Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in Ireland

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract

Executive Summary:
1. Introduction:
This report presents the findings of research commissioned by the Irish Association of Suicidology to produce an accreditation model for voluntary organisations working in the field of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention
in Ireland. The research was funded by Department of Health through the National Office of Suicide Prevention. The
research was conducted by the Community Youth Work Department of the School of Sociology and Applied Social
Studies at the University of Ulster. The research commenced in May 2012 and concluded in December 2012.
2. Research Objective:
To develop a model for the accreditation and review of the work of voluntary organisations working in the suicide
prevention, intervention and postvention sector in Ireland and to support best practice and good governance in
service delivery.
3. Methodology
The study made use of a mixed method of data collection including quantitative and qualitative methods. The national
and international literature into the accredited practices and processes of reputable organisations regionally, nationally and internationally was reviewed. Voluntary organisations were invited to complete an online survey and semi
structured interviews were held with a representative sample of national, regional and local organisations from the
suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention sector.
The data was complimented by the addition of a review of interim findings by expert groups in October 2012.
A total of 60 organisations were invited to participate in the research process. They were requested to submit a return
email as a record of organisation consent as required by University of Ulster ethical procedures. Of the 60 organisations invited a total of 46 organisations responded and submitted informed consent. These organisations were forwarded a questionnaire. By September 2012, 26 of the 60 groups originally invited to participate had completed the
questionnaire.
The second phase of the research involved semi-structured interview with 30 identified organisations national (N=10),
regional (N=10) and local (N=10). Interviews were carried out and completed with 27 organisations and where required
phone meetings and email correspondence occurred when physical meetings proved difficult to arrange due to a
variety of reasons such as annual leave or ill health.
4. Key Findings and Recommendations:
The depth and breadth of the findings can be accessed within the main body of the report. This executive summary
outlines salient themes and findings drawn from the quantitative data and the qualitative interviews held with participating national, regional and local organisations.
It is evident that an effective evaluation and accreditation model can be devised but the authors are clear that in
developing such a model we must take account of the “process” for organisations and individuals within them. It is
important to develop a strategy that considers and ensures minimum adverse impact on staff, one which ensures
skills and confidence for those managing change within organisations, generates a high level of involvement from the
suicide prevention sector and that effective communication takes place.
The research indicates that a majority of organisations working in the sector view their services as concentrated in the
area of Mental Health promotion and well-being.
Promotion and marketing of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention services by organisations requires
expertise, resources and skills. In particular, smaller groups indicate difficulty in developing effective marketing and
advertising resources. Services on offer are advertised and promoted using a range of methods and strategies including printed media, leaflets and newspapers, radio, Facebook and social networking, websites and other methods as
defined by respondents
The data indicates that web based and new technologies with printed materials form the greatest percentage of resources. The relationship between the organisations and local print media and local radio has proved to be a valuable
resource to smaller local and community groups who seek to improve awareness
University of Ulster - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in Ireland
Ninety two per cent of respondents require a minimum qualification with the lowest level an undergraduate diploma
with respondents stating that a range of qualifications inclusive of degree, post graduate and masters level being
found acceptable to organisations.
Professional accreditation appears to be a universal requirement with a number of accrediting bodies being deemed
acceptable for practice.
Garda /PSNI clearance, from the author’s perspective should be a nominal prerequisite for all organisations and practitioners in this field as findings indicate not all volunteers are subject to garda/police clearance within the sector.
Responses indicate that all organisations make use of volunteers but in some cases organisations appear to rely more
heavily upon small numbers of full or part time employees (on average less than five) with volunteers carrying out
many of the core duties. The majority of groups (56%) make use of paid or voluntary counsellors in their provision of
services.
5. Guiding Principles: Ethos and Values
The model offers a number of guiding principles that are recommended for all organisations engaging in the accreditation process. Such principles must actively consider the overall ethos and vision of the organisation, its code of ethics
and practice that includes an understanding of good boundaries and self care. Essential to such a consideration is
that it be actively informed by the rights and responsibilities to and for the client within a person centred approach to
pre/post and intervention practices.
The recommended model of accreditation has a foundation level of essential governance and structure which must
be adhered to for all organisations.
5.1 Qualifications
The accreditation model recommends a level of minimum qualification suitable to basic practice and interventions
carried out by staff or volunteers.
5.2 Inspection
The accreditation model will consider and recommend an inspection procedure.
5.3 Training and Development
The model of accreditation contains elements that address training and development as prerequisites to practice.
5.4 Collaboration and Strategic Planning:
The model of accreditation contains elements that address the requirement for a collaborative and partnership approach to working which considers cross sector, thematic and geographic collaborative approaches.
