What does a good IMHA service look like?


Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) is an important source of independent support and information for people subject to compulsion under the Mental Health Act 1983. Since it was introduced in 2009, the quality of IMHA provision has been measured in a number of ways: the Quality Performance Mark (1) and ‘The right to be heard: Review of Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) services in England’ (2) both highlight factors which influence the quality of IMHA.

This self-assessment tool has been created to help IMHA providers and commissioners understand what a good IMHA service looks like. It enables IMHA providers to self-assess their service within a clear quality framework.

Ten key messages for quality IMHA services

Quality indicators

The following ten indicators can be used as a guiding framework to promote quality IMHA services. Each indicator is set out below with suggested evidence sources for self-assessment. IMHA providers can use the third column to rate themselves using red, amber and green traffic lights. (Red means the service is not meeting the indicator, amber means attention required, green means all is well.)

Completing the self-assessment


All SCIE resources are free to download, however to access the following download you will need a free MySCIE account:

Available downloads:

  • Download: What does a good IMHA service look like? (Self-assessment tool)


  1. Originally developed by Action for Advocacy, the QPM is now delivered by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi).
  2. Commissioned by the DH, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) published national research into the quality of IMHA provision including Quality Indicators.