Mental health service transitions for young people

Performance management, monitoring and evaluation

Audit and performance management processes help improve the planning of care and support for young people in transition.(21)

Working with the University of Leeds, the Mental Health Foundation and young people themselves, the 'Market Place', a Youth Access Information Advice and Counselling service, has developed its own self evaluation tool, called 'How do you rate your life at the moment?'  to measure progress in young people between the start and completion of a course of one to one support.


  • Follow-up and monitor outcomes after discharge from CAMHS, including those young people who don't transfer to AMHS.
  • Audit, review and evaluate your practice and service models and include young people, families and carers in the process.

National health policy and guidance from the DH and other central government departments emphasise the need for all services to monitor their performance, and a variety of outcomes frameworks and national-level indicators have been developed to support such activity. Throughout the cross-government mental health strategy, 'No health without mental health' (7) the importance attached to monitoring outcomes is a central theme. This is also reflected in the DHSSPS Service Framework for Mental Health and Wellbeing in Northern Ireland. (26)

Specifically in terms of young people in contact with mental health services, there are a number of assessment processes, planning systems and quality criteria that can be used to audit and evaluate service performance and staff practices. These include:

Things to consider

In developing audit and performance management processes to help improve the planning of care and support for young people in transition between or from mental health services, the learning from SCIE's research and the findings from the national CAMHS review (22) all provide valuable pointers.

In monitoring or auditing staff practice or service performance, it is also recommended that data is collected that:

Practice examples

  • In Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire an audit tool was used in all CAMHS teams to collect data on transitions practice with a sample of young people identified in January 2011 by clinical team managers as needing transfer. The results have been presented to teams and a clinical governance group. Following this, an action plan has been developed with the input of all stakeholders, which will be implemented in teams. A repeat audit will be carried out in due course.
  • In Coventry CAMHS improving the transition of young people is the subject of a CQUIN target. The monies allocated through the CQUIN have funded extra administrative time to track all 16-year-olds open to the specialist team and to provide some dedicated time to analyse the data concerning the pathways of young people from CAMHS and to facilitate their participation. CQUIN money has also allowed the trust to develop a transition training strategy.