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An online witness seminar on one of the major changes to social care in the last decade

The Care Certificate was developed by Health Education England, Skills for Care and Skills for Health in response to The Cavendish Review that followed the public inquiry led by Robert Francis QC into abuse and neglect in Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust. Her Review exposed the variable (sometimes there was none) training and induction of the estimated 1.3 million health and care support workers and who deliver the bulk of hands-on care for people in care homes, people’s own homes and hospitals. The Care Certificate (referred to as the Certificate in Fundamental Care in the Cavendish Review) was introduced in April 2015 and sets out 15 standards that cover the knowledge, skills and behaviours that all new health and care support workers are expected, although not required, to attain or be working towards in their first 12 weeks of employment. It was described as ‘the first practical attempt to apply a common framework of occupational standards and competences across the entire field of health and social care’ (Payne, 2014 in iCroner) However, concerns were voiced at the time of implementation about its lack of formal accreditation, and risks of inconsistency. Payne observed ‘This is a fundamental weakness as it calls into question whether the changes required to implement the Care Certificate are worthwhile’.

As part of the Supporting Innovation in Adult Social Care (SASCI) research programme this webinar will consider the key themes of evidence and values, the roles played by political leaders and other key influencers, and how and why innovations spread and are sustained. More specifically we will consider:

  • Why was the idea of a Care Certificate accepted by government?
  • Who were the key influencers and what did they do?
  • Why was it not mandatory for everyone to undertake the Care Certificate?
  • Why was no external Quality Assurance built in?
  • Why has the Care Certificate spread and lasted?


Andy Tilden OBE

Andy Tilden retired as Director of Operations at Skills for Care in March 2021 having spent the previous year as Interim CEO. His role covered leadership and management, standards, the Care Certificate, learning qualifications and apprenticeships, recruitment and retention, workforce innovation and regulated professionals. He also had oversight of Affina OD a separate company within the Skills for Care group. Andy has been working in and around social care since the late 1970s. He initially qualified as a teacher and has worked as a residential care worker, a trainer and manager in the NHS and as a lecturer. He qualified as a social worker in 1984 and worked in juvenile justice, child protection and learning disability services. He served 3 years as a NICE Fellow. Andy is now Vice Chair and trustee of the RCN Covid Foundation, a trustee of Community Catalysts and a Non-Executive of Training Now which is part of the Agincare group. Andy is a Fellow of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and in 2021 he was awarded an OBE for services to social care.

Angelo Varetto

Angelo is Head of National Occupational Standards, Qualifications and Apprenticeships at Skills for Health. He has a background as a registered nurse and is the lead for the Care Certificate at Skills for Health. He was a member of the small team set up in early 2014, comprised of experts from Health Education England, Skills for Care and Skills for Health, that developed the standards that make-up the Care Certificate. Additional resources developed by Angelo and his colleagues to support the implementation of the Care Certificate included the guidance for assessors, the workbooks, the workbook presentations, the self-assessment form and later the e-learning resources.

Louise Thomson

Louise is Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. She is Course Director for the University’s MSc in Occupational Psychology and is herself a registered Practitioner Psychologist and Chartered Psychologist. Her research focuses on the effectiveness of interventions in reducing sickness absence and improving job retention; mental health at work; the implementation of evidence-based practice by health care professionals; and healthy and safe working conditions for healthcare staff and patients. Louise led the Evaluation of the Care Certificate commissioned by NIHR and which reported in 2018.


Professor Jill Manthorpe CBE

Jill is Professor of Social Work at King's College London and Director of the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, based in the Policy Institute. She was made CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2022 for services to social work and social care research. She works closely with several social care and health sector employers to link research, policy and practice and is a member of the SASCI research programme leading the workforce theme. Jill is also a member of the Social Work History Network committee and a Trustee of a major care provider charity.


Booking for this online-only event is via Eventbrite. Please be aware that this event will be recorded.

About witness seminars

This is the first in a series of three witness seminars being organised by the Supporting Adult Social Care Innovation Project (SASCI), led from the LSE, and involving Jill Manthorpe and Carl Purcell from the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce at King's.

Historical perspectives are vitally important to effective policymaking and the development of services for the public. A failure to learn from the past often leads to bold claims about ‘new’ ideas and ‘radical’ reforms which invariably just reinvent the wheel and fail to avoid past mistakes. Over recent years ‘witness seminars’ have provided an important means to try to improve our understanding of key events or a particular period of policy development within the bounds of living memory. Witness seminars typically bring together researchers, policymakers, people undertaking or affected by policies and other key individuals that have studied or played a more direct role in the development of particular policies, new social movements or service innovations. Contributors address a particular subject from their own perspective, drawing on their memories or records of the time.

The second seminar in this series focuses on social worker registration.

SASCI is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, as part of UK Research and Innovation (Research Grant Number ES/T001364/1) and led by the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre, LSE.

At this event

This online witness seminar, attended by 35 people, was on a key reform introduced in response to the Cavendish Review, which followed on from the Mid Stafforshire NHS public inquiry.

Speakers included Andy Tilden OBE, formerly at Skills for Care; Angelo Varetto from Skills for Health; and Dr Louise Thomson from the University of Nottingham.

This was the first in a series of three witness seminars being organised by the Supporting Adult Social Care Innovation Project (SASCI), led from the LSE, and involving Jill Manthorpe and Carl Purcell from the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce at King's. The next seminar in the series is: How did social worker registration in England come about? on 27 March 2023.

A transcript of the seminar is available:

Manthorpe, J., & Purcell, C. (Eds.) (2023). What Can we Learn from the Innovation of The Care Certificate? An Online Witness Seminar, 14th March 2023. NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, The Policy Institute, King's College London.

At this event

Jill Manthorpe

Professor Emerita of Social Work

Event details