Managing statutory and mandatory training in the healthcare sector 

13 MINS

By Skills for Health | 22 April 2024

Managing statutory and mandatory compliance in the healthcare sector is a fundamental component that ensures patient safety, legal compliance and efficient operations. 

One of the key aspects of managing statutory and mandatory training in the healthcare sector is ensuring that staff have the necessary knowledge to carry out their roles effectively and safely. This knowledge can include a range of topics, such as infection control, safeguarding vulnerable adults, fire safety, and manual handling. 

What does compliance mean? 

Compliance in the health and care sector refers to ensuring that all staff members are meeting the legal requirements and standards set by regulatory bodies, such as health and safety regulations, safeguarding protocols, and professional guidelines. This includes completing mandatory training courses regularly to maintain competency in their roles. 

What is meant by statutory and mandatory training?  

Whilst similar, there’s a difference between the two terms. You may see training or eLearning courses listed as statutory, mandatory or sometimes both, so it’s good to know the difference and be able to identify which you and your teams need.  

The Core Skills Training Framework® defines statutory and mandatory training as follows: 

Statutory Training 

Training that employers are either legally required to provide as defined by law and for which there is a stated legal reference and/or where a government or regulatory body have instructed employers to provide training on the basis of legislation. Examples of this include:  

  • Health and Safety training: required by legal statute.  
  • Equality training: required by The Equality Act 2010 which specifies that all employees receive training to understand their legal obligations in promoting equality.  
  • Fire safety training: required by statute as determined by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 

Mandatory Training 

A training requirement that has been determined by organisations themselves. This can include:  

  • Policy-required mandatory training: requirements for mandatory training which have been determined by a government department, or regulatory body, as part of the implementation of an agreed national policy. For example, in England, all staff are required to undertake Information Governance training on an annual basis.  
  • Organisationally-required mandatory training: requirements that organisations set themselves. These requirements are usually introduced to ensure that the organisation is compliant with key risk areas that might have an impact upon safety, or alternatively, are being delivered to achieve a corporate priority or service improvement which the organisation has set itself. Typically, this type of training is undertaken to provide assurance that local policies governing key corporate and risk activities are understood and are being followed by employees. 

What training do my staff members need?  

We are often asked what training a member of staff needs to do, and the answer is always “it depends…”  

Statutory training is simple in concept, it’s laid down in law or by a regulatory body, however, within this, you must consider the environment of the worker. For example, fire safety on a cruise ship will be different to that for a hospital. As an organisation, you need to make sure the training meets your specific needs. 

Mandatory training can be a little more complicated as it centres around the role, organisation and individual. If the work being performed has specific national policies or mandatory requirements associated with it, then additional training may be required. 

Can we use eLearning to meet statutory and mandatory requirements? 

Whilst there are many approaches to training in healthcare, eLearning is increasingly common for topics that don’t require any face-to-face or physical elements and can offer efficiencies and flexibility in the way it is delivered. It’s well-known that eLearning, as a mode of education, can vastly shorten study time when compared to traditional methods. A study from Brandon-Hall Group has shown that eLearning programmes take around 40-60% less time to finish than comparable, classroom-based instructional courses. 

Utilising training frameworks like the Core Skills Training Framework (CSTF) and the Core Capabilities Framework for Supporting Autistic People from Skills for Health, organisations can choose courses aligned to frameworks with confidence that these meet the minimum requirements[i1] and have clearly defined learning outcomes. 

How can we track learner progress? 

Selecting the required eLearning is just the first step; once chosen, organisations need a reliable and robust approach to assigning learning and tracking progress. 

For mandatory training courses, this is often made more complex due to courses expiring after fixed periods (1, 2, or 3 years) or needing annual updates. Without a management system, organisations often turn to spreadsheets and files to try and stay in control of compliance. This might be okay for smaller organisations but can be more challenging with higher staff volumes.  

This is where a Learning Management System (LMS) like LearnSpace from Skills for Health can help. Not only can an LMS help with assigning and tracking eLearning, but it can offer compliance dashboards and notification systems. This allows managers to stay on top of compliance and ensures users get notified of courses that are expiring.  

If you’re looking to manage your mandatory eLearning, you should be looking for systems that: 

  • Assigns only the required learning to learners. 
  • Notifies learners of what action they need to take. 
  • Supports course certification cycles, e.g. courses that are valid for fixed periods. 
  • Has a method of accurately measuring compliance for organisations, managers and users. 

If your organisation is CQC registered, systems like LearnSpace can also make it easier to produce compliance reports making the process of auditing much simpler. 

Reducing repeat training 

One of the common pain points with statutory and mandatory training is employees repeating training, often when they’re already compliant or the training is still valid, which can cause frustration for learners. We often see organisations asking staff members to complete training when it’s not due. This is generally done to reduce risk, e.g. it’s better to be ‘over-compliant’ than ‘under-compliant’. By using an LMS with compliance functionality built-in, organisations can manage their mandatory training more efficiently and reduce the need to over-train staff. LMSs, such as LearnSpace, can also import a record of prior learning, so learners don’t have to repeat courses they are already compliant in. 

The Core Skills Training Framework sets out the standard for the minimum learning outcomes for essential subjects, with the aim of reducing the need for repeat training. eLearning suppliers, like Skills for Health, align training with the CSTF. This means that an organisation onboarding an employee with a record of learning or certificates from Skills for Health can be confident that the eLearning meets the minimum requirements[2]. 

Not all eLearning is equal 

The final consideration organisations should take is the quality and educational content of the eLearning they use. When reviewing content you should consider: 

  • Overall quality – is the course written to a high standard and aimed at the right level? Overly wordy courses can lead learners to switch off. 
  • Effective – does it do what it claims and have clear learning objectives? 
  • Impactful – is the course memorable? Remember you’re trying to get information across to influence behaviour and practice. 
  • Length – does the length of the course reflect your expectations? Short courses are great but too short can mean critical information is glossed over. A well-written course will be concise, clear, and get to the point without pages of text. 
  • User friendly – is the platform and course intuitive for learners?

[1] Organisations must check with suppliers that content meets required frameworks. Skills for Health do not quality assure other supplier content and only assure our own content meets framework requirements. 

[2] Employers are responsible for checking the validity of a record of learning or completion certificate. 

At Skills for Health, we focus on the learner experience. Not all learners absorb information in the same way, so we include a mixture of approaches to cater for all styles of learning. We also encourage organisations to trial our content and make sure it meets their needs. 

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