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Library Quality Assurance Framework


What is the LQAF?

The current version of the NHS Library Quality Assurance Framework (LQAF) England is version 2.3a dated April 2016 which includes revisions to two criteria: 1.3c (impact) and 5.3l (patient and public information).

It is a tool to enable a robust quality assessment of NHS library/knowledge services. The LQAF was first issued in April 2010 (minor revision June 2010). A major revision of the library quality process is currently underway as part of the Knowledge for Healthcare work programme.

The LQAF is designed so that an organisation can assess its level of compliance to national standards and demonstrate the fitness for purpose that our 21st century health system demands.

It provides a clear focus for action planning across all NHS organisations, driving forward a quality improvement plan, offering clarity of direction for service managers and transparency of development to meet business and client need.

The LQAF was developed by a Task and Finish group consisting of LKS Leads and library/knowledge service managers.

What does the LQAF assess?

The standards within the LQAF are set in 5 domains:

Domain 1

Strategic Management

Domain 2

Finance and Service Level Agreements

Domain 3

Human Resources and Staff Management

Domain 4

Infrastructure and Facilities

Domain 5

Library/Knowledge Services Service Delivery and Development (includes revised knowledge management criterion for 2014)

Each domain in the NHS Library Quality Assurance Framework (LQAF) England addresses an area of work, or activity, carried out by the library/knowledge service and each is made up of statements of criteria for assessment.

How will it be used to assess library/knowledge services?

There is a long and established history of the quality assessment of NHS library/knowledge services. Assessment against the criteria of the standards within the LQAF will enable each library/knowledge service to identify any gaps in their service management and provision so that these requirements can be built into their business and service planning.

During 2017 LKS Leads have agreed to focus on 5 LQAF criteria relating to the Knowledge for Healthcare programme. NHS library/knowledge services will be asked to complete a Self Assessment as usual but will supply evidence for these 5 core criteria.

A guidance document with further details is available here.

UPDATED 11th January 2017

The self-assessment will use the Standards Assessment Tool (an Excel spreadsheet).  Here are the two versions of the SAT - one with embedded guidance and the other without. Both allow you to run a mcros so you can do a spellcheck on the contents.

Please note: information can only be entered in blue cells. The grey cells are protected because they have the guidance in them. White and mauve cells are also protected.
If you see a message about the cell being protected and requesting a password then you are trying to enter something in the wrong coloured cell.

Innovations - 11th January 2017

We will be judging innovation submissions for awards again in 2017. However the documentation and submission process will differ from previous arrangements and will be advertised as soon as possible.

For further information on the specifics of LQAF in your HEE area contact your local LKS Lead.

Tools for Self-Assessment

We have produced LQAF 2017 Excel SAT Guidance which explains how to fill in the Excel spreadsheet and how to embed the evidence in to the SAT.

N.B. Some HEE LKS Leads will have produced their own local documents for the self-assessment such as the NW ones which will supersede this guidance document.
If in doubt please speak to your LKS Lead.

We have also created a namespace at www.libraryservices.nhs.uk/wiki/LQAF.MainPage.ashx It is designed to provide updates to sections of the LQAF criteria guidance such as "Definitions", "Additional tops, tools, templates or reference" particularly where links have been provided to Internet sites. All the links were checked and updated in April 2015.

We encourage you to make suggestions for additions to the guidance or if you spot a link that is broken then please go to the relevant criteria  and add a comment to the "Discuss this" feature on the relevant page.
Alternatively you can send an email to

Page Updated 11th January 2017