5.5 Funding and Accreditation
The implementation and management of the accreditation model may wish to examine a direct relationship between
funding for organisations and engagement with the accreditation process.
5.6 Managing and Marketing Accreditation
The model of accreditation requires an implementation and marketing strategy to support and encourage engagement by organisations at national, regional and local level and across organisation in the statutory/voluntary sector
who are involved in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.
5.7 Communication
The research recommends the development of a communication strategy to support the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention sector. Such a communication strategy must be linked to strategic planning and collaboration
policies of organisations.
5.8 Information Management and Data Collection/ Resources
It is recommended that resourcing toward the development and implementation of accreditation must be addressed
to support and sustain the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention voluntary sector.
University of Ulster - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in Ireland
6. Introduction to the Model:
It is essential in developing any model of accreditation that it is formed around the highest guiding principles and
values that should inform and determine the direction and emphasis of the model. Such principles and values must
be at all times in a process of considered development and rooted in a shared ethical base of reflection and practice.
Such values and principles must be open to an on-going process of being developed and shaped by the experiences
and feedback of staff and service users they should be considered as an open ended and vital practice to any engagement by those working in the field of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.
There is a need for fundamental guiding principles that permit and facilitate openness, transparency, collaboration
and partnership nationally, regionally and locally.
STEP: Model of Accreditation for the Voluntary Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention Sector in
Ireland.
The STEP model of accreditation is based upon the quantitative and qualitative research findings, examination of
international and national literature on accreditation models and exploration of existing models across a number of
sectors and professional disciplines. The aim is to ensure that the model recommended for use in the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention sector has clarity of purpose, succinctly captures pertinent and important themes,
uses clear language and can be engaged with at a number of levels.
The STEP Model
The model of accreditation is developed as a layered and “stepped” approach with a foundation level and increasing
levels of accreditation linked to the practice of organisations. The model is outlined below:
The accreditation requirements at each step are outlined within the document.
Each item contained in the STEP Model of accreditation is written as a statement of action or behaviour (e.g. “the organisation has a strategic plan”). Organisations will identify at which step they operate and will clarify the services of
the organisation against the matrix of statements of good practice”
STEP1. Vision Purpose and Core Principles
The initial stage of engagement with the STEP model of accreditation supports organisations to clarify and review the
organisation vision, purpose principles and values. This should inform and determine the direction and emphasis of
the organisations requirements within the STEP model.
STEP 2: Foundation Level
Following the review of literature and examination of a variety of models and standards of accreditation; and having
completed the research with organisations, it is agreed that the first stage of the accreditation process will be completed by all organisations and will involve a set of accreditation themes covering key indicators with the associated
elements.
University of Ulster - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in Ireland
STEP 3: Prevention, Education and Support Level
The STEP model seeks to ensure that through good governance and effective management at a foundation and
universal level that organisations are best placed to deliver coordinated practices and services of consistently high
quality, with education a particular and important aspect to overall provision within the sphere of suicide Prevention,
Intervention and Postvention practice. Coupled with this any information transmitted must also be delivered within a
clear and concise framework and in a practical and understandable language and manner.
The organisation is accountable to ensure effective governance around the responsible, considered practice and
strategy in the development of effective services.
In addition to the Foundation Level, Step 3 comprises core activities that organisations undertake. These activities
involve Prevention, Education and Support and a number of distinct indicators, listed below will assist organisations
to ensure required standards of practice.
Step Four: Intervention, Targeted and Specialist Level
The STEP model aims to ensure that through good governance and effective management at a foundation level that
organisations are best placed to deliver coordinated practices and services of consistently high quality within the sphere
of suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention practice. Coupled with this any information transmitted must also
be delivered within a clear and concise framework and in a practical and understandable language and manner.
In addition to the Foundation Level, Step 4 comprises core activities that organisations undertake. These activities
involve intervention, targeted and specialist services and a number of distinct indicators will assist organisations to
ensure required standards of practice.
Conclusion:
This research has found that the voluntary organisations working within the areas of deliberate self-harm, suicide
Prevention, Intervention and Postvention in Ireland are a vibrant, committed, important and essential component of
any national strategy to address this difficult, complex and painful issue for families and communities.
This study used a mixed and creative approach to understanding and developing a model of accreditation. It was
informed at all times by the work and experience of those local, regional and national organisations that engaged in
and fully informed the research. This is the model realised from their vision and experience.
In the incoming months the model, informed by this consultation, will be fully implemented within the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention sector in Ireland. Even this conclusion is not the final word on the work carried out
as this model will be reviewed and developed over the next few years.
