The Care Certificate was launched in April 2015. At the time and since, it has been subject to many myths and misconceptions. What is the Care Certificate? What do your staff need to do to be able to complete it?
What is the Care Certificate?
The Care Certificate is a set of 15 standards that care workers should follow in order to do their job successfully and provide a good level of care. It was developed together by Health Education England, Skills for Care and Skills for Health and based on the requirements of the Cavendish Review. It replaced the Common Induction Standards and National Minimum Training Standards, its direct precursors.
The Care Certificate is fairly similar to the Common Induction Standards in a number of ways, but included new standards that recognised the modern challenges in the health and social care sector, such as mental health issues and dementia (Standard 9), safeguarding (Standards 10 and 11) and information privacy and governance (Standard 14).
Who need to do the Care Certificate?
Any new health and social care workers from April 2015 were required to ‘do’ the Care Certificate. If you use agency, bank or temporary staff, it is up to you to determine whether they have training suitable to perform their role.
If you have hired someone who claims they have undertaken training in the standards with a previous employer, then you should still take steps to verify their claims and assess their competence in the workplace.
Is it mandatory?
Technically, the Care Certificate is not mandatory. Although it was widely expected pre-April 2015 that this would be the case, Skills for Care confirmed in 2015 that the Care Certificate had no statutory power behind it.
In their own words, however, “the Care Quality Commission will expect that appropriate staff who are new to services which they regulate will achieve the competences required by the Care Certificate as part of their induction”.
In practice, this means that the Care Certificate is effectively mandatory, or at the very least expected best practice for care providers. The CQC actively look for evidence that:
- The Care Certificate forms part of the staff induction process, or if not, a suitable alternative is used;
- Staff know the standards and that they have been trained in them and assessment against them;
- The provider is actively assessing against the competencies in the Care Certificate.
The CQC use the Care Certificate as a baseline because that is precisely what it was intended to be, to apply to both regulated and non-regulated workforces. Assessing against the Care Certificate help ensure a minimum standard of care for everyone.
Is there a time limit?
Another myth perpetuated at the time of launch was that Certificate had to be completed within 12 weeks of induction. This belief actually originated from Skills for Care’s own pilot project that showed that 12 weeks was the approximate time it would take someone to demonstrate the competencies and knowledge. Again, technically, there is no time-limit. All the CQC need to see is that it forms part of the “induction process”.
What do staff need to do to complete the Care Certificate?
‘Completing’ the Care Certificate is not as easy as sending staff on a training course. That is because it requires a joint-effort on behalf of both the care worker and the employer. Care workers must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the Care Certificate, but the employer must assess this is their everyday work.
Many providers use a combination of methods to help new staff understand the Care Certificate. Classroom-based training, distance learning or e-learning can help with many of the more theory-based standards, although distance learning or e-learning alone is likely to be insufficient for Standard 12: Basic Life Support. The assessor should then look for examples in their everyday work that they are actively applying the standards, or, if such situations do not present themselves, create scenarios to help them demonstrate their knowledge and skills.
What resources are there to help?
Skills for Care and Skills for Health have produced a number of free resources, including guidance on all standard, a self-assessment tool, and free e-learning.
Advantage have also developed a distance learning package designed to meet the needs of both staff and employers, including assessment sheets and easy-to-follow knowledge guides. Click here to find out more.