Introduction to the M&E Standards


The NHS Long- Term Plan (LTP) outlines a commitment to put in place suicide bereavement support in every area of the country by 2023/24. This work is already well underway, with new and expanded services being delivered in more areas of the country each year. In many areas these services form part of a wider network of support to people bereaved or affected by suicide.

As more new suicide bereavement support services are commissioned, adopting a set of Core Standards will offer assurance that services delivering postvention support to people bereaved or affected by suicide, are delivering high quality services, achieving consistency and supporting their staff to provide support to those bereaved or affected by suicide.

The Core Standards outline key areas for service delivery and are intended to sit alongside locally agreed performance indicators, to support continuous measurement and inform service improvement, as part of an overall measurement and evaluation framework. 

Whilst the core standards are primarily directed towards suicide bereavement services delivering services commissioned as part of the delivery of the NHS Long- Term Plan, we hope that these core standards may also provide a helpful resource and guidance for anyone working to deliver suicide bereavement support in any capacity. 

Adopting the standards

The Core Standards provide a framework for service delivery which will enable providers to deliver a sustainable service and provide evidence to meet criteria required by commissioners to secure future funding. The Core Standards are based on the shared experiences of existing commissioned services and stakeholders and informed by published guidance, research in postvention and the NICE guidelines (2019). 

Although service delivery in different localities is likely to be influenced by factors such as demographics and geography and will need to reflect the communities they serve (e.g. a rural area may have very different needs to an inner-city environment.), the fundamental principles are shared. 

A nation-wide community of service providers who share the Core Standards can not only provide a network of mutual support and collaborative learning, but also ensure that there is a consistent approach to providing services to those who are bereaved and affected by suicide, wherever they are in the country.

Using the Core Standards

The Core Standards can be used in a range of ways, which may include:

  • By local suicide prevention and suicide bereavement support systems to inform the development of services; to inform in contracts and service specifications.
  • To support organisations setting up suicide bereavement support services.
  • To provide standards against which services can measure they are delivering a high-quality service
  • As an audit tool to allow services to benchmark themselves and highlight areas of good practice and areas for development.  
  • To inform the focus of service evaluation. 

The core standards are divided in to 7 themes, each of which contains a number of specific standards. The core standards are not presented in any order of importance but, where possible, reflect a pathway. 

The core standards are presented in 2 levels to recognise that services may be different sizes and stages of maturity and that for some there may be areas of the service that need to be further developed.

  • Level 1 – core standards which would be expected to be in place for services delivering suicide bereavement support, or for robust plans in place to meet the standards
  • Level 2 – developmental standards, whilst many established services may already be meeting these standards, they may also be used to indicate areas for future service development in smaller or less established services. 

Support and Resources

The Core standards are designed to be used interactively, with areas to consider in reviewing the standard alongside a range of resources, including; templates, guidance and case studies, which offer support for services in meeting the standards. These are available on the SASP Central Hub website 

Self-assessment and Local Action Plan templates will also be available to allow services to use the core standards to measure themselves, identify priority areas and develop individual local action plans. 

See the Standards