LanguageEnglish
Commissioning bodyIrish Association of Suicidology
Number of pages160
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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accreditation
suicide
Ireland
good governance
marketing
qualification
strategic planning
staff
best practice
communication

Cite this

@book{6c810f4b286a4650ad7da31fb146970c,
title = "Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in Ireland",
abstract = "Executive Summary:1. Introduction:This report presents the findings of research commissioned by the Irish Association of Suicidology to produce an accreditation model for voluntary organisations working in the field of suicide prevention, intervention and postventionin Ireland. The research was funded by Department of Health through the National Office of Suicide Prevention. Theresearch was conducted by the Community Youth Work Department of the School of Sociology and Applied SocialStudies at the University of Ulster. The research commenced in May 2012 and concluded in December 2012.2. Research Objective:To develop a model for the accreditation and review of the work of voluntary organisations working in the suicideprevention, intervention and postvention sector in Ireland and to support best practice and good governance inservice delivery.3. MethodologyThe study made use of a mixed method of data collection including quantitative and qualitative methods. The nationaland international literature into the accredited practices and processes of reputable organisations regionally, nationally and internationally was reviewed. Voluntary organisations were invited to complete an online survey and semistructured interviews were held with a representative sample of national, regional and local organisations from thesuicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention sector.The data was complimented by the addition of a review of interim findings by expert groups in October 2012.A total of 60 organisations were invited to participate in the research process. They were requested to submit a returnemail as a record of organisation consent as required by University of Ulster ethical procedures. Of the 60 organisations invited a total of 46 organisations responded and submitted informed consent. These organisations were forwarded a questionnaire. By September 2012, 26 of the 60 groups originally invited to participate had completed thequestionnaire.The second phase of the research involved semi-structured interview with 30 identified organisations national (N=10),regional (N=10) and local (N=10). Interviews were carried out and completed with 27 organisations and where requiredphone meetings and email correspondence occurred when physical meetings proved difficult to arrange due to avariety of reasons such as annual leave or ill health.4. Key Findings and Recommendations:The depth and breadth of the findings can be accessed within the main body of the report. This executive summaryoutlines salient themes and findings drawn from the quantitative data and the qualitative interviews held with participating national, regional and local organisations. It is evident that an effective evaluation and accreditation model can be devised but the authors are clear that indeveloping such a model we must take account of the “process” for organisations and individuals within them. It isimportant to develop a strategy that considers and ensures minimum adverse impact on staff, one which ensuresskills and confidence for those managing change within organisations, generates a high level of involvement from thesuicide prevention sector and that effective communication takes place.The research indicates that a majority of organisations working in the sector view their services as concentrated in thearea of Mental Health promotion and well-being.Promotion and marketing of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention services by organisations requiresexpertise, resources and skills. In particular, smaller groups indicate difficulty in developing effective marketing andadvertising resources. Services on offer are advertised and promoted using a range of methods and strategies including printed media, leaflets and newspapers, radio, Facebook and social networking, websites and other methods asdefined by respondentsThe data indicates that web based and new technologies with printed materials form the greatest percentage of resources. The relationship between the organisations and local print media and local radio has proved to be a valuableresource to smaller local and community groups who seek to improve awareness University of Ulster - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in IrelandNinety two per cent of respondents require a minimum qualification with the lowest level an undergraduate diplomawith respondents stating that a range of qualifications inclusive of degree, post graduate and masters level beingfound acceptable to organisations.Professional accreditation appears to be a universal requirement with a number of accrediting bodies being deemedacceptable for practice.Garda /PSNI clearance, from the author’s perspective should be a nominal prerequisite for all organisations and practitioners in this field as findings indicate not all volunteers are subject to garda/police clearance within the sector.Responses indicate that all organisations make use of volunteers but in some cases organisations appear to rely moreheavily upon small numbers of full or part time employees (on average less than five) with volunteers carrying outmany of the core duties. The majority of groups (56{\%}) make use of paid or voluntary counsellors in their provision ofservices.5. Guiding Principles: Ethos and ValuesThe model offers a number of guiding principles that are recommended for all organisations engaging in the accreditation process. Such principles must actively consider the overall ethos and vision of the organisation, its code of ethicsand practice that includes an understanding of good boundaries and self care. Essential to such a consideration isthat it be actively informed by the rights and responsibilities to and for the client within a person centred approach topre/post and intervention practices.The recommended model of accreditation has a foundation level of essential governance and structure which mustbe adhered to for all organisations.5.1 QualificationsThe accreditation model recommends a level of minimum qualification suitable to basic practice and interventionscarried out by staff or volunteers.5.2 InspectionThe accreditation model will consider and recommend an inspection procedure.5.3 Training and DevelopmentThe model of accreditation contains elements that address training and development as prerequisites to practice.5.4 Collaboration and Strategic Planning:The model of accreditation contains elements that address the requirement for a