Frequently asked questions

Take a look through our frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Bliss Baby Charter.

Baby Charter Charging FAQ

Digital Tool FAQs

Technical issue: Problems accessing the tool

Baby Charter Programme FAQ

What standards are mandatory?

Our mandatory standards are 1.1B (unlimited parental access to their baby), and 2.3 (psychosocial support). These standards must be rated green to achieve Baby Charter Accreditation.

What about if we have achieved Unicef’s Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI)?

If you have BFI accreditation, you will probably find it very easy to fill in and complete Principle 6 (Feeding) as you will have done a lot of work to improve your feeding practices already. However, the Baby Charter and the BFI are two separate programmes and we still need you to evidence you have appropriate feeding measures in place to meet the standards required for Baby Charter Accreditation.

I’m confused about psychosocial support, what do we need to provide the right support?

Psychosocial support (Standard 2.3) is one of the standards units have the most difficulty implementing to a green standard. We have developed a Psychosocial Support Guidance document to help units better understand what is expected regarding psychosocial support on neonatal ward. You can view this here, or there is a downloadable version of this at the bottom of this page. If you have paid for a Baby Charter Package, please do get in touch to discuss any issues you are having with your unit’s psychosocial support in more detail.

When will our unit become accredited?

When your unit has a RAG rating of 90% green or more across each of the seven principles, an assessment visit will be arranged.

You will be visited by Bliss representatives, healthcare professional assessors and a parent assessor. The assessment team will complete a tour of the unit, review relevant documentation and interview staff and parents.

Following the assessment visit there will be a panel meeting to decide if your unit are ready for accreditation.

I’m having trouble with a standard, how are other units meeting the requirements?

Have a look in our Best Practice Bank for great examples of work undertaken by other units pursuing Baby Charter Accreditation

We are only a small Level 1 unit, are we expected to provide the same level of care and facilities as a large Level 3 unit to become Baby Charter accredited?

The Baby Charter standards and guidance are the same for every unit no matter their size or level as they are based upon national standards for care that should be taking place in every unit for every baby. However, we recognise that every unit is different and working within their own unique environment, and therefore will have different requirements and priorities for the care they provide. This is something the Bliss team takes into consideration when reviewing audits and providing feedback, and we recognise that appropriately fulfilling a Baby Charter standard may vary considerably between units.

How does this fit with a family integrated model of care?

In order for true family integrated care to become embedded on a neonatal unit, the foundations of high-quality family-centred care must first be in place.

The Bliss Baby Charter acts as a precursor for family integrated care. It recommends a range of family-centred practices including, but not limited to:

  • Ensuring unrestricted parental access and involvement in daily cares.
  • Providing access to psychosocial support for parents and siblings.
  • Developing unit facilities to keep parents and their baby together.
  • Actively engaging parents in all of the decision-making processes for their baby.

How long does it take?

There is no set time period for completing the Bliss Baby Charter. Every unit is different and will implement their changes at a different rate. On average though it takes a unit two years from submitting their first audit to achieving Bliss accreditation.

How long do we stay accredited for?

The Bliss Baby Charter Accreditation is a huge achievement, recognising and celebrating the excellent quality of family-centered care taking place on your unit. However, accreditation is only valid for three years, after which point you will need to be re-accredited to ensure the work taking place on your unit is still meeting the high standards of the Baby Charter. If your unit has continued to deliver excellent practice and is re-accredited, you will receive your Platinum Accreditation!

The re-accreditation process is almost exactly the same as your initial accreditation process. The Baby Charter Team will get in touch approximately 6 months prior to your accreditation expiration to discuss whether you will be seeking Platinum Accreditation. If your unit decides to continue on to this stage, we will ask you to review and return your Baby Charter Audit to us again with any updates, changes, or improvements that have taken place on your unit over the previous 2.5 years.

The Team may have a few questions for you or ask for some more information before preparing for your unit assessment. This will be the same as your previous assessment, with Bliss staff and 6 volunteer assessors attending your unit for the day to view your facilities and to discuss your standards of practice. Should this assessment be successful, you will receive your Platinum Accreditation and be re-accredited as a Bliss Baby Charter Unit for a further three years.

Baby Charter Charging FAQ

What changes have you made to the Bliss Baby Charter?

  • We have created a new, digital tool to help units complete the Bliss Baby Charter. You can access this digital tool here.
  • We have updated the contents of the Bliss Baby Charter to reflect current best practice.
  • We have introduced suggested timescales to give an indication of how long it takes to complete the Baby Charter.
  • We have introduced different levels of award for each stage of the Baby Charter process.
  • The Baby Charter self-assessment is free to access but we have introduced a fee to cover the cost of external assessment and accreditation from Bliss.

Why have you made these changes?

Digital version of the Baby Charter

Over the years, as more units have started to work through the Baby Charter, we’ve seen how time consuming it can be to work with spreadsheets and attachments. Lots of units told us that it’s hard work to complete the process so we applied for a grant to create a digital tool to help units complete the Baby Charter.

