Understanding the 15 standards of the Care Certificate

Supporting the continuous development of your staff is important in any workplace, but in the care sector, it is a moral imperative. The Care Certificate sets a baseline for the training of your non-regulated workforce, ensuring they deliver only the highest quality care to their patients.

L&D departments in other industries are embracing the modern age, and it is time for the NHS to catch up. Delivering the Care Certificate using education technology safeguards the effectiveness of your training and fast-tracks your new starters’ careers.

People Alchemy is an automated Learning Workflow Platform designed to facilitate the training objectives of all sorts of businesses. Our platform can help you speed up learning transfer in your workplace and facilitate real world application of skills. Track data, monitor individual development, and support collaboration and encouragement within your teams. The future of Healthcare L&D is here.

In this blog, we explain everything you need to know about the 15 standards of the Care Certificate and how to deliver it in the best way.

What is the Care Certificate?

The Care Certificate is a set of 15 standards that define the minimum expected knowledge and behaviours for a range of job roles in health and social care. It was designed by Skills for Health, Skills for Care and Health Education England in partnership as a way of standardising the training of non-regulated care workers in the UK, and forms a key part of the induction process.

Induction programmes will vary across the country and be specific to employers and workplaces. However, the Care Certificate ensures staff across the country have all the skills and experiences they need to deliver consistent levels of compassionate, safe, and dignified care.

Importantly, the Care Certificate is an assessment that requires blended learning; it is built into the assessment criteria. Your staff should not be awarded the certificate until they have provided evidence of their competency in the workplace – evidence, that is, of their changed behaviour. ‘Demonstrate’, ‘take appropriate steps’, ‘show’ – this is not a lesson in a classroom, this is a practical assessment that must be carried out in the flow of work.

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The importance of the Care Certificate

In 2013, an enquiry was launched into the deaths of between 400 and 12000 people at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust from 2005 to 2009. The report was conducted by Robert Francis QC, and he identified a number of shortcomings.

As a result of this report, an independent review was carried out by Camilla Cavendish called the Cavendish Review. This review provided recommendations regarding the training and support of healthcare workers in hospitals, and social care support workers in care homes and the community. It set out that by refining training delivery and onboarding for new employees, the standard of care across the country would see dramatic improvements.

Who should do the Care Certificate?

The Care Certificate is specifically designed for new staff, but it is equally valuable for existing staff who might need a refresher. There is no legal requirement to complete it, however the Care Quality Commission (CQC) do expect care employers to deliver the certificate or provide an equivalent form of training that enables staff to meet the standards.

How long does the Care Certificate take?

The Care Certificate takes around 12 weeks to complete on average, but this is entirely dependent on working hours, previous experience and education, and the specifics of your workplace. If time is of the essence, delivering your training via an online learning platform may help speed up your trainees’ progress, reduce admin time, and facilitate productive feedback discussions.

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How is the Care Certificate assessed?

The Care Certificate is not assessed by an external body, meaning it is up to the employer to assess or assign an assessor to determine a new starter’s competency. The trainee must show evidence that they can fulfil all the criteria for each standard through a combination of written or verbal knowledge and real work activity. The assessor must shadow the employee during the working day and observe how they handle different situations.

To facilitate learning transfer from the theory books to the workplace, why not use our Learning Workflow Platform? It delivers the Care Certificate efficiently and effectively, ensuring every tenet of the 15 standards is evidenced in new employee behaviours.

What are the 15 Care Certificate standards?

Understand your role

As with any good onboarding programme, the first step is to help employees understand their role and responsibilities. This standard is all about teamwork, workplace relationships and agreeing with the new starter how they will carry out their duties.

Your personal development

Roles of this type are about caring for others, but it’s also important to consider staff personal development. As well as employment rights, this stage also covers the importance of continued learning and involves the creation of a development plan. Any competitive employer will know that making staff feel valued and fostering their development can help retain talent for longer. This standard ensures you are providing adequate support and motivation.

Duty of care

When it comes to safe practice, helping employees understand their duty of care is vital. This stage covers the legal responsibilities healthcare workers have and involves thinking through potential scenarios and confrontations and understanding the best ways to deal with them. New staff must then put the theory into practice in the workplace and demonstrate what they have learned

Equality and diversity

Vital for ensuring workplaces are inclusive and safe for all, this standard is all about reducing discrimination in the workplace and making sure everyone has access to advice and support when it comes to equality and diversity.