collaborative and partnership approach to working which considers cross sector, thematic and geographic collaborative approaches.5.5 Funding and AccreditationThe implementation and management of the accreditation model may wish to examine a direct relationship betweenfunding for organisations and engagement with the accreditation process.5.6 Managing and Marketing AccreditationThe model of accreditation requires an implementation and marketing strategy to support and encourage engagement by organisations at national, regional and local level and across organisation in the statutory/voluntary sectorwho are involved in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.5.7 CommunicationThe research recommends the development of a communication strategy to support the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention sector. Such a communication strategy must be linked to strategic planning and collaborationpolicies of organisations.5.8 Information Management and Data Collection/ ResourcesIt is recommended that resourcing toward the development and implementation of accreditation must be addressedto support and sustain the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention voluntary sector. University of Ulster - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in Ireland 6. Introduction to the Model:It is essential in developing any model of accreditation that it is formed around the highest guiding principles andvalues that should inform and determine the direction and emphasis of the model. Such principles and values mustbe at all times in a process of considered development and rooted in a shared ethical base of reflection and practice.Such values and principles must be open to an on-going process of being developed and shaped by the experiencesand feedback of staff and service users they should be considered as an open ended and vital practice to any engagement by those working in the field of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.There is a need for fundamental guiding principles that permit and facilitate openness, transparency, collaborationand partnership nationally, regionally and locally.STEP: Model of Accreditation for the Voluntary Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention Sector inIreland.The STEP model of accreditation is based upon the quantitative and qualitative research findings, examination ofinternational and national literature on accreditation models and exploration of existing models across a number ofsectors and professional disciplines. The aim is to ensure that the model recommended for use in the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention sector has clarity of purpose, succinctly captures pertinent and important themes,uses clear language and can be engaged with at a number of levels.The STEP ModelThe model of accreditation is developed as a layered and “stepped” approach with a foundation level and increasinglevels of accreditation linked to the practice of organisations. The model is outlined below:The accreditation requirements at each step are outlined within the document.Each item contained in the STEP Model of accreditation is written as a statement of action or behaviour (e.g. “the organisation has a strategic plan”). Organisations will identify at which step they operate and will clarify the services ofthe organisation against the matrix of statements of good practice”STEP1. Vision Purpose and Core PrinciplesThe initial stage of engagement with the STEP model of accreditation supports organisations to clarify and review theorganisation vision, purpose principles and values. This should inform and determine the direction and emphasis ofthe organisations requirements within the STEP model.STEP 2: Foundation LevelFollowing the review of literature and examination of a variety of models and standards of accreditation; and havingcompleted the research with organisations, it is agreed that the first stage of the accreditation process will be completed by all organisations and will involve a set of accreditation themes covering key indicators with the associatedelements. University of Ulster - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in IrelandSTEP 3: Prevention, Education and Support LevelThe STEP model seeks to ensure that through good governance and effective management at a foundation anduniversal level that organisations are best placed to deliver coordinated practices and services of consistently highquality, with education a particular and important aspect to overall provision within the sphere of suicide Prevention,Intervention and Postvention practice. Coupled with this any information transmitted must also be delivered within aclear and concise framework and in a practical and understandable language and manner.The organisation is accountable to ensure effective governance around the responsible, considered practice andstrategy in the development of effective services.In addition to the Foundation Level, Step 3 comprises core activities that organisations undertake. These activitiesinvolve Prevention, Education and Support and a number of distinct indicators, listed below will assist organisationsto ensure required standards of practice.Step Four: Intervention, Targeted and Specialist LevelThe STEP model aims to ensure that through good governance and effective management at a foundation level thatorganisations are best placed to deliver coordinated practices and services of consistently high quality within the sphereof suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention practice. Coupled with this any information transmitted must alsobe delivered within a clear and concise framework and in a practical and understandable language and manner.In addition to the Foundation Level, Step 4 comprises core activities that organisations undertake. These activitiesinvolve intervention, targeted and specialist services and a number of distinct indicators will assist organisations toensure required standards of practice.Conclusion:This research has found that the voluntary organisations working within the areas of deliberate self-harm, suicidePrevention, Intervention and Postvention in Ireland are a vibrant, committed, important and essential component ofany national strategy to address this difficult, complex and painful issue for families and communities.This study used a mixed and creative approach to understanding and developing a model of accreditation. It wasinformed at all times by the work and experience of those local, regional and national organisations that engaged inand fully informed the research. This is the model realised from their vision and experience.In the incoming months the model, informed by this consultation, will be fully implemented within the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention sector in Ireland. Even this conclusion is not the final word on the work carried outas this model will be reviewed and developed over the next few years.",
