Supported living staff and NVQs | QCS

Hi Sheila,

We are a supported service for people with mental health problems with staff who have no formal qualification. What should we do with an employee we enroled to complete the NVQs and they have not met the qualification pass, do we have to dismiss this staff member? We were informed that everyone who works in the social care sector has to have a NVQ!

Sheila Scott
Answered by Sheila Scott

Dear Lorna,

This is a complex area.

All staff must receive induction training and good practice suggests that the Care Certificate’s 15 standards should be achieved by all. Some further clarification is still required on one of the care certificate’s standards.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) were replaced by the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF in 2011).  See Skills for care website for further information.

Students who had started an NVQ were initially allowed to complete their qualification but that opportunity has passed now. Any care worker starting qualification from September 2011 has had to undertake a QCF.

When the Fundamental Standards became law on 1 April 2015 the training requirement became:

Regulation 18

  • Sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced persons must be deployed in order to meet the requirements of this Part.
  • Persons employed by the service provider in the provision of a regulated activity must:
  1. receive such appropriate support, training, professional development, supervision and appraisal as is necessary to enable them to carry out the duties they are employed to perform,
  2. be enabled where appropriate to obtain further qualifications appropriate to the work they perform, and
  3. where such persons are health care professionals, social workers or other professionals registered with a health care or social care regulator, be enabled to provide evidence to the regulator in question demonstrating, where it is possible to do so, that they continue to meet the professional standards which are a condition of their ability to practise or a requirement of their role.

The regulation is therefore clear that appropriate training should be given to enable the care worker to carry out their duties.

With the care worker that you refer to in your email that has not completed their NVQ, a number of questions occur to me:

  • Was it an NVQ or a QCF Diploma that the employee was undertaking?
  • You have not said why the learner did not meet the qualification pass?  It is important to understand whether it was a matter of the individual’s competence and knowledge, or lack of support or application in completing the qualification.  If it was because the learner failed to demonstrate to the assessor that they possessed the necessary knowledge and competence to undertake their role, then this could be a serious matter that needs immediate action. This could include arranging further training for the member of staff combined with supervision of duties until deemed competent. Termination of employment contract could follow if the individual is deemed not to be safe to undertake their duties.
  • The failure to pass the qualification could of course be due to other factors. Who was the training provider? They may have failed to guide and support the member of staff to present appropriate evidence. Alternatively, the member of staff may have had other factors which prevented them completing the qualification?
  • Was the employee required by their employment contract to complete the training?

If you have any questions on accredited training matters our partner provider Access Skills ( was consulted on this query

If you could let us have that information we would be better able to give you the best of advice.

Best wishes.




About Sheila Scott

Sheila Scott OBE from National Care Association (NCA). Care is Sheila’s life; she possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business and as a leader in the care sector. 3. Read more

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