Defining statutory and mandatory training
The terms “statutory training” and “mandatory training” are commonly used in health and social care settings. However, their meanings are not fully understood, thus resulting in confusion and their interchangeable use across the sector.
Dr Richard Dune defines "mandatory training" and "statutory training” in this article. He will provide examples of both types of training and explain their sources. Additionally, he will highlight the importance of using commonly agreed terms and definitions across the sector to avoid confusion.
What is the definition of statutory training?
Statutory training is training that is legally required or mandated by a regulatory body or specific legislation, such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 or the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Employers may refer to this training as "essential" or "compulsory" as it ensures that employees have the necessary knowledge to maintain a safe and healthy working environment for themselves and others. It is important to note that staff shortages or other factors related to unsustainable work pressures may affect one's ability to complete statutory training.
What are examples of statutory training?
In health and social care organisations, new employees are required to complete core health and safety awareness and training. This includes:
- Awareness of the local health and safety policy
- Control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH)
- Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences (RIDDOR)
- Fire safety awareness training
- Manual handling training
- Basic risk assessment training
- Annual updates in essential areas of fire safety
- Manual handling.
What are the sources of statutory training?
The purpose of statutory training is to assist organisations in fulfilling their legal obligations. Statutory training comes from crucial legislation, including:
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992
- The Data Protection Act 1998
- Mental Capacity Act 2005
- Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016
- The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000
- Public sector equalities duties.
Staff induction training programmes
When starting a new job, employees are typically expected to complete an induction programme within the first month of beginning work. During the first year of employment, staff members must complete any remaining statutory and mandatory training sessions not covered in their induction.
Attendance at these training sessions is usually a requirement outlined in the employee's terms and conditions.
What is the definition of mandatory training?
Mandatory training is a type of training that an organisation deems essential for the safe and efficient delivery of services, and staff must attend. Mandatory training aims to reduce organisational risks and comply with local or national policies and government guidelines.
It is worth noting that some organisations use the terms "essential" or "compulsory" training to refer to both mandatory and statutory training.
What are examples of mandatory training?
Mandatory training may include the following:
- Blood transfusion processes
- Child protection
- Clinical record keeping
- Complaints handling
- Conflict resolution (Managing violence and aggression)
- Display and screen equipment
- Dementia awareness
- Equality awareness and eliminating bullying and harassment
- Incident reporting
- Hand hygiene
- Hazardous substances
- Infection prevention and control
- Information governance
- Mental capacity and safeguarding adults
- Medicines handling and management
- Medical devices
- Patient slips, trips and falls
- Personal protective equipment
- Venous thromboembolism
- Raising concerns and whistleblowing
- Violence against women, domestic abuse & sexual violence.
Attending mandatory training
The employer should pay for mandatory training, and it should be undertaken during work time. According to ACAS, employees who started working for their employer after 6 April 2020 should have written terms in their employment contract specifying the training they must complete, including training their employer does not pay for. The employer may require employees to attend training or updates when not working, but they must give them the equivalent time off to compensate. Where employees work regular night shifts, their employer should consider this to ensure they can attend regular training updates.
It is important to note that any work-related training is considered "working time" under the Working Time Regulations 1998 and counts as work when calculating weekly hours.
Refresher statutory and mandatory training
Refresher courses are essential to ensure staff members are up-to-date with their mandatory training requirements. None of the professional bodies specifies how often mandatory training must be completed. Registrants remain competent and trained.
It is the employer's responsibility to establish its protocols and policies regarding mandatory training, and it is a contractual obligation for staff members to follow these policies.
Common compliance training terminologies
In workplaces, there are various terms used to refer to compliance training related to both statutory and mandatory training. These terms are used by organisations to provide training to their staff.
"Mandatory training" is essential for safe and efficient service delivery and personal safety, which reduces organisational risks and complies with local policies and guidelines. It may include statutory training subjects.
"Statutory training" is the learning that all staff must undertake to ensure an organisation meets its legal obligations.
"Essential training" is a catch-all term used to describe both statutory and mandatory training because they are essential for the organisation.
"Compulsory training" is another catch-all term used to describe both statutory and mandatory training, making it clear that staff must complete it.
"StatMand training" is an informal term that combines statutory and mandatory training. It is commonly used in the NHS and private healthcare settings.
In this article, the term "mandatory training" will be used to cover all these terms, including statutory training.
Agreeing on common terminologies
Training and compliance departments must agree upon common terminologies within their organisations. All training delivered within the organisation should be recorded and assessed to ensure it adheres to local and national requirements.
To plan and execute effective training, consider the following questions:
- How is mandatory training referred to in the organisation?
- Do all staff members understand the meaning of mandatory training?
- Which courses are currently included in statutory and mandatory training?
- How does the compliance and training department obtain the necessary information to plan and execute effective training?
Employer obligations for statutory and mandatory training
Employers have various frameworks to follow when providing mandatory training. These can differ based on the risks in the working environment, workforce needs, insurer standards, governance and legal frameworks, country-specific requirements, and considerations around equality and diversity.
For example, NHS Resolution establishes the risk management standards for the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts in the NHS. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) sets standards aligned with their inspection criteria. Employers must comply with these frameworks and ensure that staff receive mandatory training to perform their roles safely and efficiently.
