Read answers to frequently asked questions about the forthcoming changes to the health and social care sectors arising from the Care Certificate:

What is the Care Certificate?

The Care Certificate represents the biggest change to workforce development in the social care sector and is the first time that the same standards are being applied across health and social care.

Evidencing competence “in practice” and staff learning “during real work duties” are seen as a higher value outcomes than simply delivering staff training, under the new criteria.

The new standards encapsulated in the care certificate should ensure that the health and social care workers have the required values, behaviours, competences and skills to provide high quality, compassionate care.

The Care Certificate and Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulation and inspection have clearly set out the outcomes that must be achieved, whether this is through training or alternative learning and development activities. There is a clear requirement to provide evidence that staff have been assessed in the workplace to demonstrate their competence and safety to practice.

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Is the Care Certificate mandatory?

No!  The Care Certificate does not form part of the legislation, however CQC do refer to the Care Certificate very specifically in their regulations, so whilst it is not technically mandatory – you will be inspected against it.  For example if as an organisation you choose do something other than the Care Certificate or not complete all of the outcomes in the Care Certificate, you will need to demonstrate to CQC that your induction meets the needs of the staff you employ and the needs of the people you support.

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If the Care Certificate is not mandatory why do we need to do it?

Great question!  One of the critical differences between the Care Certificate and the Common Induction Standards and something that is included in the legislation, is the principle of competence.  It is no longer about what training courses people have attended – it is about their day to day practice and making sure that their practice is safe.

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When does the Care Certificate start?

The Care Certificate starts on April 1st 2015, but you have until September 2015 to implement it, so can migrate across from Common Induction Standards gradually.

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What if my staff have already done the Common Induction Standards?

If your staff have already done the Common Induction Standards they can use our top-up module to top up their evidence, so that you can demonstrate they meet the new standards

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Is the Care Certificate portable?

The Care Certificate is supposed to be portable. The idea behind the Care Certificate is that it is portable, but in the guidance it says that you must check that the person has retained the competencies required for the Care Certificate, so if you recruit someone with a Care Certificate, you cannot send them off to work without checking their knowledge and practice – you would use some shadowing sessions and possibly your interview knowledge assessment, to make sure they still have the knowledge and behaviours you would expect of your staff.

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How many outcomes are in the Care Certificate?

There are about 230 outcomes in the Care Certificate, which is about 50% more than the Common Induction Standards.  Those outcomes are distributed across 15 standards and so each standard is a bit smaller than the Common Induction ones.

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How long do we have to complete the Care Certificate?

You still have 12 weeks to complete the Care Certificate from the time you start, so there is no extra time, even though there are more outcomes.  So it is even more important that you have a quick and robust method for checking knowledge, skills and behaviours.

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Do you have to record how you have checked knowledge, skills and behaviours?

Yes!  In the first paragraph of the Assessor Document under the overall goal of the Care Certificate, it says you need to have “a record of the assessment that is auditable”.

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Can I reuse the Care Certificate for my QCF?

Absolutely. Critically, because the Care Certificate is about knowledge and practice, rather than attendance – you can reuse all of the evidence towards a QCF portfolio. Furthermore it should make the process quicker because you will adding observations of practice from the very beginning!

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Who can do the observations?

The best people to do the observations of “real work activity” described in the guidance are you team leaders and supervisors because they know the people you support, their preference and your policies.

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Do the assessors need the A1 award?

No. Assessors do not need formal qualifications, but they do need to be competent to carry out the role of the assessor. So if you have assessors in your organisation they can cascade their knowledge or deliver train-the-trainer sessions to up-skill your team leaders and supervisors.

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Do all of my existing staff have to do the Care Certificate?

Not exactly. Your existing staff certainly don’t need to do it in twelve weeks as your new staff are required to do. But in the long run everyone should meet the new standards, otherwise you would have some staff who will have completed the TOPSS Induction and Foundation, some staff having done the 2005 Common Induction and some staff on the 2010 Refreshed Common Induction.

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Can I use an external training provider, eLearning or workbook to meet the Care Certificate?

Yes, you can use an external training provider, eLearning or workbook to learn about the standards and outcomes in the Care Certificate.

If you recruit someone who has never worked in the Care sector before they will clearly need some learning and development. However, it is not this training that provides evidence of their competence. In the same way, completing a workbook or some eLearning does not provide evidence of what the person has learnt from the learning activity.

It is imperative that you provide evidence of what the person is putting into practice based on their knowledge and understanding.

Which is why the guidance states:  “Certificates of attendance, attendance on study days or eLearning without assessment of what has been learnt is NOT evidence toward the achievement of the Care Certificate.

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Is There an Overview of Essential Facts?

Yes, please download our one-page overview, with links to key information resources extracted from Skills for Care, Skills for Health, and NHS HE England

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When will the Care Certificate be introduced?

The Care Certificate is scheduled for introduction in March 2015, replacing both the National Minimum Training Standards and the Common Induction Standards.

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What does the Care Certificate mean for staff?

In order to be signed off against their Care Certificate staff will not have to complete a set of mandatory training courses. Instead they will have to evidence that they have relevant knowledge and understanding of the standards set out in the Care Certificate and, most importantly, that they are able to put this into practice for their job role.

Under the requirements of the Care Certificate each member of staff must have an individual portfolio, including evidence that their practice has been assessed in the workplace during the health or social care worker’s real work activity as observed by an assessor.  This assessor will usually be their manager or supervisor, they do not need to be a qualified NVQ/QCF assessor. However, the registered manager has the responsibility of verifying the quality of teaching and assessment that has been provided before signing off the Care Certificate themselves.

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What about the Common Induction Standards?

For colleagues who have already completed the Common Induction Standards we will provide a top-up assessment to enable you to evidence knowledge, understanding and practice against the new Care Certificate standards and learning outcomes.

We will also be continuing our popular free e-Learning for the Care Certificate across the health and social care sectors to support staff as they generate their evidence portfolios. Get in touch to find out more.

We are often asked in our workshops what will happen to the Common Induction Standards? You will need to continue to use the Common Induction Standards until the 1st April 2015. Any of our customers who use www.cis-assessment.co.uk for their Common Induction Standards will receive a free upgrade to the Care Certificate and will already have implemented the evidence based practice needed to meet the new style of regulation and inspection.

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Do you have a downloadable summary of the Care Certificate?

Is there a certificate for completion?

Yes! Your manager can download, edit and print a certificate of completion once you have jointly assembled a solid evidence portfolio and they, or your supervisor in your setting, are satisfied that you are safe to practice. Please note that certificates can only really demonstrate completion of an assessment or some learning. The real test of your safety to practice is in what you do in your everyday working life; this is why we believe that the evidence portfolio is far more useful in demonstrating safety to practice.

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