author = "Breda Friel",
year = "2013",
language = "English",

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TY - BOOK

T1 - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in Ireland

AU - Friel, Breda

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - Executive Summary:1. Introduction:This report presents the findings of research commissioned by the Irish Association of Suicidology to produce an accreditation model for voluntary organisations working in the field of suicide prevention, intervention and postventionin Ireland. The research was funded by Department of Health through the National Office of Suicide Prevention. Theresearch was conducted by the Community Youth Work Department of the School of Sociology and Applied SocialStudies at the University of Ulster. The research commenced in May 2012 and concluded in December 2012.2. Research Objective:To develop a model for the accreditation and review of the work of voluntary organisations working in the suicideprevention, intervention and postvention sector in Ireland and to support best practice and good governance inservice delivery.3. MethodologyThe study made use of a mixed method of data collection including quantitative and qualitative methods. The nationaland international literature into the accredited practices and processes of reputable organisations regionally, nationally and internationally was reviewed. Voluntary organisations were invited to complete an online survey and semistructured interviews were held with a representative sample of national, regional and local organisations from thesuicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention sector.The data was complimented by the addition of a review of interim findings by expert groups in October 2012.A total of 60 organisations were invited to participate in the research process. They were requested to submit a returnemail as a record of organisation consent as required by University of Ulster ethical procedures. Of the 60 organisations invited a total of 46 organisations responded and submitted informed consent. These organisations were forwarded a questionnaire. By September 2012, 26 of the 60 groups originally invited to participate had completed thequestionnaire.The second phase of the research involved semi-structured interview with 30 identified organisations national (N=10),regional (N=10) and local (N=10). Interviews were carried out and completed with 27 organisations and where requiredphone meetings and email correspondence occurred when physical meetings proved difficult to arrange due to avariety of reasons such as annual leave or ill health.4. Key Findings and Recommendations:The depth and breadth of the findings can be accessed within the main body of the report. This executive summaryoutlines salient themes and findings drawn from the quantitative data and the qualitative interviews held with participating national, regional and local organisations. It is evident that an effective evaluation and accreditation model can be devised but the authors are clear that indeveloping such a model we must take account of the “process” for organisations and individuals within them. It isimportant to develop a strategy that considers and ensures minimum adverse impact on staff, one which ensuresskills and confidence for those managing change within organisations, generates a high level of involvement from thesuicide prevention sector and that effective communication takes place.The research indicates that a majority of organisations working in the sector view their services as concentrated in thearea of Mental Health promotion and well-being.Promotion and marketing of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention services by organisations requiresexpertise, resources and skills. In particular, smaller groups indicate difficulty in developing effective marketing andadvertising resources. Services on offer are advertised and promoted using a range of methods and strategies including printed media, leaflets and newspapers, radio, Facebook and social networking, websites and other methods asdefined by respondentsThe data indicates that web based and new technologies with printed materials form the greatest percentage of resources. The relationship between the organisations and local print media and local radio has proved to be a valuableresource to smaller local and community groups who seek to improve awareness University of Ulster - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in IrelandNinety two per cent of respondents require a minimum qualification with the lowest level an undergraduate diplomawith respondents stating that a range of qualifications inclusive of degree, post graduate and masters level beingfound acceptable to organisations.Professional accreditation appears to be a universal requirement with a number of accrediting bodies being deemedacceptable for practice.Garda /PSNI clearance, from the author’s perspective should be a nominal prerequisite for all organisations and practitioners in this field as findings indicate not all volunteers are subject to garda/police clearance within the sector.Responses indicate that all organisations make use of volunteers but in some cases organisations appear to rely moreheavily upon small numbers of full or part time employees (on average less than five) with volunteers carrying outmany of the core duties. The majority of groups (56%) make use of paid or voluntary counsellors in their provision ofservices.5. Guiding Principles: Ethos and ValuesThe model offers a number of guiding principles that are recommended for all organisations engaging in the accreditation process. Such principles must actively consider the overall ethos and vision of the organisation, its code of ethicsand practice that includes an understanding of good boundaries and self care. Essential to such a consideration isthat it be actively informed by the rights and responsibilities to and for the client within a person centred approach topre/post and intervention practices.The recommended model of accreditation has a foundation level of essential governance and structure which mustbe adhered to for all organisations.5.1 QualificationsThe accreditation model recommends a level of minimum qualification suitable to basic practice and interventionscarried out by staff or volunteers.5.2 InspectionThe accreditation model will consider and recommend an inspection procedure.5.3 Training and DevelopmentThe model of accreditation contains elements that address training and development as prerequisites to practice.5.4 Collaboration and Strategic Planning:The model of accreditation contains elements that address the requirement for a collaborative and partnership approach to working which considers cross sector, thematic and