The clock is ticking, April is fast approaching and with it the anticipation of Spring, Easter holidays, chocolate bunnies and, of course, the upcoming changes affecting our sector! One of the key developments being the introduction of the Care Certificate.

The development of a certificate of care was one of the recommendations from the Cavendish review following the Francis Inquiry into failings at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and other hospitals. The aim being to help standardise and embed the skills, knowledge and values new Support Workers need when entering care.

I went to the Health Education East Midlands launch of the Care Certificate at Loughborough University a few days ago. As we entered the auditorium we were given a voting keypad – very ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ I thought. However, no Chris Tarrant and no money to be won, we were all just playing for pride. A particular answer to one question surprised me – we were asked to vote on how much we knew about the Care Certificate: (a) A lot, (b) Some, (c) A little, (d) What’s the Care Certificate? 4% answered D. Really?! I hoped this was a tongue in cheek response from the same 4% who claimed in an earlier question that they had arrived by tractor.

But, let’s not take it for granted… on a more serious note, what do you know? And what do you need to know?

  • The 15 standards of the Care Certificate build on, and will replace what was the Common Induction Standards and National Minimum Training Standards.
  • All Health and Social Care workers new to care need to complete it. It is not mandated in law but is an expectation in order to meet the essential standards set by CQC (Reg. 18 and Reg.19)
  • It is designed so new staff can be assessed against knowledge AND competence, by existing staff who are deemed occupationally competent. However, it remains the responsibility of the manager to sign off and award the Certificate (the certificate can be downloaded from the Skills for Care website).
  • The Care Certificate is portable, and, so once it’s achieved, there is no requirement for it to be done repeatedly as people move to new employers. New employers will, however, need to be confident of the person’s competence.
  • The Care Certificate is to be introduced on 1st April. However, the official unofficial line from Skills for Care is that there is an allowable period of time for providers to fully transition to the Certificate from the Common Induction Standards (a few months being mentioned). However, providers will be expected to be able to show CQC Inspectors evidence indicating timeframes of when it will be fully adopted if they haven’t done so. The advice is to start adhering to the Care Certificate sooner rather than later.

During the launch day I was also very encouraged to hear providers from both Social Care and Health debate enthusiastically both its merits and its challenges. The representatives from the original pilot sites spoke of the benefits – a reduction in turnover of new staff, a sense of purpose for new starters, ‘assessors’ acting as mentors to help nurture new team members, etc. Whilst the challenges raised were centred around implementation and the quality assurance side of things.

So, as the clock ticks and the countdown draws to an end, it’s clear there is still plenty of preparatory work going on, with learning materials and guidance notes being developed – keep your eye on the Skills for Care website for updates and local events.

Here at ARC wheels are also in motion and we’re currently updating our ‘Getting Started’ distance learning package and planning Care Certificate Awareness sessions for Managers and ‘Trainers’ – we will be announcing dates  shortly. In the meantime, if you want to know more about what we are doing, please give me a shout on lisa.lenton@arcuk.org.uk or  ring 01246 541676.

Lisa Lenton
Learning and Development Manager