We recently took a look at the Care Certificate as it stands today, its background, aims and objectives, as well as its successes and failings. To recap, the Care Certificate is a set of standards that define the knowledge, skills and behaviours expected of those working in the health and social care sector in England. Originally introduced in 2015, it is not a formal qualification, but rather a set of guiding principles that individuals need to meet in order to demonstrate competence in their roles. Since its launch, it has come under continuous scrutiny, particularly as the care sector has come under increasing pressure to improve standards of care. There can be no doubt that whilst the intentions of the Care Certificate are good, it needs to fundamentally change. And we have heard that there are finally some big changes to the Care Certificate just around the corner… more on that in a moment.
Firstly, let’s look at what is driving the forthcoming changes to the Care Certificate. In the white paper People at the Heart of Care: adult social care reform, published in December 2021, the government recognised the need for the Care Certificate to be funded and portable, which would enable care employees to become more mobile in their careers and avoid having to repeat training when they changed jobs. The paper outlined a plan, backed by at least £500 million in funding (since reduced to £250m) which included relaunching the Care Certificate as a fully funded L2 qualification. More recently, in March 2023, the government set out its plan to build on the commitments made in its 2021 white paper to further digitise the social care sector and bolster the workforce with a promise of £16.8 billion in spending “to make sure people receive the right care in the right place at the right time”. This swiftly leads us to the big change that’s on the horizon.
There has been much rumour for some time regarding the launch of the revised Care Certificate and whether it will be a funded qualification. The latest information we have is as follows.
In September 2022, The Department for Health and Social Care issued a prior information notice outlining their requirements for the development of the following:
Following the announcement of the reduction in funding from £500m to £250m – a revised tender was issued for just the Care Certificate and L5 Digital Skills qualifications. The indicative timeframes suggested that the revised specifications were to be available to awarding organisations in September 2023 with a full rollout in 2024.
Assuming there are no significant changes to the plans, then the formalisation of the Care Certificate into a funded qualification raises a number of considerations:
Whilst on the surface the transitioning of the Care Certificate into a qualification seems like a simple and logical change, there could well be some unexpected consequences. The ‘light-touch’ delivery many providers have become accustomed to may well change significantly, leading to increased pressure on resources. The sector is already grappling with gaps in delivery across both colleges and private providers and further demand might be difficult to support.
Understanding and actioning changes to government policies and regulations is our raison d’être! When you partner with us, you can rest assured that we keep our finger on the pulse when it comes to HSC learning, funding, qualifications and technology.
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