On 1st July 2022, staff training in learning disability and autism became a legal requirement for Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulated services providers. This training is known as The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism.
If you’re unsure if the new requirement applies to you or how to implement the new training package, read on for answers to some of your most important questions.
What is The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism?
The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training passed into law on 12th May 2022. It was included in the Health and Care Act 2022 as part of the requirement for mandatory training for carers.
This training is designed to address the persistent and significant health disparities that autistic people and people with learning disabilities face. It represents an important step towards ensuring that people with autism and/or learning disabilities receive the care they need and deserve.
The training is named after Oliver McGowan, a young autistic man whose death in 2016 highlighted the need for better autism and learning disability training for health and social care providers.
Who is covered by the new training requirement?
All CQC registered health and social care service providers of any size will be covered by this requirement. As an example, this could include hospitals, care homes, domiciliary care providers and dental surgeries.
The requirement will cover any staff who deliver regulated services as well as support staff and administrative staff, and the training provided must be appropriate to each person’s role.
How does the Health and Care Act 2022 introduce the new training requirements?
The Health and Care Act 2022 introduced a new requirement for service providers registered with the Care Quality Commission to provide their staff with learning disability and autism training. This is set out in section 181 of the Act.
The requirement has been introduced to ensure that all employees in the care sector receive autism and learning disabilities training that is role-appropriate. This will equip them with the skills and knowledge that will allow them to provide service users and clients with compassionate, informed and safe care.
Isn’t staff training already covered by the CQC regulations?
Staff training requirements are set out in CQC Regulation 18, which requires service providers to provide the necessary training to allow staff to perform their duties safely and effectively.
The new requirement in the Health and Care Act 2022 means that CQC regulated care providers will now need to consider the level of contact that each member of staff has with people who are autistic or have a learning disability, and then provide them with role-appropriate training.
The statutory guidance related to CQC Regulation 18 has also been updated to reflect this.
How will the CQC enforce the new training requirement?
CQC Enforcement policy sets out the action that will be taken in the event of a breach of regulations, and this policy will apply to the new training requirement.
The CQC will consider all relevant circumstances in the event of a breach, including how the service provider has applied the CQC statutory guidance on this new training.
How was the new requirement for training developed?
The Government responded to the consultation on mandatory learning disability and autism training with the publication of two main commitments.
The first commitment required all providers of health and social care services to ensure that any staff carrying out regulated activities have achieved their role’s required learning outcomes on learning disabilities and autism. This was later amended to introduce mandatory provision of learning disability and autism training for all staff working for CQC regulated employers, which became a legal requirement on 1st July 2022.
The second commitment involved developing and evaluating a standard training programme that will meet the above requirement. This package was developed in partnership with Skills for Care and HEE (Health Education England) and has been thoroughly trialled to confirm that it is sustainable and meaningful.
What details will the CQC Code of Practice include about the new training requirement?
The Code of Practice will explain the new legal requirement for training on autism and learning disabilities and how providers can meet this requirement. The content and delivery of the training package will be set out in the updated Code of Practice together with details of how it will be monitored and evaluated.
What is the structure of the new mandatory training?
The new training package has two tiers:
Tier 1 is appropriate for anyone who needs a general awareness of the support that may be required by autistic people or people with a learning disability. Staff who undertake Tier 1 training will complete an elearning package together with a 1 hour interactive online training session which is delivered by experts in this subject.
Tier 2 is appropriate for staff who provide care and support for autistic people or people with learning disabilities. Tier 2 training requires staff to complete the same elearning package mentioned above plus a 1 day in-person training course delivered by experts in this subject.
Tier 1 material is included in the Tier 2 training course so staff only need to complete the Tier that is most relevant to their role. Employers will be responsible for organising staff training, deciding which tier each employee needs to complete and informing staff when to attend training sessions.
When will the new training package be available?
At the time of writing, the training package isn’t currently available.
The elearning package is expected to be available in late October 2022 and as the number of trainers grows, there will be increased access to the online and in-person training sessions.
What action should service providers take now?
Since 1st July 2022, CQC service providers are required to provide their staff with role-appropriate training about learning disabilities and autism. They should continue to review their staff training requirements and provide relevant training for each role.
CQC statutory guidance has been updated to reflect the new requirements. Registered providers should refer to this for guidance on how to meet their legislative requirements while the Code of Practice is in development.