Employee right to training time
Employees who work in organisations with 250 or more employees in England, Wales, and Scotland have the right to request a time for study or training. To make this request, the employee must have worked continuously for at least 26 weeks before applying.
However, the employer may refuse the request if they have a good business reason. The government website provides more information on training and study at work. Note that agency and bank workers do not have the statutory right to request time off for training or paid time off to study.
Essential training for agency and bank workers
For health and social care professionals who work as agency or bank workers, their contract with the temporary work agency should outline their right to access essential or mandatory training to ensure they work safely.
Common statutory and mandatory training subjects for agency and locum workers include the following:
- Data protection
- Health and safety at work
- Control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH)
- Fire safety awareness
- Infection prevention and control
- Manual handling/moving and handling
- Lone working
- Safeguarding vulnerable adults and children.
However, agency and bank workers are not entitled to the statutory right to request time off for training or paid time off to study as outlined in the government's guidance.
Other training for agency and bank workers
Locum/agency and bank staff generally receive free statutory and mandatory training, but any further career development training is self-funded. NHS Professionals (temporary NHS staff), agencies, and locum workers can access most of their training courses online.
The Mandatory Training Group provides support and career guidance. We also run live webinars, workshops and seminars.
Click here to browse the wide range of statutory and mandatory training courses for health and social care professionals.
Equality and diversity considerations for statutory and mandatory training
Employers are responsible for ensuring that statutory and mandatory training is designed and delivered to eliminate discrimination, harassment, and victimisation and promotes equal opportunities. This means employers must consider those protected under the Equality Act 2010 when providing such training.
Additionally, employers should ensure that training times, locations, and delivery are suitable and accessible for employees with disabilities and remove any physical barriers or provide extra equipment or aids as needed. To avoid preventing employees with religious beliefs or faith from attending mandatory training sessions, employers should avoid scheduling them on certain days of the week. Furthermore, any training policy and practice must avoid disadvantages or negative impacts on protected groups.
Those who share a protected characteristic under the Act and are experiencing discrimination must talk to their line manager, HR department or trade union representative.
For more information, refer to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission's publication, ‘Your rights to equality at work: training, development, promotion, and transfer’ (EHRC, 2011). You can contact the Equality Commission Northern Ireland for guidance if you are based in Northern Ireland.
Sources of further information about statutory/mandatory training
The following organisations provide additional information on statutory and mandatory training for health and social care workers in the UK:
- Equality Commission Northern Ireland
- Equality and Human Rights Commission (for England, Scotland and Wales)
- Health and Safety Executive
- National Careers Service
- NHS Careers
- Northern Ireland - Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council for Nursing and Midwifery
- Nursing and Midwifery Council
- RCN Nursing Workforce Standards
- Scotland - NHS Education for Scotland
- Skills for Health
- The Open University
- Universities and Colleges Admissions Service for the UK (UCAS)
- Wales - Learning@NHS Wales.
Throughout the UK, mandatory and statutory training is an integral part of delivering quality health care. Regardless of whether training is statutory or mandatory, every employee must complete appropriate training to comply with the law, keep themselves safe at work, and minimise risk.
Click here to see online courses and resources that will help comply with statutory and mandatory training requirements for health and social care professionals.
About the Mandatory Training Group
The Mandatory Training Group is one of the leading UK providers of CPDUK-accredited statutory and mandatory training, continuing professional development (CPD) courses, eLearning software and workforce development solutions for all sectors.
By making things simple and designing interactive e-learning content, we can provide meaningful training programs at all levels and enhance the capacity and resilience of individuals and organisations.
Click here to see our wide range of accredited health and social care courses and training programmes.
About Dr Richard Dune
Dr Richard Dune is a leading health and social care governance expert. Throughout his career, he has worked in various settings across the UK, including NHS Trusts, research and development, academic institutions, and private companies.
His work primarily focuses on developing, deploying and evaluating technologies, such as clinical decision support systems, educational technologies, workforce development and regulatory compliance solutions.
Dr Dune regularly writes about topical issues affecting the UK's health and social care sectors. Additionally, he speaks at conferences, stakeholder workshops, and professional forums. Dr Dune is also a research fellow at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire in the Research, Development and Innovation department. His other passions include content development, education, and coaching. Click here to read more articles by Dr Dune.
Related blog articles
Click on the links below to read more articles from our team:
References and resources
- Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (2023) - Employment contracts.
- Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (2023) - Getting paid for mandatory training.
- Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (2023) - Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.
- Equality and Human Rights Commission (2023) - Your Rights to Equality at Work: Training, Development, Promotion and Transfer.
- Health Safety Executive (2023) - Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).
- Health Safety Executive (2013) - RIDDOR - Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.
- HM Government (2023) - National Careers Service.
- HM Government (2023) - Rest breaks at work: Overview.
- HM Government (2023) - Training and study at work: your rights: Who can and cannot ask for time off to train.
- HM Government (2023) - Your rights: Discrimination at work.
- Royal College of Nursing (2023) - Unsustainable pressures.
Complete the form below to find out how we can help your organisation with regulatory compliance and governance, statutory and mandatory training, continuous professional development, learning management systems and educational technologies.