HISTORY OF HaSCAF

UKAF was founded in June 1998 by a group of healthcare accreditation organisations, including national, regional, generic and specialty programmes.  It changed its name to HaSCAF (Health and Social Care Accreditation Forum) in 2012. The aim of the Health and Social Care Accreditation Forum is to provide an effective network of organisations which operate or have a practical interest in developing standards-based assessment and accreditation programmes in healthcare.

The group is self-funding through annual organisational membership subscriptions and meets quarterly in London.  Meetings involve discussion of current healthcare quality issues, presentations from representatives of the Department of Health, Healthcare Commission and other national, international and local schemes. In addition, there is in-depth discussion on technical aspects of accreditation programmes such as standards development methodology, training of peer reviewers, utilisation of scoring systems in the making of accreditation awards and so forth.  The mapping of accreditation and similar programmes in Europe had begun during the EU research project on External Peer Review Techniques (ExPeRT) in 1997. A profile of voluntary UK programmes was published as a promotional brochure and circulated to the Department of Health (DH), Royal Colleges and chief executives in the NHS in 1999, with little evident effect on uptake.

Most of the 30 UK programmes have entered the Forum at some time; about half have remained active subscribing members. These programmes are more established in the independent sector, with increasing uptake from public service providers.