A comparative review of international monitoring mechanisms for mental health legislation

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


In October 2012 CQC commissioned some research from Bristol University to inform our thinking on how we monitor the use of the Mental Health Act and fulfil our responsibilities under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

One of our priorities for the next three years is to strengthen how we deliver our responsibilities in terms of mental health and mental capacity. We commissioned this research to understand the experiences of other countries in monitoring their mental health legislation, and enable us to move forward with the development of this function according to an international evidence base and knowledge about best practice.

The research brief asked the researchers to examine aspects of the monitoring arrangements in place in a number of liberal, democratic countries comparable to England. New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Ireland and other UK jurisdictions were chosen by the authors for the purposes of this review.

Three main areas were considered:
The methodology of the visits or inspections
The process for feeding back the information from visits and how this is integrated with the complaints process
How organisations evaluate their effectiveness and the impact of monitoring.

Some of the findings from the research that have been particularly helpful include:
The confirmation that there is nowhere else in the world that has a ‘ready to use’ product that is directly comparable or relevant to our legislative framework and monitoring responsibilities.
The importance of visiting to understanding patients’ experience from their own perspective.
The support for a collaborative approach with providers wherever possible.
The different methods used for gathering the views and experiences of relatives and carers.

The research findings are in two parts. The first part discusses relevant themes emerging from the study while the second proposes a number of recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCare Quality Commission
Commissioning bodyCare Quality Commission
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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