4. Service Level Agreement

Do you know your capacity and demand?

Do your commissioners understand the above?

Have you agreed the above with your commissioners in a written Service Level Agreement?

Does your SLA have contingency plans for when demand and capacity become unbalanced e.g. due to increased referrals or cuts to the service?

Agree what and how much you do.


Ensures demand and capacity in your service match. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) sets your demand with arrangements if the demand is exceeded.

Ideas for Action

  • Calculate your demand and capacity and agree the balance with commissioners. You may need to do this for the overall service and for any problems that need specialised skills e.g. how many young people with anorexia nervosa can you see and treat?
  • Avoid block agreements that leave the service vulnerable to maintain activity even if staffing reduces. Define what is possible and what you have agreed to do and not do.

Demand and capacity are defined in the section on Demand and Capacity.

5. Strategy

Has a local CAMHS Needs Assessment been undertaken?

Do you and your commissioners have a written CAMHS strategy?

Were you involved in the development?

Does the strategy include Tiers 1 to 4 CAMHS?

Does the Strategy give clear direction for service development and how new monies will be spent?

Agree a vision


A strategy for CAMHS needs to consider all the Tiers and partner agencies that see young people with mental health problems. Specialist CAMHS development must dovetail with this wider strategy. Local needs assessment must be undertaken.

Ideas for Action

  • Ask your commissioners to develop a Strategy for CAMHS for the next 2 to 5 years.
  • Ensure that you are involved.