How Well Do You Know the Compliance Requirements of Your Staff?
By Lihini Boteju
Every care organisation aspires to get a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ rating. While the journey to achieve this is an uphill climb, it all starts with ensuring that your care service follows all compliance protocols. Compliance refers to the adherence to laws, regulations, policies, and ethical guidelines that govern the provision of care services. It serves as the bedrock for maintaining high-quality care, ensuring the well-being and safety of clients, and upholding the integrity of the care industry as a whole.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the primary regulatory body overseeing and monitoring the quality and safety of health and social care services in the United Kingdom. As an independent organisation, the CQC’s primary focus is to ensure that care providers meet fundamental quality and compliance standards. Accordingly, the CQC imposes the importance of compliance for several reasons.
1. Compliance ensures that care services meet legal requirements and regulations, creating a safe and secure environment for vulnerable individuals. By enforcing compliance, the CQC aims to prevent abuse, neglect, and substandard care, holding care providers accountable for their actions.
2. Compliance drives continuous improvement within the care sector. By setting clear standards, guidelines, and expectations, the CQC encourages care providers to enhance their practices, adopt best practices, and deliver high-quality, person-centred care.
3. Compliance also helps to build public trust and confidence in care services by ensuring transparency and accountability. The CQC’s rigorous inspection and monitoring processes reinforce the importance of compliance, promoting a culture of excellence and driving positive change in the care industry.
Ultimately, the CQC’s emphasis on compliance is vital for protecting the well-being and dignity of those who depend on care services and upholding the integrity of the care sector.
As mentioned previously, while compliance covers a wide range of areas, such as care home standards, quality of service and the treatment of care residents, the heart of the matter lies in selecting the right staff to deliver a qualitative and standardised form of care.
Unpacking Regulation 19: ‘Fit and proper persons employed’
Regulation 19 is a crucial decree outlined by the CQC. This regulation sets the standard for ensuring that individuals employed within the health and social care sector are suitable, competent, and of good character to deliver care services effectively and safely. The aim of Regulation 19 is to protect the well-being and safety of individuals receiving care by preventing unfit or unsuitable individuals from working in positions of responsibility. It requires care providers to have robust recruitment and employment practices in place to assess and verify the suitability of staff members. Regulation 19 includes conducting thorough background checks, verifying qualifications and training, and evaluating character references.
By enforcing Regulation 19, the CQC seeks to maintain the integrity and quality of the care sector, promoting a trustworthy, skilled workforce committed to providing compassionate care. Compliance with this regulation ensures that individuals employed in care settings possess the necessary attributes to meet the needs of those in their care, fostering a culture of professionalism and accountability within the industry.
Hence, to meet the CQC standards, it is paramount that each care professional in your service is thoroughly vetted and supported by a standard set of certifications that documents their validity and capacity to serve as a care worker.
Here’s a checklist you should keep in mind to ensure your staff meets all compliance criteria.
1. Employee CV
An employee CV is a fundamental requirement that care organisations should maintain. It should be a well-organised document including a recent photograph and personal and contact information such as full name, contact number, home address and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) number.
CVs should include the most recent work experience, including a minimum of 6 months of work experience in the UK care sector. Per CQC requirements, the CV should provide a ‘full employment history’, including a satisfactory written explanation of any gaps in employment.
The CV must also include a detailed breakdown of educational and training qualifications chronologically organised, with details of at least two non-related references who can attest to the worker’s skills, experience or character.
2. National Insurance Document
Any care service must keep proof of their staff’s NI documentation for verification. A variety of documents, such as:
- National Insurance Card
- National Insurance Letter
- Government letter
- Job seekers letter
- P45 form (Employee resignation letter)
- P60 (Employee tax information)
- Tax office letter
These documents may be acceptable where NI information such as the NID holder’s full name and unique National Insurance number are indicated clearly.
3. Right to Work documentation
A right-to-work document evidences your employee’s unrestricted and permanent right or temporary and partially restricted right to work in the UK. Accordingly, these documents, such as birth certificates and passports, must be thoroughly vetted for their originality. In addition, the official papers should include recent photographs that look the same across all documents. In line with CQC requirements, a picture will not be accepted as ‘recent’ if the staff member can no longer be recognised from the provided passport photograph.
Often employee names may be different across different documents provided. (e.g., name in passport vs. name in CV). Supporting documents such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree must be maintained to clarify the reason for the discrepancy.
If the care worker is not a British or Irish citizen, it is essential to verify that their right to work in the UK has not expired. In addition, student visa holders possess only a quota of hours they can work during a specific period. Therefore, care services must maintain any documents confirming their academic timetables or vacation periods to verify their eligibility to work.