geographic collaborative approaches.5.5 Funding and AccreditationThe implementation and management of the accreditation model may wish to examine a direct relationship betweenfunding for organisations and engagement with the accreditation process.5.6 Managing and Marketing AccreditationThe model of accreditation requires an implementation and marketing strategy to support and encourage engagement by organisations at national, regional and local level and across organisation in the statutory/voluntary sectorwho are involved in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.5.7 CommunicationThe research recommends the development of a communication strategy to support the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention sector. Such a communication strategy must be linked to strategic planning and collaborationpolicies of organisations.5.8 Information Management and Data Collection/ ResourcesIt is recommended that resourcing toward the development and implementation of accreditation must be addressedto support and sustain the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention voluntary sector. University of Ulster - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in Ireland 6. Introduction to the Model:It is essential in developing any model of accreditation that it is formed around the highest guiding principles andvalues that should inform and determine the direction and emphasis of the model. Such principles and values mustbe at all times in a process of considered development and rooted in a shared ethical base of reflection and practice.Such values and principles must be open to an on-going process of being developed and shaped by the experiencesand feedback of staff and service users they should be considered as an open ended and vital practice to any engagement by those working in the field of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.There is a need for fundamental guiding principles that permit and facilitate openness, transparency, collaborationand partnership nationally, regionally and locally.STEP: Model of Accreditation for the Voluntary Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention Sector inIreland.The STEP model of accreditation is based upon the quantitative and qualitative research findings, examination ofinternational and national literature on accreditation models and exploration of existing models across a number ofsectors and professional disciplines. The aim is to ensure that the model recommended for use in the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention sector has clarity of purpose, succinctly captures pertinent and important themes,uses clear language and can be engaged with at a number of levels.The STEP ModelThe model of accreditation is developed as a layered and “stepped” approach with a foundation level and increasinglevels of accreditation linked to the practice of organisations. The model is outlined below:The accreditation requirements at each step are outlined within the document.Each item contained in the STEP Model of accreditation is written as a statement of action or behaviour (e.g. “the organisation has a strategic plan”). Organisations will identify at which step they operate and will clarify the services ofthe organisation against the matrix of statements of good practice”STEP1. Vision Purpose and Core PrinciplesThe initial stage of engagement with the STEP model of accreditation supports organisations to clarify and review theorganisation vision, purpose principles and values. This should inform and determine the direction and emphasis ofthe organisations requirements within the STEP model.STEP 2: Foundation LevelFollowing the review of literature and examination of a variety of models and standards of accreditation; and havingcompleted the research with organisations, it is agreed that the first stage of the accreditation process will be completed by all organisations and will involve a set of accreditation themes covering key indicators with the associatedelements. University of Ulster - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in IrelandSTEP 3: Prevention, Education and Support LevelThe STEP model seeks to ensure that through good governance and effective management at a foundation anduniversal level that organisations are best placed to deliver coordinated practices and services of consistently highquality, with education a particular and important aspect to overall provision within the sphere of suicide Prevention,Intervention and Postvention practice. Coupled with this any information transmitted must also be delivered within aclear and concise framework and in a practical and understandable language and manner.The organisation is accountable to ensure effective governance around the responsible, considered practice andstrategy in the development of effective services.In addition to the Foundation Level, Step 3 comprises core activities that organisations undertake. These activitiesinvolve Prevention, Education and Support and a number of distinct indicators, listed below will assist organisationsto ensure required standards of practice.Step Four: Intervention, Targeted and Specialist LevelThe STEP model aims to ensure that through good governance and effective management at a foundation level thatorganisations are best placed to deliver coordinated practices and services of consistently high quality within the sphereof suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention practice. Coupled with this any information transmitted must alsobe delivered within a clear and concise framework and in a practical and understandable language and manner.In addition to the Foundation Level, Step 4 comprises core activities that organisations undertake. These activitiesinvolve intervention, targeted and specialist services and a number of distinct indicators will assist organisations toensure required standards of practice.Conclusion:This research has found that the voluntary organisations working within the areas of deliberate self-harm, suicidePrevention, Intervention and Postvention in Ireland are a vibrant, committed, important and essential component ofany national strategy to address this difficult, complex and painful issue for families and communities.This study used a mixed and creative approach to understanding and developing a model of accreditation. It wasinformed at all times by the work and experience of those local, regional and national organisations that engaged inand fully informed the research. This is the model realised from their vision and experience.In the incoming months the model, informed by this consultation, will be fully implemented within the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention sector in Ireland. Even this conclusion is not the final word on the work carried outas this model will be reviewed and developed over the next few years.

