Log my Care has just unveiled its new Needs and Skills feature, enabling you to record service users’ needs in their care plans and profiles, track staff members' skills and training and match skills to needs. With this in mind, now is the perfect time to reflect on the importance of tracking staff’s skills and keeping on top of training.
The grey area regarding training requirements
One of the biggest questions in manager forums is about mandatory training requirements for care staff. As a Registered Manager, it was never clear and looking at the guidelines, I can understand why it’s not set in stone.
Staffing Regulation 18 on the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) website states:
- 18(1) Sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced persons must be deployed in order to meet the requirements of this Part.
- 18(2) (a) receive such appropriate support, training, professional development, supervision and appraisal as is necessary to enable them to carry out the duties they are employed to perform.
This doesn’t give clear guidance, so I followed up with a phone call to the CQC. Their telephone advisor directed me to Regulation 18 and when I told him that it didn’t really give me any clear ideas, they directed me to the full guidance document. I pushed slightly further, telling the handler I had read it and it didn’t give me any true details, after waiting on hold, I was told to refer to the advice from Skills for Care.
I’ve used Skills for Care resources in the past and I know these are insightful, but let’s face it, Skills for Care are not a regulator. You can view their mandatory training guidance which is mapped to the Key Line of Enquiries here.
Create a bespoke training plan
My advice is to utilise the Skills for Care guidance in conjunction with a tailored plan that works for your service. Doing training once every three years doesn’t sit well with me, I think we should be doing annual training or things in-between to ensure staff are competent and have the skills they need.
Do your homework when creating your training plan. For example, The Oliver McGowan Training is not listed on the Skills for Care guidance document but is mandatory for all social care providers. Similarly, the CQC expects care providers to ensure that their staff have the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their roles effectively. However, it does not provide a detailed list of competencies that staff must demonstrate. Think about the service you’re providing and the needs of the people you support and build your competencies from this.
Why go above and beyond?
I don't believe that any provider just wants to do the bare minimum – we all want to ensure we have the best team possible delivering care to the people we support. So, it’s important we document the above and beyond training in our training plan. It makes it clear for staff and easy to evidence when you’re inspected. Not that you need a reminder but here are a number of reasons why we should strive to go above and beyond:
- Helps you achieve an outstanding during your inspection as it evidences your commitment to quality and continuous improvement.
- Improves the quality of the care you provide as staff will have a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities and the needs of the people they support.
- Additional skills and knowledge among staff will be good within your workplace and put them in good stead for progressing within their careers.
- Increases trust between the provider/staff and the people being supported, their families and stakeholders.
- Improves job satisfaction and team morale.
- Increases retention and reduces staff turnover.
- Gives staff the knowledge and skills required to meet changing needs and adapt to new situations and circumstances.
How to be more Outstanding
Being an Outstanding provider doesn’t stop when you achieve your rating. You should also ensure staff are well trained and capable of providing the best possible care to the people you support. Here are some tips you could implement:
- Create a training plan that covers all the necessary mandatory training such as health and safety, safeguarding, and medication management, as well as any other training specific to your care setting. Include details such as how often refresher training will be offered.
- Use a variety of training methods like e-learning, workshops and on-the-job training to help your staff develop a range of skills and knowledge and build these into your training plan.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of your training by monitoring staff performance and assessing the impact of the training on their knowledge and skills. Use feedback from staff and the people you support to identify areas where additional training may be needed.
- Encourage your staff to engage in ongoing learning by providing opportunities for professional development and offering incentives for continuing education.
- Invest in your trainers to ensure that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver effective training. Don’t just implement e-learning to tick a box.
- Foster a culture of learning by encouraging staff to share their knowledge and expertise with one another. This can help to create a supportive and collaborative environment where staff are empowered to learn and grow.
Above all, we should be the provider of choice for our teams. By developing staff through training, we can identify skill gaps, provide relevant training opportunities and enhance skills and knowledge. We’ve all interviewed staff who are leaving a role due to lack of training or qualification opportunity, so be the provider who invests training for their team. You will see an increase in job satisfaction, be able to retain staff for longer and can develop career pathways and succession plans.