The Care Certificate in 2023
State of the nation
State of the nation
Everyone who works within the care sector is familiar with the Care Certificate: the mandatory training and assessment framework that must be completed by all those working in care in England. The Care Certificate was launched in April 2015 by Health Education England (HEE), Skills for Care and Skills for Health in response to the 2013 publication of the Cavendish Review. The review, which was published in the wake of the failings of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, highlighted that there were significant variations in training, skills, and competencies across the care sector. It was therefore proposed that all healthcare assistants and social care support workers should undergo the same basic training, based on the best practice that already exists in the system – and must also achieve a standard ‘certificate of fundamental care’ before they can care for people unsupervised.
The Care Certificate is designed for staff who are new to care or have a new role within the sector – and it can also be used as a refresher or development tool for existing staff. It should be completed within 12 weeks of employment as part of a robust induction programme. The Care Certificate is not a qualification, but a “certificate of completion” that shows that the individual has met the minimum standards expected by their employer and regulators. It is designed to ensure that all those employed within the care sector have been trained and developed to a specific set of 15 standards (outlined below) and have been assessed for the skills, knowledge and behaviours that they’ll need to do their jobs effectively. The course is designed to be completed alongside the employees’ work. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) supports and expects to see the Care Certificate being used by providers across health and social care – indeed it may be actively looked for by CQC inspection teams as a benchmark of how effectively providers can meet staffing regulations.
The Care Certificate is designed for those who are new to care – on completion, learners are expected to know and demonstrate the following 15 competences:
While the intentions of the Care Certificate are essentially well-intended, since its launch it has frequently faced criticism about its effectiveness in improving the quality of care and more research is needed to determine its true impact. Some of the more common criticisms include:
Variability in training quality
The Care Certificate is meant to ensure consistency in training across different care settings. However, given that delivery is via employers, there has always been a considerable degree of variability in terms of the quality of training and support. The lack of any external validation further contributes to the high levels of variability.
Lack of standardisation
While the Care Certificate sets out a common framework, the implementation and assessment processes can vary hugely between different care providers. This can lead to inconsistencies in the assessment of care workers’ competence and may result in gaps in their knowledge or skills. This undermines the credibility and portability of the Care Certificate and its use as a transferable qualification supporting the movement of staff between organisations.
Time and resource constraints
Implementing the Care Certificate requires time and resources from care providers. Some organisations have reported challenges in allocating sufficient time for training and assessment due to staffing shortages and high workload pressures. This can impact the quality and effectiveness of the training received particularly within smaller employers.
Limited focus on specialised care areas
The Care Certificate covers essential skills and knowledge that are applicable across various care settings. However, some critics argue that it may not adequately address the specific needs and requirements of specialised areas within health and social care. This could potentially lead to gaps in knowledge when dealing with specific patient populations or complex care situations.
Limited recognition of prior learning
The Care Certificate is designed as a mandatory requirement for new care workers. However, there have been concerns about the lack of ’ recognition of prior’ learning and experience. The absence of any guidance on accreditation of prior learning results in duplication of training resulting in a negative and frustrating experience.
We know that understanding and implementing the Care Certificate guidelines can be a real headache for some employers, with such a huge variety of delivery options available. The EdgeWorks Care Certificate has been designed to fulfil all of the requirements including the use of ‘higher demand’ assessments as required along with providing detailed evidence logs to pinpoint every learning outcome. We deliver our Care Certificate via our “digital first” learning platform Care Academy, which allows learners to complete the course in their own time, with the support of their line managers who can sign off both written answers (where required) and competency assessments. We go above and beyond to ensure that your employees are confident in their abilities, with invaluable features such as:
Higher demand assessments
Skills for Care confirmed that it is impossible to meet all of the requirements of the Care Certificate assessments via multiple-choice style answers. So, we created our higher demand assessments to capture written responses, which are then passed to managers for approval.
Manager Competency Assessment Toolkit
Conducting competency assessments which are Valid, Authentic, Current, Sufficient and Reliable (VACSR) is challenging, and so we have developed our Managers Competency Assessment Toolkit to provide guidance when assessing employees.
Fast Track Screening Assessment
Allow individuals who can demonstrate prior knowledge to “fast track” their induction.
Care Certificate Mapping Tool
Our unique Care Certificate mapping tool provides detailed evidence that all of the required learning outcomes have been met and is an invaluable tool when undertaking inspections or audits.
You can access our Care Certificate mapping tool here.
Alternatively, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to discuss the EdgeWorks Care Certificate or any other aspect of your learning and development.