AB - Executive Summary:1. Introduction:This report presents the findings of research commissioned by the Irish Association of Suicidology to produce an accreditation model for voluntary organisations working in the field of suicide prevention, intervention and postventionin Ireland. The research was funded by Department of Health through the National Office of Suicide Prevention. Theresearch was conducted by the Community Youth Work Department of the School of Sociology and Applied SocialStudies at the University of Ulster. The research commenced in May 2012 and concluded in December 2012.2. Research Objective:To develop a model for the accreditation and review of the work of voluntary organisations working in the suicideprevention, intervention and postvention sector in Ireland and to support best practice and good governance inservice delivery.3. MethodologyThe study made use of a mixed method of data collection including quantitative and qualitative methods. The nationaland international literature into the accredited practices and processes of reputable organisations regionally, nationally and internationally was reviewed. Voluntary organisations were invited to complete an online survey and semistructured interviews were held with a representative sample of national, regional and local organisations from thesuicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention sector.The data was complimented by the addition of a review of interim findings by expert groups in October 2012.A total of 60 organisations were invited to participate in the research process. They were requested to submit a returnemail as a record of organisation consent as required by University of Ulster ethical procedures. Of the 60 organisations invited a total of 46 organisations responded and submitted informed consent. These organisations were forwarded a questionnaire. By September 2012, 26 of the 60 groups originally invited to participate had completed thequestionnaire.The second phase of the research involved semi-structured interview with 30 identified organisations national (N=10),regional (N=10) and local (N=10). Interviews were carried out and completed with 27 organisations and where requiredphone meetings and email correspondence occurred when physical meetings proved difficult to arrange due to avariety of reasons such as annual leave or ill health.4. Key Findings and Recommendations:The depth and breadth of the findings can be accessed within the main body of the report. This executive summaryoutlines salient themes and findings drawn from the quantitative data and the qualitative interviews held with participating national, regional and local organisations. It is evident that an effective evaluation and accreditation model can be devised but the authors are clear that indeveloping such a model we must take account of the “process” for organisations and individuals within them. It isimportant to develop a strategy that considers and ensures minimum adverse impact on staff, one which ensuresskills and confidence for those managing change within organisations, generates a high level of involvement from thesuicide prevention sector and that effective communication takes place.The research indicates that a majority of organisations working in the sector view their services as concentrated in thearea of Mental Health promotion and well-being.Promotion and marketing of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention services by organisations requiresexpertise, resources and skills. In particular, smaller groups indicate difficulty in developing effective marketing andadvertising resources. Services on offer are advertised and promoted using a range of methods and strategies including printed media, leaflets and newspapers, radio, Facebook and social networking, websites and other methods asdefined by respondentsThe data indicates that web based and new technologies with printed materials form the greatest percentage of resources. The relationship between the organisations and local print media and local radio has proved to be a valuableresource to smaller local and community groups who seek to improve awareness University of Ulster - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in IrelandNinety two per cent of respondents require a minimum qualification with the lowest level an undergraduate diplomawith respondents stating that a range of qualifications inclusive of degree, post graduate and masters level beingfound acceptable to organisations.Professional accreditation appears to be a universal requirement with a number of accrediting bodies being deemedacceptable for practice.Garda /PSNI clearance, from the author’s perspective should be a nominal prerequisite for all organisations and practitioners in this field as findings indicate not all volunteers are subject to garda/police clearance within the sector.Responses indicate that all organisations make use of volunteers but in some cases organisations appear to rely moreheavily upon small numbers of full or part time employees (on average less than five) with volunteers carrying outmany of the core duties. The majority of groups (56%) make use of paid or voluntary counsellors in their provision ofservices.5. Guiding Principles: Ethos and ValuesThe model offers a number of guiding principles that are recommended for all organisations engaging in the accreditation process. Such principles must actively consider the overall ethos and vision of the organisation, its code of ethicsand practice that includes an understanding of good boundaries and self care. Essential to such a consideration isthat it be actively informed by the rights and responsibilities to and for the client within a person centred approach topre/post and intervention practices.The recommended model of accreditation has a foundation level of essential governance and structure which mustbe adhered to for all organisations.5.1 QualificationsThe accreditation model recommends a level of minimum qualification suitable to basic practice and interventionscarried out by staff or volunteers.5.2 InspectionThe accreditation model will consider and recommend an inspection procedure.5.3 Training and DevelopmentThe model of accreditation contains elements that address training and development as prerequisites to practice.5.4 Collaboration and Strategic Planning:The model of accreditation contains elements that address the requirement for a collaborative and partnership approach to working which considers cross sector, thematic and geographic collaborative approaches.5.5 Funding and AccreditationThe implementation and management of the accreditation model may wish to examine a direct relationship betweenfunding for organisations and engagement with the accreditation