We get a large number of inquiries regarding the Care Certificate, so thought we’d put all our responses together in one place to help everyone interested. There’s clearly some confusion surrounding the subject, so we’ve tried to make this guide (mostly) jargon-free.
The Care Certificate is a set standard for health and social care workers produced with the aim of standardising introductory skills, knowledge and behaviours. The goal is to ensure compassionate, safe and high-quality care. More information can be found here.
There are 15 standards:
Each standard has associated learning outcomes and assessment criteria.
The 2013 Cavendish Review found that preparation of healthcare assistants and social care support workers for their roles providing care was inconsistent. The report recommended the development of a Certificate of Fundamental Care – the “Care Certificate”.
The Care Certificate is not recognised as a qualification but it can be counted towards gaining a Qualifications and Curriculum Framework (QCF) award. For this, your employer would be required to use qualified assessors, although this isn’t a prerequisite for the Care Certificate alone.
It is awarded by the employer on completion of both the skills and knowledge aspects of the 15 standards. Employers can award their own certificate with templates available here.
The Care Certificate is for new staff as part of an induction. This primary audience is Healthcare Support Workers or Adult Social Care Workers. These fields consist of Health Care Assistants, Assistant Practitioners, Care Support Workers and those giving support to clinical roles in the NHS where there is any direct contact with patients. “Care Support Workers” includes the following:
Other social care roles include:
The isn’t mandatory per se, but there is still a requirement. The Care Quality Commission will look to ensure that whatever the organization is doing with its training that covers the requirements of the Care Certificate.
Ideally, someone would aim to achieve the Care Certificate when they first start work as a Healthcare Support Workers or Adult Social Care Worker. There is no fixed time for when someone should achieve the certificate. However on average, it takes 12 weeks to achieve the Certificate full-time staff, so starting sooner rather than later is recommended.
No, the certificate is designed to be portable. If you change jobs or take on a new employee, or if they have completed the Care Certificate elsewhere, you do not need to achieve the Certificate again. Employers are expected to help staff retain their knowledge and competencies.
No – The Certificate might cover some parts of an existing induction, but all organisations will have particular needs that the Care Certificate will not cover.
The average time taken for a new employee to demonstrate the expected competencies and knowledge is 12 weeks. This may vary according to the training needs of each individual and the resources available to employers.
It depends on their experience levels. Providers of health and social care have a legal duty to assess the training needs of all staff new to their organisation; this applies to the agency, bank or directly recruited health and social care assistants. This assessment may indicate that a new member of staff needs to receive training in all, some or none of the care certificate standards before providing care unsupervised.
The Care Certificate means that every support worker, irrespective of where they’re working should have a common standard of initial training. If you’re working in an orthopaedic ward as your first job, then you’ll have done the same minimum training as somebody working in a learning disability care home. The learning that the worker does as part of the rest of their induction sits on top of the Care Certificate.
It ensures that a support worker’s career starts off with the right foundations for learning and development. The Care Certificate aims to standardize that beginning part of the journey. More than this the Certificate aims to make people feel valued.
There is a longitudinal study being undertaken that will look at the longer-term impacts, whether it’s increased retention of support workers, whether it’s support workers progressing into more advanced learning like the apprenticeships at level two or level three, and just whether generally people feel more satisfied with their job and field. That they are better prepared for the jobs that they are being employed to do.
Employers are responsible for assuring the quality of the teaching and assessment of the Care Certificate.
All health and social care providers must provide people with information about how to make comments and/or complaints about any aspect of care. More information about how to complain is available on the Care Quality Commission website.
The assessor can be anybody who is competent both in the skills and the knowledge of the competencies is being assessed, but also, there’s an expectation that the person will have had some training in being an assessor. There are no specific qualifications required for this as it varies from employer to employer. Download the Care Certificate assessor framework here.
Being an assessor isn’t something that anybody should take lightly. It’s a serious thing. You’re making a decision on whether somebody is competent and therefore in this particular. Download the Care Certificate assessor framework here.
No – Employers may use a training provider to deliver the teaching, learning, and provider may provide some assessments. Ultimately though, it is the employer who awards the Care Certificate, because only the employer can assess work-based competency.
No – No provider has been ‘licenced’ or ‘accredited’ to award the Care Certificate.
No – It’s best to see the Care Certificate as a combined demonstration of Skills and Knowledge. eLearning will help with the knowledge aspect, but competencies still need to be demonstrated in the workplace. See our article on Care Certificate eLearning here.
If you’ve been working for a number of years, it’s expected that you should already have the competencies and knowledge that’s outlined. This should, therefore, fast track your completion of the Certificate, as the employer may be able to easily record a demonstration of competencies in the workplace.
Most certainly, there are a number of free materials and workbooks available here. The workbooks have recently been updated based on user feedback. Find more Care Certificate downloads here.
If you still have questions after reading this, let us know and we’ll add them to the list!
You can search for Care Certificate eLearning courses here – all of which will help you ensure the health and safety of your patients and peers.
This post was last modified on 29 March 2021
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