26th Sep, 2016

How to Implement the Care Certificate in Your Organisation

A frequent question we get asked is "How do I implement the Care Certificate in my organisation?" The first thing to understand is that this is not an accreditation at organisational or individual level (like Investors in People for example). Instead it, is a set of standards that all new support workers need to go through as part of their induction. Once the individual has demonstrated the required skills, they can be awarded the Care Certificate by a competent assessor.

So how do you actually go about implementing the Care Certificate?

How to implement the care certificate - who

1) Identify Staff Who Need The Care Certificate

This primary audience is Healthcare Support Workers or Social Care Workers. These fields consist of Health Care Assistants, Assistant Practitioners, Care Support Workers and those giving support to clinical roles in health where there is any direct contact with patients. For a full list see our jargon free guide to the Care Certificate.

The certificate is for new staff or existing staff who have not been through the certificate. The certificate's 15 standards might cover some parts of an existing induction, but all organisations will have particular needs that the Care Certificate will not cover. Therefore you'll need to fit the Care Certificate around any existing induction. If staff have existing qualifications, you can use the mapping documents to agree how any prior learning meets the Care Certificate standards.

Once you have identified your staff who need the Care Certificate, you need to ensure you have a competent assessor in place.

How to implement the care certificate - Assessors

2) Ensure You Have Competent Assessors

To award the Care Certificate, you need to ensure you have a competent assessor/ assessors within your organisation, or access to someone who can perform the role for you.

The assessor can be anybody who is proficient both in the skills and the knowledge of the competencies being assessed, but there is also an expectation that the person will have had some training in being an assessor. Here are some example roles of assessors:

  • All occupationally competent registered professionals (i.e. Matrons, Specialist Nurses Physiotherapists, OT’s, Doctors).
  • Established experienced support workers in the future who have received training to assess in practice.
  • Need for Lead Assessor and Co-Assessors (similar format to Student Nurse Assessment)

Do you need training?

If your proposed assessor is not confident in their understanding of the Care Certificate standards, or has never assessed before, then you might consider further training. There are no specific qualifications required to be an assessor it varies from employer to employer, but further training can ensure consistent standards of assessment regionally and nationally.

The National Skills Academy for Health offer Care Certificate Assessor Training.

You can outsource the supervisory aspect of assessment, but it is ultimately the employer's responsibility to verify the achievement of standards and ultimately award the Care Certificate.

Support Your Assessors

To support your assessors, it is recommended that you protect time that they are able to set aside for their Care Certificate assessment work. Secondly, ensure that shifts can be arranged so that assessors are working alongside their Care Certificate learners, with a recommended minimum of three hours supervision time per week.

Standardise Your Assessors

Some employers may choose to introduce a system of standardisation where different assessors come together to review the evidence they have used to make a judgement and compare quality and come to a common understanding of what is sufficient.


3) The Documents Your Assessors Need

The following documents will help your assessors with their preparation and judgement:

  • Care Certificate Assessor Framework - This is a comprehensive document that will provide you and your assessor with the background they need for the Care Certificate standards and how to assess them.
  • Hints and tips - This document provides further guidance and tips on how to assess the Certificate.

You'll also need to ensure the assessor is familiar with the assessment documents that the learner will be using to record their progress (see below). Ultimately it is the learner's responsibility to record and keep track of assessments, but the assessor is the final signature of achievement.


How to implement the care certificate - assessments

4) Decide How You Will Assess The Care Certificate In Your Organisation

The Care Certificate is a combined demonstration of:

  1. Skills/ Practice
  2. Knowledge/ Theory

Learners therefore need to be assessed on their theoretical knowledge and their practical demonstration of the standards.

1) How you can assess workplace practice of the standards:

How and when you assess the skills demonstration of the 15 standards is entirely up to you. The assessment must be observed in the workplace as part of normal work duties rather than an artificial situation.

2) How you can assess the knowledge of the standards:

You have a lot of flexibility when it comes to assessing the knowledge aspect of the 15 standards.

  • The Care Certificate workbooks - A free resource that covers the knowledge aspects of the certificate. They allow the learning to take a self-guided route through the standards with the support of their team and assessors. The completed workbooks can be presented as evidence for the assessors consideration.
  • The NSA's Learner Assessment Toolkit - This all in one pack contains the information required for both theory and practice assessments.
  • Group exercises or 1:1 discussions - Provided such activities can be witnessed and signed off by the assessor, these less formal learning routes can be used as evidence for assessment.
  • Formal training such face to face, blended or eLearning - Provided an assessment takes place, formal learning is an acceptable way to train and assess your learners in the knowledge component of Care Certificate standards.

How you assess the knowledge aspects of the Care Certificate in your organisation depends on your circumstances. The most cost effective route is to use the workbooks supplemented with support from assessors. The quickest/ least time intensive route is to use formal learning such as eLearning to assess the knowledge aspect.

Recording progress:

The learner will be responsible for recording their progress. They can use the following templates to record progress throughout:

These templates can be adapted for your organisations are just a guide.

How to implement the care certificate - plan

5) Make a Plan for Your Assessors & Learners

You will need to make a plan for embedding the Care Certificate in your organisation once you have identified the right assessors, learners and assessment method for you.

It is suggested that the Care Certificate should take around 12 weeks to complete, but this will vary by organisation.

  1. Introduce the Care Certificate to your organisation and immidiate team. Discuss how it will be assessed.
  2. If required, promote the care certificate within your organisation to raise it's profile. There are various posters and leaflets available here.
  3. Match up your learner cohorts with an assessor - ensure they follow the same shift pattern where possible. Aim for a minimum of three hours supervised time per week.
  4. Arrange initial, mid point (6 weeks) and final discussions between learners and assessors, with informal feedback in between.
  5. Book formal training or set aside time for in-house sessions such as 1-1 learning or group discussions.
  6. Complete initial, mid and final sessions between learner and assessor. The initial session is a good opportunity for the learner to assess prior knowledge with assessors. The self assessment documents can be a useful way to start proceedings, while the Care Certificate Game can be a fun way to provoke discussions throughout the process. Each session should review progress, identify actions and allow for trouble shooting.
  7. Print and sign the Care Certificate for the learner.
  8. Discuss the process with your assessors, agree any steps to improve the program for your next cohort. Look at standardisation of assessments
  9. Update the Electronic Staff Record/ OLM for health organisations.

How to implement the care certificate - award

6) Award the Care Certificate

Provided you have kept to a schedule of update meetings, there should be no major surprises come the end of the typical 12 week period. Once you are happy that the individual has demonstrated the knowledge and skills required by the Care Certificate standards, you can print off and sign their certificate.

The final session is also an opportunity to review progress with the learner and identify further development and career aspirations.

7) Summary

The Care Certificate can be confusing at first, but careful planning at the beginning will ensure that the process is smooth going forward. Awarding and assessing the Care Certificate with the right processes will not only help to enhance the standards of care in your organisation, but the health and care sector as a whole.

Useful links:

Post last updated on 26/09/2016