process.5.6 Managing and Marketing AccreditationThe model of accreditation requires an implementation and marketing strategy to support and encourage engagement by organisations at national, regional and local level and across organisation in the statutory/voluntary sectorwho are involved in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.5.7 CommunicationThe research recommends the development of a communication strategy to support the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention sector. Such a communication strategy must be linked to strategic planning and collaborationpolicies of organisations.5.8 Information Management and Data Collection/ ResourcesIt is recommended that resourcing toward the development and implementation of accreditation must be addressedto support and sustain the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention voluntary sector. University of Ulster - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in Ireland 6. Introduction to the Model:It is essential in developing any model of accreditation that it is formed around the highest guiding principles andvalues that should inform and determine the direction and emphasis of the model. Such principles and values mustbe at all times in a process of considered development and rooted in a shared ethical base of reflection and practice.Such values and principles must be open to an on-going process of being developed and shaped by the experiencesand feedback of staff and service users they should be considered as an open ended and vital practice to any engagement by those working in the field of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.There is a need for fundamental guiding principles that permit and facilitate openness, transparency, collaborationand partnership nationally, regionally and locally.STEP: Model of Accreditation for the Voluntary Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention Sector inIreland.The STEP model of accreditation is based upon the quantitative and qualitative research findings, examination ofinternational and national literature on accreditation models and exploration of existing models across a number ofsectors and professional disciplines. The aim is to ensure that the model recommended for use in the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention sector has clarity of purpose, succinctly captures pertinent and important themes,uses clear language and can be engaged with at a number of levels.The STEP ModelThe model of accreditation is developed as a layered and “stepped” approach with a foundation level and increasinglevels of accreditation linked to the practice of organisations. The model is outlined below:The accreditation requirements at each step are outlined within the document.Each item contained in the STEP Model of accreditation is written as a statement of action or behaviour (e.g. “the organisation has a strategic plan”). Organisations will identify at which step they operate and will clarify the services ofthe organisation against the matrix of statements of good practice”STEP1. Vision Purpose and Core PrinciplesThe initial stage of engagement with the STEP model of accreditation supports organisations to clarify and review theorganisation vision, purpose principles and values. This should inform and determine the direction and emphasis ofthe organisations requirements within the STEP model.STEP 2: Foundation LevelFollowing the review of literature and examination of a variety of models and standards of accreditation; and havingcompleted the research with organisations, it is agreed that the first stage of the accreditation process will be completed by all organisations and will involve a set of accreditation themes covering key indicators with the associatedelements. University of Ulster - Researching Quality Systems and Developing Accreditation Standards for Voluntary Suicide Prevention Organisations in IrelandSTEP 3: Prevention, Education and Support LevelThe STEP model seeks to ensure that through good governance and effective management at a foundation anduniversal level that organisations are best placed to deliver coordinated practices and services of consistently highquality, with education a particular and important aspect to overall provision within the sphere of suicide Prevention,Intervention and Postvention practice. Coupled with this any information transmitted must also be delivered within aclear and concise framework and in a practical and understandable language and manner.The organisation is accountable to ensure effective governance around the responsible, considered practice andstrategy in the development of effective services.In addition to the Foundation Level, Step 3 comprises core activities that organisations undertake. These activitiesinvolve Prevention, Education and Support and a number of distinct indicators, listed below will assist organisationsto ensure required standards of practice.Step Four: Intervention, Targeted and Specialist LevelThe STEP model aims to ensure that through good governance and effective management at a foundation level thatorganisations are best placed to deliver coordinated practices and services of consistently high quality within the sphereof suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention practice. Coupled with this any information transmitted must alsobe delivered within a clear and concise framework and in a practical and understandable language and manner.In addition to the Foundation Level, Step 4 comprises core activities that organisations undertake. These activitiesinvolve intervention, targeted and specialist services and a number of distinct indicators will assist organisations toensure required standards of practice.Conclusion:This research has found that the voluntary organisations working within the areas of deliberate self-harm, suicidePrevention, Intervention and Postvention in Ireland are a vibrant, committed, important and essential component ofany national strategy to address this difficult, complex and painful issue for families and communities.This study used a mixed and creative approach to understanding and developing a model of accreditation. It wasinformed at all times by the work and experience of those local, regional and national organisations that engaged inand fully informed the research. This is the model realised from their vision and experience.In the incoming months the model, informed by this consultation, will be fully implemented within the suicide prevention, intervention and postvention sector in Ireland. Even this conclusion is not the final word on the work carried outas this model will be reviewed and developed over the next few years.

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