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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 (see here:

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?

You should align to all relevant subjects. If any subjects are not applicable in your organisation, then you can indicate this on your declaration of alignment.

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

For healthcare providers, the CSTF frequency of refresher training or assessment is now a requirement for alignment to the CSTF. Alternative frequencies of refresher training or assessment should only be used in exceptional circumstances (e.g. due to a local risk assessment).

How do I submit my completed declaration of alignment?

Email the completed declaration of alignment form to Skills for Health at:

Do I have to submit my completed mapping tool?

No. The mapping tool is provided for you to review the content of your training and to ensure that it meets the required learning outcomes. You are not required to submit the completed mapping tool to Skills for Health.

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 Statutory/Mandatory CSTF is typically reviewed and updated annually. Changes are made where needed to provide greater clarity, or if required due to significant changes in national guidance or legislation.

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

There is no fixed requirement for how often you update your declaration of alignment. If there are significant changes to the CSTF, Skills for Health will notify you and request that you update your declaration.

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

Download the current Declaration of Alignment form from the CSTF web 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?

Organisations can recognise training that is aligned to the CSTF using the CSTF prefix and naming conventions on training course materials.

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

In addition to the statutory/mandatory subjects, is it possible to declare alignment to other frameworks?

No. The core capabilities frameworks are offered as guidance and good practice for development of the current and future workforce. Unlike the Statutory/Mandatory CSTF, there is no formal process for declaring alignment to these other frameworks.

Can I show alignment to the CSTF in my organisation’s marketing / communications?

Yes. Once you have mapped the content of your training to ensure that it meets the required learning outcomes, you may describe your statutory/mandatory training as ‘aligned’ or ‘mapped’ to the Core Skills Training Framework / CSTF.

Can I use the Skills for Health logo?

No. Alignment to the CSTF does not allow you to use the Skills for Health logo.

I am a commercial training provider or recruitment/staffing agency and my clients require that my statutory/mandatory training is aligned with the CSTF – what does this mean?

The Statutory/Mandatory CSTF has been incorporated into several national staffing procurement frameworks such as those developed by the London Procurement Partnership (LPP) and Health Trust Europe (HTE). This means these procurement bodies require statutory/mandatory staff training to be aligned with the CSTF.

Commercial training suppliers may therefore download the CSTF documents and complete a self-assessment of alignment to the Statutory/Mandatory CSTF by completing the CSTF mapping tool. When such organisations have identified that their training aligns with the CSTF then they may describe their training provision as ‘aligned to the CSTF’.

However, such organisations are not regulated by Skills for Health and are not permitted to state or imply any assurance or endorsement from Skills for Health.

Recruiters and staffing agencies should carry out suitable due diligence on their candidates or training providers to ensure that training meets the needs of their clients.