An online version means Unit Leads can now spend more time working on delivering improvements to family centred care rather than working through complicated spreadsheets.

Updated Baby Charter content

Family-centred care has come a long way since the Baby Charter was first developed more than ten years ago, and it’s important that the Baby Charter reflects the latest and best practice. We recently updated the framework with the help of 15 health professionals and 2 parents. A handful of standards have been removed due to repetition and some standards have been reworded to better reflect current practice.

Introduction of a fee for the Bliss Baby Charter

The Baby Charter is a valuable tool for assessing and improving family-centred care which has been recognised by a number of bodies and within national standards across the UK.

Accreditation schemes like this usually have a paid element but the Baby Charter has been completely free for more than ten years. We have been delighted to see a big uptake in the Baby Charter, with 93% of units taking part, but it’s now necessary for Bliss to introduce a fee as the time required to review and assess audits has grown rapidly. Units that have progressed through the Baby Charter process – including our accredited units – tell us that the external support and independent assessment we provide is hugely valuable, and essential to the changes they have made on the unit; introducing a fee will help us maintain the quality of the service we offer to all units undertaking Baby Charter assessment and accreditation.

We have set our costs at the lowest level possible and our fee structure means you pay stage by stage, not all at once. Access to the Baby Charter framework and self-assessment will remain free of charge for all units. The fee simply covers the extra time and tailored support from Bliss in marking audits, providing feedback and support with improving practice, as well as assessments and accreditation.

How much does it cost?

You can find a full break down of the costs for the Baby Charter Programme on our How to Join page

Why are you introducing charging now?

As more units have taken up the Bliss Baby Charter in recent years, the cost for Bliss in providing staff time to support this has increased. While we have continued to offer this support for free so far, we are now at a point where the external economic environment – particularly the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our fundraising income – means we can no longer afford to do so.

However, we know changes can be inconvenient and take time to adjust to, so we’ve worked hard to ensure that units have sufficient time to plan for the introduction of this new fee. We have decided to do it from the start of the 2021-22 financial year both to coincide with several other improvements we’re making to the Baby Charter, and also to give units and networks time to build this in to their 2021/22 budgets.

We will be launching the new ‘refreshed’ Baby Charter content which has been updated to reflect the very best practice. We will also be launching a new, online version of the Baby Charter to make it easier and quicker for units to work towards accreditation. It will also make it easier to access the free self-assessment, which means those who can’t pay for support or external assessment straight away can still work on improving the family-centred care they provide.

When will these changes be introduced?

The new, online version of the Baby Charter, refreshed content and suggested timescales will be launched in January 2021. Fees will be introduced from April 2021, to coincide with the new financial year.

How are the fees calculated?

We have created a fee structure which corresponds with each step in the Baby Charter process and means you pay step by step, not all at once. And to keep the fee as low as possible, Bliss will still be covering some of the costs.

The fee applies when units require direct involvement from Bliss to review their self-assessment audit, arrange an in-person assessment and to become fully accredited or re-accredited.

All units will be asked to pay the same fee as the work involved to review the audit against the standards and provide tailored support is the same regardless of the size of unit. Units will not have to pay for any support, assessment or accreditation that they have already received as the fee will only be introduced when they are ready to move on to the next step in the process.

For a full breakdown of the fees please visit our page on How to Join the Baby Charter.

What if we can’t afford to pay for accreditation?

All units will be able to access the Baby Charter self-assessment tool free of charge. This is a great way to check how well your unit is implementing family-centred care and a good first step towards making improvements.

For those who wish to progress, we’ve kept our fee as low as possible and have created a structure whereby you pay step by step as you work through the Baby Charter, not all at once. Therefore, if a unit is part way through the Baby Charter audit, we will acknowledge the stage in the process already achieved, and the charge will begin from the stage of the process the unit is currently working towards. We hope this means the Baby Charter will be accessible to all units, but if you’re concerned please speak to us about what options may be available for your unit.

Why would we pay for accreditation and assessment if we can access the digital charter and self-assess for free?

Self-assessment is a great introductory step to check how far your unit has implemented family centred care. It will allow you to create a baseline for how you’re delivering against the standards which you can review and update as you make improvements. But without progressing through the Baby Charter you won’t be able to have your self-assessment independently reviewed and you can’t become accredited by doing the self-assessment alone.

Bliss’ independent assessment and accreditation enables you to tap into our knowledge as the experts behind the standards, as well as our experience of working with neonatal units of all sizes across the UK.

Bliss provides a non-clinical perspective and represents the voice of babies and families. We review practice on the neonatal unit with babies and parents front of mind and, during the later stages of the Baby Charter, with parents in person as part of our independent accreditation team. Our accredited units tell us that it’s invaluable to have this parent perspective to step back and identify where improvements can be made.

