Project 100: National Standards of Peer Support

As part of project 100 Positively UK will develop National Standards of HIV Peer Support, which will define the aims, outcomes and methods of peer support, as well as core competencies and skills for peer workers and volunteers


The National Standards will be a key resource which will be adopted nationally by commissioners, those providing peer support and by people living with HIV, and will provide clear criteria around effective peer support


Peer Support is now recognised as one of the essential support areas for people living with HIV within existing frameworks:

Peer support is now offered by a range of agencies and this support varies with small group meetings with no formal structure or training of group leaders, to accredited models of peer mentoring.


In establishing National Standards of Peer Support we will provide:

  • People living with HIV with standards of care they can expect to be commissioned and to receive from support agencies
  • Commissioners of services a framework of the types and levels of peer support and resources required
  • Service providers a framework to establish the remit, quality and outcomes of their peer-support services

The standards will address the following:

  1. Principles and Values of Peer Support
  2. Role of Peer Support with psychological and clinical frameworks
  3. Peer Support Types and Interventions (e.g. face-to-face; online, group; mentoring)
  4. Levels of Peer Support
  5. Assessment and Objectives of Peer Support
  6. Outcome Framework
  7. Core competencies Support and Professional Development


A Steering Group has been established to guide the formation of the standards. To ensure the standards are peer-led, the Steering Group consists of 50% people living with HIV, representing a diversity of ages, backgrounds and regional representation. The group will be chaired by Silvia Petretti, currently Chair of UK-CAB, Deputy CEO of Positively UK and a person living with HIV.

The Steering Group includes representatives of professional bodies, some of whom may also be livng with HIV, representing the following:

  • Voluntary sector agencies – including Positively UK, LASS and George House Trust who currently delivery peer support
  • BHIVA – to ensure Standards complement and integrate with the Standards of Psychological Support for Adults Living with HIV
  • NHIVNA – whose members work closely with peer support teams and will be fundamental to establishing peer support within clinical settings
  • CHIVA – to ensure standards address peer support needs of children and young people
  • Clinical Psychologist – to ensure Standards complement and integrate with the Standards of Psychological Support for Adults Living with HIV
  • Sexual Health/HIV Commissioner – to ensure standards are relevant to the commissioning process

The development of the standards is also supported by an external consultant, Elisabeth Craer. Elisabeth will manage the process of consultation and composing standards.


Once a first draft of the standards has been developed it will go out for consultation with the wider community of people living with HIV and those providing and using peer support services. This happened in 2016.


The proposed Standards of Peer Support already have the support and endorsement of:

  • HIV voluntary sector agencies including GHT, LASS, Positive East, NAZ Project London, CARA, Herts AID, HIV Scotland
  • Clinical groups of the British HIV Association, Children’s HIV Association, National HIV Association of Nurses, MedFash

We are also seeking endorsement from the British Psychological Society, Royal College of General Practitioners and Royal College of Nursing.


We aim to launch the National Peer Support Standards in May 2016 with events in London and Manchester.

The Standards will also be distributed to:

  • Chief Executives of HIV Support Charities
  • Commissioners at Local Authorities across the UK
  • Local Healthwatch across the UK
  • Healthcare practitioners at BHIVA, NHIVNA and CHIVA
  • People living with HIV through delivery organisations and events such as the biennial National Conference of People Living with HIV in September 2015
  • Available to download via the National Peer Support Standards website

The standards will be reviewed in 2018 to ensure they remain relevant and applicable.


If you would like to know more about the National Standards and/or are interested to participate in the consultation events please contact Silvia Petretti on:

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