Have a look over our suggested timescales to get an indication of how long it takes to complete the Baby Charter.

The Bliss Baby Charter audit and assessment programme is outlined below. There are several stages within the programme leading to Bliss Baby Charter accreditation and the staff at Bliss are available to support you through your Baby Charter journey. At the bottom of this page you will also find some useful hints and tips for RAG rating, what to include as evidence in your audit and establishing an action plan.

Audit and assessment

1. Self-audit

The Bliss Baby Charter is a tool for you to analyse your unit’s progress and identify areas for improvement. The Baby Charter audit tool is freely available for every unit to use for self-assessment. Bliss are unable to provide feedback or recommendations for your audit at this stage.

2. First audit

The first audit will provide you with your unit’s baseline. It is an opportunity for you to identify where family centred care principles are working well and where there are gaps to be reviewed. Complete this first audit honestly so that we can support you to make changes and improvements throughout the process.

Use the information below to accurately RAG rate each standard, provide evidence for each standard and develop an action plan for standards that need some work. If, on review, Bliss staff disagree with your choice of RAG rating we may highlight this in your feedback and select the rating we think is most appropriate based on your evidence.


After submitting your first audit, we will provide feedback and suggestions to support the implementation of your unit’s action plan.

Every unit also receives a pledge of improvement certificate following completion of the first audit. This is to display on your unit and share your staff’s commitment to delivering high quality family-centred care.

3. Re-audit

When the action plans have been implemented successfully please re-audit. This audit should include additional information that was missed and any changes and improvements that have been implemented since your last audit.

Once you have submitted your second audit, we will provide further feedback and confirm whether the unit is ready for assessment. Your unit will also receive a Bronze Award certificate to recognise the changes that have been made on your unit to improve the delivery of excellent family centred care.

4. Re-audit and pre-assessment

It may be necessary to repeat the audit update and re-submit a number of times before your unit is ready to be assessed. This is the case for most units, so don’t be disheartened by this.

Your neonatal unit will be assessed by us when your audit indicates a RAG rating of 90% green in each principle. Your psychosocial support evidence will also be independently reviewed by our team of experts and they must deem your support acceptable before assessment, as this is one of our mandatory standards. We will then organise a pre-assessment visit to your unit by a member of the Bliss team. This visit will last approximately 2 hours and provides an opportunity for us to see your unit and further understand the practices in place as described in your audit. If we have no further questions following this visit, your unit will receive a Silver Award certificate, acknowledging your brilliant family centred care practices and policies.

5. Assessment and accreditation

The full assessment day will be arranged based on the feedback from the pre-assessment visit. You will receive support from us regarding how to prepare for your assessment day and what to expect once a date has been confirmed.

Following the assessment, your unit will be informed if you will be awarded Bliss Baby Charter Gold Accreditation. A neonatal unit is accredited if it has demonstrated (through the audit and assessment day) that there are sufficient processes and facilities in place to deliver high quality family-centred care. A unit may receive accreditation straight away, require some small changes before accreditation, or require re-assessment.

Progress and development

Once accreditation has been achieved, the award is valid for three years. However, the audit tool will remain available for you to review. We recommend that units refer to the audit tool regularly to ensure that changes are sustained, and high-quality family-centred care processes are maintained. Once a unit is accredited, we will make recommendations regarding any further changes to be implemented during the three-year accreditation period, and ask units to update us on progress annually.


Two and a half years after accreditation, we will provide your unit with a new audit to complete, with access to your original for reference. You can then update this audit with any changes or further information before the re-assessment takes place. Upon successful re-assessment, your unit will receive Bliss Baby Charter Platinum Accreditation, valid for a further three years.

Useful information

Self-assessment ratings

The self-assessment method is a simple ‘RAG’ (Red, Amber, Green) approach. Depending on your current systems and processes you will either rate your unit as green, amber or red against each of the standards.

GREEN - Fully delivering against all aspects of the criteria.

AMBER - Delivering some or most of the aspects required, but not all.

RED - Delivering none or very few of the aspects required to fulfil that criterion.

If a standard is self-assessed as green, you will need to provide evidence to support this in the relevant section on the Bliss Baby Charter audit spreadsheet.

If self-assessed as amber or red, we recommend you explain why and make a note of what action(s) you plan to take to improve your rating to green.


To help, within each standard we have provided suggestions of what you could include as evidence. Please note that the evidence examples listed do not exist as an exhaustive list, but only as a starting point, feel free to include anything you think may be helpful. Additionally, we do not expect each unit to have every suggestion mentioned in place.

Action plan

We recommend that you develop an action plan to address the standards that have been rated as red or amber. The team working on the audit should set realistic and time bound goals to improve this rating. This plan should outline the changes you would like to make to improve the delivery of family-centred care on your unit in those particular areas. We have created a template action plan which you may find useful, but you are very welcome to create your own.

Contact us

If you have any queries, please contact us and a member of the Baby Charter team will be in touch.
Contact us