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Compliance training versus competence – which matters more in keeping your staff and residents safe?

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In a world where the wellbeing of the people who use our care services is absolutely at the forefront of our care delivery, it’s important to understand the two key pillars of professional development in the care setting: Compliance training AND Competence checking.

In this blog we will look at both compliance training and competence checks, looking at where they are different and why it is vital that both are in place in your care team.

The importance of compliance training.

In our regulated setting where we are entrusted to take care of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, compliance is hugely important to keep people safe. That means, of course, keeping people who use our services safe but also people who work in our services.

Compliance training involves the delivery of knowledge and skills training to ensure that people delivering care understand the guidelines, policies and regulations that they must adhere to when carrying out their work. Examples will include health and safety, manual handling and fire safety where employees must receive training in order to follow the appropriate policies and procedures in your organisation. Quite simply, they need to have the knowledge and skills to be compliant with health and safety policies, fire safety regulations and your manual handling policy and procedures.

The compliance training delivered to your employees will cover a wide range of topics covering the different elements of providing safe and effective care and will be guided by the regulator (CQC) and our sector lead body (Skills for Care).

Why competence checks are crucial.

Compliance training can be viewed as the foundation stone of staff good practice. Competence checks are ongoing checks to ensure that your staff can apply their knowledge and skills to the real-life working environment.

One example is in the subject of fire safety. Your staff need to receive compliance training for knowledge about the policy and procedure of what to do in the event of a fire in your care setting. You must then carry out competence checks to observe them applying that knowledge through a simulated fire drill. The same is true for medication training or manual handling, competence checks are regular observations of a staff member putting their knowledge into practice.

Competence checks allow, and indeed require, supervisors to observe everyday practices, to check that standards are being met in the delivery of care and to record what they have observed. Competence checking allows the employee to receive feedback for both motivation (where they are doing well) and for continuous improvement (where they need to develop their practice.)

Continuous cycle of compliance and competence checks

In summary:

It is vital to understand the connection between compliance training and competence checking. Compliance training sets the standards of knowledge and skills required in your staff, while competence checking ensures that those standards are being met in everyday practice, all for the benefit of those who receive care and support in our settings.

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