New induction standards for adult care professionals are to be
launched next week.
Skills for Care, the sector skills council for adult care in
England, has drawn up the standards to create more focused and
flexible induction training.
For the next year, the new standards will run alongside the ones
now used by registered managers to assess whether new staff are fit
to practise. They apply to all care staff working with adults and
are expected to become compulsory in September 2006.
The main difference is that the new induction period will be
longer, perhaps up to 12 weeks instead of six.
The six-month foundation period for new staff is to be scrapped so
that employers can develop their own induction requirements
tailored to their workplace. Foundation is a set of general
outcomes “designed to enable workers to build on and develop
learning”, according to Skills for Care.
This more flexible approach will prepare workers better. Those who
already have relevant qualifications or have undertaken a previous
induction course will only have to do the employer’s specific
Nick Johnson, acting chief executive of the Social Care
Association, welcomed the new standards and says it could help
fast-track staff into the workplace.
“In Scotland, because of economies of scale, they did the induction
and foundation courses in six weeks. It is not long or complicated
– the six-month period was used in England to give the greatest
number of people time to do it.”
However, many believe the longer timescale was one reason for the
high drop-out rate on the foundation and induction courses.
Johnson says: “Those inducted properly and given the right skills
are more likely to stay and give a longer-term professional
commitment. It will save money and improve quality.”
John Dixon, chair of the Association of Directors of Social
Services disabilities committee, says: “I’d welcome anything that
reduces the barriers for people to come into the sector. We need to
be able to trawl our net more widely in terms of getting people
However, Sheila Scott, chief executive of the National Care Homes
Association, was more cautious. While welcoming the ability to
fast-track more experienced new staff into the workplace she is
concerned there is too much change.
“Providers need a period of calm,” she says. “If we get a review of
the national minimum standards for the care sector it could lead to
something else new being introduced.”
Skills for Care says changes are needed because existing standards
were drawn up in 2001 to fit with the old NVQ standards. These
omitted the health, social care and occupational standards launched
in January. A separate set of induction standards for new managers
- Understand the principles of care.
- Understand the organisation and the role of the worker.
- Maintain safety at work.
- Communicate effectively.
- Recognise and respond to abuse and neglect.
- Develop as a worker.
The new standards will be accompanied by managers’ and employees’
guides with a glossary and certificate of completion to be signed
off by the registered manager.