Work in a person-centred way

Care work is inherently about interacting with people, so this element of the certificate tests the trainee’s people skills. As part of this standard, they must learn how to identify and reduce any environmental causes of distress, minimise pain, and maintain the self-esteem and dignity of those in their care.


Communicating clearly and effectively is integral to the care sector. Accordingly, this standard is all about verbal and non-verbal communication, helping employees understand the power of positive communication, the legislation surrounding it, and how to practise their skills in the workplace. The assessor will observe the trainee’s interactions with patients and other staff members and provide feedback to help them develop and improve.

Our Learning Workflow Platform streamlines this feedback process, allowing mentors and mentees to communicate quickly and easily, and keep a clear record of progress.

Privacy and dignity

It is important for healthcare workers to protect the dignity and privacy of their patients – it is a principle that underscores all aspects of care. Here, employees will learn the theory behind privacy and dignity in healthcare settings and put their knowledge into practice straightaway during their working day. This is not learning then doing, this is learning while doing.

See more: Behaviour change needs a workflow solution

Fluids and nutrition

Every day, care workers will provide patients with access to fluid, food, and nutrition in accordance with their care plan. That is why it is crucial all new staff start from the same level of understanding when it comes to principles of hydration, nutrition, and food safety.

Awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disabilities

This standard is all about making sure new starters understand and can describe the needs and experiences of people with different mental health conditions, dementia and learning disabilities. It covers things like positive attitudes, relevant legislation, and what mental capacity really means.

Safeguarding adults

Care and safeguarding should go hand in hand. This standard is about the types of harm and abuse adults can be victim to and how to reduce the risk of it. It also covers how to respond to suspected or disclosed abuse, including what to do in specific situations that can be simulated as part of the assessment.

Safeguarding children

As paediatric care work has its own set of regulations and training standards, this standard is not as in-depth as the others. However, it is intended to provide a baseline of understanding so care workers who suspect child abuse or neglect have the experience necessary to act.

Basic life support

Basic life support is a fundamental skill needed by all healthcare workers. Depending on job role, this standard involves training in adult, paediatric, or newborn life support.

Health and safety

Health and safety are integral to all workplaces, but it is especially so in care settings. This standard is highly detailed, covering everything employees need to know about risk assessments, accidents and sudden illnesses, fire hazards, dangerous substances and more.

Handling information

Care workers are often required to handle sensitive information. This stage of the Care Certificate is therefore concerned with how personal details are recorded, stored, and shared helping trainees keep up-to-date and accurate records.

Infection prevention and control

The final standard in the Care Certificate is all about learning how to prevent and control infection. Trainees need to be assessed on their understanding of how infection spreads, hand hygiene, protective clothing, and safe handling and how it can affect the work environment.

Care Certificates & learning platforms

Why deliver the Care Certificate using a learning platform like People Alchemy? Simply put, it is about engagement and visibility. The Care Certificate is blended learning epitomised. Your new starters must gain skills and prove their proficiency in theory and in practice, in the classroom and in the workplace. That’s where People Alchemy come in.

With a range of functionalities, our automated Learning Workflow Platform allows you to deliver blended learning experiences tailored to your workplace and processes. It also allows you to access detailed records and progress information at a glance, making it easy for you to prove compliance to regulatory bodies like CQC.

But People Alchemy goes beyond tick boxes. Our innovative platform can help you boost engagement in the programme, facilitating learning on the go and encouraging employees to take control of their own training and feel motivated for the future.

The result? You’ll be more competitive as an employer, with a better onboarding and induction process. That means fast-tracked careers, and even faster proficiency. That means learning transfer where it really matters.

About the platform 

NHS Healthcare Learning Workflow Platform for the Care Certificate

Delivering healthcare training using our modern platform means waving goodbye to outdated modes of learning. Our platform allows you to provide your team with a unique place to learn wherever they are, during the flow of work. Boost engagement, improve learning transfer, and prove compliance with trackable data – it is the ultimate answer to healthcare L&D.

Bringing your NHS Trust’s Care Certificate delivery online is easy and cost efficient with the People Alchemy platform. Find out more

See more: Digitising Care Certificates case study