A big part of Bliss’ role in the Bliss Baby Charter is to be able to demonstrate the impact that family centred care is having on babies, hospitals and families. By having an independent assessment and working towards accreditation, we can help units measure the positive impact they’re having on babies and families. And we can celebrate best practice and share new ideas where and when we find them.

What if we do the self-assessment and it’s 90% green / it shows we’re already delivering high quality family-centred care? Why would we pay when we’re doing so well?

Self-assessment is a great way for you to check how well you’re delivering family centred care and to start making improvements. But you can’t become Bliss Baby Charter accredited without having an assessment from us even if you believe you are delivering excellent family centred care.

Bliss’ independent assessment enables you to have the results of your audit validated so that you know, definitively, how well you’re doing against the standards.

As the experts behind the standards we can verify your results or tell you what changes you can make to improve your practice. By comparing your practice to the practice taking place in units of a similar size, you can have confidence that the family centred care you’re providing is of a similar high standard.

From experience, we know that Bliss’ input always helps units to identify and implement areas for improvement, even when their first self-assessment has been very positive.

Why should we complete the Baby Charter when we’re focusing on FICare?

Family centred care forms the foundation of full Family Integrated Care (FICare) and it’s important to have family centred care properly embedded before taking the next step into FICare.

The Baby Charter provides a robust practical framework for assessing the care provided on neonatal units, which hasn’t yet been developed for FICare. By taking part in the Baby Charter, units can be sure they are delivering family centred care to a very high standard and they’re able to evidence the impact it’s making. It is the starting point for any unit hoping to progress to full Family Integrated Care.

Can I get my assessment booked/audit marked before charging begins?

Unfortunately, the deadline to submit audits before charging begins has now passed.

When will I be told what stage I am at and what payment would be expected?

When you log onto our new, online Baby Charter platform you will be able to see which stage of the process you are at. If and when payment is needed to progress to the next stage in the process, you will receive an email from Bliss explaining how it works. Don’t worry, you will never be charged without first having a conversation with us and agreeing to the payment.

Who should we get in touch with to organise/discuss assessment?

Contact the Baby Charter Project Lead to arrange an assessment. You can do this via email at babycharter@bliss.org.uk

What if our first assessment visit isn't successful?

The support we are able to provide as you work through each level of the baby charter accreditation is stated before you make payment. If you are not able to complete the level in the time suggested, or you do not progress through the standards as expected, we may need to request that you make an additional payment to cover the cost of additional travel or the time needed for additional support. Any such additional costs will be discussed with you on a case by case basis.

Digital Tool FAQs

How do I access the digital Baby Charter?

You can access the digital tool here.

Why can’t I submit my audit?

There are a number of reasons why you won't have the option submit your audit. This could be that you have not paid for any of the stages after self-audit, you haven't' completed all sections of the audit (there must be some evidence for each section, even if it's just to say you aren't currently meeting the standard), or you have outstanding actions to complete from previous feedback.

Can we get more than one login for our audit?

At the moment each unit has only one login, this will be the email you provided us with and the password you created. However, you can share those details with others in your team so multiple people can access and work on the tool. We recommend avoiding having multiple people logged into the tool at the same time though as this could confuse the system or overwrite some of your changes.

Why have some of the standards been removed or changed order?

In 2019 we ran a project to review the Bliss Baby Charter and update it in line with current standards, guidelines and practice. When we were awarded with funding to create the digital Baby Charter, we decided to launch the updated version on the new tool. The updated Baby Charter is very similar with some updates to wording and some standards removed due to repetition.

The standards removed are: 1.1F, 1.2D, 1.3B, 1.4D, 3.3E, 5.2H, 6.2B. 7.1D and 7.1E.

We have also altered the order of some standards including 5.1G-I.

Why is my audit not saving?

Please ensure that you click either the ‘save and continue’ or ‘save and go back’ buttons that are at the bottom of each page of standards. The Digital Baby Charter will not save your work automatically.

Technical issue: Problems accessing the tool

The Bliss Baby Charter tool is designed to best work within Google Chrome web browser. It is compatible with Microsoft Edge, Safari and Firefox however for a better experience please use Google Chrome.

If you have any problems such as accessing or saving your audit. We recommend following the steps before contacting us.

  1. Use the latest version of Google Chrome
  2. Run incognito mode
  3. Try using another computer

Use the latest version of Google Chrome.

We recommend all users to use the latest version of Google Chrome when accessing the tool. Please make sure you have the latest version installed.

If you’re unable to install the browser please contact your IT department for their assistance. Alternatively, you can visit the Google Chrome installation page.

Run incognito mode

There may be a plugin or a problem with your web browser. We would recommend you try accessing the tool via an incognito window.

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click on the three dots and select New Incognito Window.
  3. A new window appears. In the top corner, check for the Incognito icon.

Try using another computer

In order to identify if the problem is related to your computer. We would recommend if possible trying another computer to access the Bliss Baby Charter tool.

For further support regarding the Bliss Baby Charter audit tool please contact us

2.3 Psychosocial Support Guidance