The service is planned in response to bereavement support needs that have been identified in the community it serves. This community might be a specific group of bereaved people (e.g. defined by age or relationship to the person who died), or bereaved people in a particular geography.
  • People with lived experience of bereavement are involved in the design of the service, to help ensure that it reflects their needs and preferences.
  • The service is clear about what it offers and to whom, when it is available, with expected access and outcomes.
  • The service has a clear rationale for the support and interventions it offers and how these are intended to help.
  • The service understands and meets the accessibility needs of the communities it serves, and seeks to dismantle the barriers that experiences such as poverty, racism, disability pose to accessing support. This includes but is not limited to providing information in languages other than English, providing access to interpreters, offering the service at a range of times, offering the service across a range of formats (for example, in person and online).
  • The service and bereaved person co-produce a plan that matches the bereaved person’s experiences, expectations, wishes and preferred outcomes to the support available, using a relevant assessment tool or framework.

Principle 2: Safety

  • The service has each of the following: a clear Confidentiality Policy, a clear Data Protection Policy, a clear Safeguarding Policy and a clear Risk Assessment Policy. These are available on the service’s website. If the service does not have a website, then users of the service are informed of these policies and copies are available on request.
  • The service’s Safeguarding Policy considers the safety of all stakeholders of the service including users, volunteers, employees and managers of the service.
  • The service has a Risk Assessment Policy that aligns with the Safeguarding Policy, with clear steps for practitioners and managers to identify, mitigate and respond to potential risks.
  • The service has adequate insurance cover in place.
  • The service offer includes clear expectations about response times for queries and referrals and how this response will be offered: whether by telephone, online or in person. If the service has a wait list, there is clear information about how a person can be supported during that time and the service offers updates to those on a wait list.
  • The service has a rigorous Recruitment Policy for all practitioners, both paid staff and volunteers.
  • Where applicable, there is a Volunteer Policy, which highlights the commitment required and the support offered. There may be specific training or qualifications requirements for volunteers, depending on the levels of service offered to populations that could be considered vulnerable.
  • All practitioners (paid staff and volunteers) have adequate training to deliver support at the level set out in their contract or volunteer agreement.
  • All practitioners and managers have access to and attend regular reflective practice sessions, including 1:1 supervision as well as reflective peer support sessions.

Principle 3: Collaboration

  • The service works collaboratively with other statutory, community, commercial, voluntary or faith sector services to meet the diverse needs of bereaved people and maximise the potential for access to appropriate services.
  • Clear, user-friendly information is available about the service and what it can offer, and about other local or national bereavement services, agencies and support resources, for signposting or onward referral purposes.
  • The service is open to collaborating in research initiatives to generate further findings to support practice development.

Principle 4: Quality

  • The service is aware of relevant research and incorporates this into practice and processes to ensure that the support it provides is based on evidence.
  • The service sets out its intended outcomes for bereaved people, and can demonstrate it is working towards these outcomes, including regular evaluation and service design review.
  • The service collects accurate and useful data, including monitoring data, service user feedback and complaints.
  • These data are analysed regularly, and resulting insights are used to improve the quality of the service offered.
  • The service has a clear Training and Development Policy and offer for practitioners and managers. This could include a variety of different educational offerings, but may include specialist training, externally accredited training and access to development opportunities.

Principle 5: Sustainability

  • The service has an up-to-date business plan that sets out how it will resource its service delivery, including the physical space, paid staff and volunteers, electronic and other resources it needs.

Thank you for reading the draft refreshed standards. Please share your feedback here. The consultation closes midnight, Friday 14 June.