4. Proof of Address
Care services must maintain documents evidencing a care staffer’s proof of residence to verify their identity and capability of attending shifts on time. Delayed attendance could be detrimental not only to the reputation of the organisation but the quality of care needed by vulnerable residents.
Staff members may submit any official document (e.g., electricity bill or bank statement) issued within three months, clearly displaying the name and address coinciding with the information in the CV. This document ensures that the worker’s current address is correctly recorded and verified.
5. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Certificate
A DBS validation certificate allows care service employers to check if their staff possess criminal records. This certificate helps care organisations determine their staff’s suitability and whether that individual is appropriate to care for children or vulnerable adults.
CQC expects each care service to undertake the level of DBS check for which a particular staff member is eligible. For some staff, this will be a DBS-issued standard criminal record check, while for others, an enhanced criminal records check or an enhanced check with barred list information may be required depending on individual criminal history.
Per CQC regulations, if full DBS certificates were not obtained, the care service must be able to provide sound reasons for not doing so and demonstrate their assessment of any potential risks before the employee takes up post.
Keep in mind that renewal of DBS certificates is not mandatory (except in Welsh Care Services). However, regular renewal of at least three years will demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to compliance and qualitative service that gets you closer to a Good or Outstanding rating.
6. Educational/ Qualification Certificates
Your care service must maintain all certificates relevant to training and educational qualifications. All certificates pertinent to the worker’s ‘full employment history’ must be maintained to ensure compliance with worker standards.
As CQC decrees, care services must possess any qualification relevant to the duties for which the person is employed or appointed to perform so far as it is reasonably practical to obtain satisfactory documentary evidence. Documentary evidence may be in the form of a certificate or written confirmation from the awarding body.
- Moving & Handling of People - both Theory & Practical to be evidenced
- Fire Safety
- First Aid
- Health & Safety
- Infection Control (COSHH/PPE)
- Learning Disability Awareness
- Autism Awareness
- Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults ( L1, L2, or both)
- Food Hygiene
- Equality & Diversity
- Information Governance/GDPR (Data protection/Recording and reporting General medication awareness)
- MCA & DOLS (Mental Capacity Act & Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards)
- Mental Health Awareness
- Standard Care Certificate consisting of 15 modules.
English Test (can either be evidenced by a GCSE in English certificate, English Courses linked to NVQ qualifications or the certificate of an online course - Website: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/test-your-english/ )
For a Senior Health Care Assistant (HCA) /Senior Support Worker/Senior Care Worker, all the above are required with the addition of:
- NVQ Level 2/ Level 3
- Medication Training - theory and practical
Information such as a Valid Nurse Pin obtained more than six months before the verification date is essential for a Registered Nurse. CQC suggests that care organisations can also check professional qualifications and professional registration status online with the relevant regulatory body (e.g., the Nursing and Midwifery Council) and should do this where a person has stated they are on a professional register.
Care services must maintain references or recommendations from previous employers of their care staff. As CQC suggests, when providing services relating to the health and social care of children or vulnerable adults, satisfactory evidence of conduct during previous employment must be provided upon inspection.
Care staff must submit three types of references, i.e., character, academic and professional. While a professional reference is mandatory, the care organisation can request an academic or character reference, depending on the practicality of obtaining them.
This information may be a reference or written appraisal documentation on the employee’s conduct. A care worker’s professional reference is essential to determine why an employee ended their service with the previous employer. CQC informs that such documentation must outline all relevant periods of employment or self-employment and the person’s reason for leaving that employment.
8. Disclosure of any physical or mental health conditions
Care services need to confidentially maintain information about their staff’s physical or mental health conditions to ensure the safety of residents and staff and create a sustainable working environment.
CQC requires satisfactory information about a worker’s physical or mental health conditions affecting their capability. This information is necessary such that reasonable adjustments can be made to accommodate them and help execute the expected tasks relevant to their appointment.
Phew. That was a long list, wasn’t it?
But with Care Hires, we can take away your worries about managing your staff compliance. Through rigorous verification systems and our compliance team’s commitment, we ensure that your staff meets all legal and ethical requirements, including your staffing criteria. By partnering with Care Hires, you can access our pre-vetted network of agency staff so that you don’t need to stress about the skills and quality of your temporary staff. Our 100% match skills technology ensures that only care staff that precisely cater to your staffing requirements are available for your open shifts. In addition, our auto-generated notifications keep you updated if an employee’s certification or documentation is nearing its expiry, allowing you to edit the documents accordingly. Our system automatically removes employees with expired visas or qualifications from your shifts. So, when you partner with Care Hires, your Outstanding Rating is not too far away.
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