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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there a UK and an England version of the CSTF?

The Health Education England mandate from the Department of Health and Social Care requires the further development of the CSTF ‘to reflect the future service needs of the NHS’.  Alignment to the CSTF is also a key component of the NHS England and NHS Improvement programme to enable staff movement.  Therefore, a version of the CSTF guidance has been developed which is specific to the requirements of NHS Trusts in England.

The UK version of the CSTF remains applicable to all other organisations and CSTF subjects and learning outcomes remain consistent across the whole of the UK.

Do I have to align to all the Statutory/Mandatory subjects?

We would like Trusts to align to all subjects. If any subjects are not aligned, please provide reasons on your declaration of alignment.

Do I have to comply with the CSTF frequency of refresher training/assessment?

The CSTF frequency of refresher training or assessment is now a requirement for alignment to the CSTF by NHS Trusts in England. Alternative frequencies of refresher training or assessment should only be used in exceptional circumstances (e.g. due to a local risk assessment following a serious incident).

NB. Please click here for additional guidance on statutory and mandatory training during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do I submit my completed declaration of alignment?

Email the completed declaration of alignment form along with a completed mapping tool to Skills for Health at:

Do I have to submit my completed mapping tool?

The mapping tool is provided for you to review the content of your training and to ensure that it meets the required learning outcomes.  This should be submitted to Skills for Health alongside your completed declaration of alignment in order to provide supporting evidence of alignment.  Please note this may also be used for quality assurance purposes.

Do I have to submit the Readiness Assessment form?

No. The Readiness Assessment form is for you – to help consider how the CSTF is implemented within your organisation. It does not need to be submitted.

How often is the Statutory/Mandatory CSTF updated?

The CSTF is periodically reviewed and updated to ensure its continued relevance and currency. Between 2013 and 2019, the Statutory/Mandatory CSTF was updated annually. The most recent update was released in January 2020, with a further update scheduled for autumn 2021.

How frequently do I need to update my organisation’s declaration of alignment?

Following the release of the latest CSTF (England) v1.0 in February 2020, all NHS Trusts in England are required to update their declaration of alignment to this current version.

How do I update my organisation’s declaration of alignment?

Download the current Declaration of Alignment form from the CSTF download page – complete this and submit it to:

Can I use e-learning to deliver statutory/mandatory training?

In general, the CSTF does not prescribe training methods.  E-learning may be an appropriate option for most subjects, although there are some subjects which also require a practical training component.  Further information on standards for training delivery is available in the Subject Guide.

How are CSTF training records transferred between organisations?

Many NHS organisations in England use CSTF National Competencies on the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) for recording and reporting training activity that is aligned to the CSTF.

How do I know if NHS Trusts are aligned to the CSTF?

All NHS Trusts aligned to the CSTF are listed on the CSTF Directory.  For each aligned organisation the Directory shows information such as the date of their most recent declaration of alignment and their statutory/mandatory subjects which are aligned.  See the CSTF Directory here:

For further information please contact: