Government funding for NHS Security Officer Training
Here's a guide to claiming the 'government funding' available for NHS Security Officer Training, by Jim O'Dwyer, Senior Consultant at AEGIS Protective Services...
Quite often these days, when I offer Healthcare Security Officer Training to NHS Security Managers, I get told "There's no budget available".
So, I've done some digging and established that 'government funding' is apparently available and there's a strong case for taking prompt action to claim it.
Health Education England (HEE) is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) and an arm’s length body (ALB) of the Department of Health, responsible for providing system-wide leadership and oversight of workforce planning, education and training across England. The government provides HEE with an annual budget of about £5bn to spend on development of the NHS workforce and this includes ensuring that all NHS Staff have access to effective Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
As I understand it, HEE makes the government funding available to NHS bodies that apply for it and can demonstrate a need for it.
Demonstrating a 'need'
Demonstrating a 'need' for Healthcare Security Officer training and CPD should be fairly straight forward for Local Security Management Specialists, simply by offering a comparison of current security team training records against a 'full and sufficient' Risk Assessment of a Healthcare Security role, thus highlighting the (gaping!) 'knowledge and skills' gaps; and then supporting the case with details of the average number and nature of security incidents occurring and pointing out the realistic likelihood of a serious adverse incident happening, followed by compensation claims, a tarnished reputation and, potentially, criminal prosecution of the Trust and even imprisonment of the individual 'Person Responsible' (i.e. the member of the Trust Executive Board 'nominated' as being responsible for overseeing and providing strategic management and support for security management work within the organisation.)
Under S. 36/ 37 H&S at Work Act 1974, individuals within an organisation (including directors) can be charged with criminal offences where, through consent, connivance or neglect, they contribute significantly to serious harm occurring and, the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008, provides for the imprisonment of individuals convicted of a breach of sections 37, (or of sections 7 or 8) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 ("HSWA"), or regulations made under the HSWA. Magistrates can impose a sentence of up to 12 months imprisonment on any director, manager, secretary, or other similar officer of a corporate body (or person(s) who purported to act in that capacity) and a Crown Court can impose sentences of up to 2 years.
The 'threat' is real and should not be ignored. Over the past couple of years, HSE Inspectors have been displaying an increased zeal to prosecute the most senior individuals within organisations, as well as, the organisation itself when things have gone badly wrong. (More info)
SIA training on its own is not enough
The introduction of Security Industry Authority Licensing was accompanied by fanfare claims that the training required for an SIA licence incorporated the ‘Core Competencies’ needed to perform the role and that licensing ensured that private security operatives are ‘fit and proper’ persons who are properly trained and qualified to do their job. As a consequence, many employer organisations were led to believe that if an individual held a SIA Door Supervisor Licence, they did not require any further training to do the job.
However, it soon became clear that the SIA Licence linked training specification wasn't anything like sufficient to meet Health & Safety legislation requirements.
The SIA then helpfully clarified matters.
In the July 2007 edition of Security Management Today, Andy Drane, (Former) SIA Director of Compliance and Enforcement said: "We have always made it clear that the training required to obtain a licence is not necessarily all that's needed to carry out every security operative's role. The SIA has worked closely with industry to ensure that its specifications reflect a meaningful level of achievement, without setting the bar so high that it becomes an unjustified intervention in business or prohibitively expensive."
In the same article, Mr Drane went on to say: “Surely a sensible supplier doesn’t just accept a qualification as the only factor in deciding whether to employ (and then deploy) an individual? They also have a responsibility to ensure that they’re fit for the specific assignment and the needs of the customer. Clients who accept the provision of security personnel not able to meet their security needs are failing in their responsibility to protect their premises, stock, employees and customers.”
The SIA also began to 'qualify' training specifications with a caveat: “The training described in this specification outlines basic skills and knowledge required by a Door Supervisor and does not change the employer's legal obligations with regard to ensuring the safety and security of customers and employees. This includes the need for any additional training that a Door Supervisor may require that is identified via an employer's risk assessment of a particular venue or event.”
Provision of 'suitable and sufficient' training is an unavoidable legal requirement
Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees - including the provision of information, instruction, training and supervision.
Regulation 13 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (Capabilities and training) requires employers to ensure that employees are provided with training to a standard commensurate with the level of risk being faced and that the training (a) is repeated periodically where appropriate; (b) is adapted to take account of any new or changed risks to the health and safety of the employees concerned; and (c) takes place during working hours.
It's a 'Safeguarding' responsibility
Regulation 13(2) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, requires healthcare providers to have effective systems and processes to safeguard service users from suffering any form of abuse or improper treatment while receiving care and treatment. (Improper treatment includes discrimination or unlawful restraint, which includes inappropriate deprivation of liberty under the terms of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.) The accompanying CQC Guidance states: "As part of their induction, staff must receive safeguarding training that is relevant, and at a suitable level for their role. Training should be updated at appropriate intervals and should keep staff up to date and enable them to recognise different types of abuse and the ways they can report concerns."
Note: A CQC inspection can take place at any time and usually unannounced. CQC Inspectors will examine staff training records to establish what training staff have received.
It's a 'need' written into the NHS Constitution
The NHS Constitution defines the principles and values of the NHS in England and sets out rights to which patients, public and staff are entitled.
All NHS bodies, private and voluntary sector providers supplying NHS services are required by law to take account of the terms of the NHS Constitution in their decisions and actions.
Principle 3 of the NHS Constitution states: The NHS aspires to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism. It provides high quality care that is safe, effective and focused on patient experience; in the people it employs, and in the support, education, training and development they receive.
It's a 'right' explicitly defined in contract
The NHS Terms and Conditions of Service apply in full to all staff directly employed by NHS organisations (except very senior managers and staff within the remit of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body).
Section 6.12 states: Managers and staff will work together to fulfill agreed 'development plans'. Employers will (i.e. not may or can) encourage staff members to progress and develop and, where training and/or development needs have been identified and agreed, employers will (i.e. must) ensure sufficient financial support is provided.
It can't be put on hold
A lack of suitable training for Healthcare Security Officers can have catastrophic consequences for patients, staff and the organisation; and inadequate training can mean compensation claims are settled without any 'evidence' needing to be produced by the prosecution i.e. on the grounds of ‘Res ipsa loquitor’ – ‘the facts speak for themselves’.
The case of Dominic Harvey v Northumberland County Council 2003, confirmed that the 'duty' to provide staff with 'suitable and sufficient' training cannot be put on hold.
Would the Nursing and Midwifery Council Fitness to Practise Committee permit nursing staff to continue to practice if their training was inadequate or out-of-date?
Doesn't the same thinking apply to Healthcare Security Officers and for the same (i.e. harm prevention) reasons?
Suitable and sufficient training for Healthcare Security Officers
The AEGIS training programme for Healthcare Security Officers has been designed to meet a specification set by experts from the National Association for Healthcare Security (NAHS), following a detailed Health & Safety Risk Assessment of the role. The training content maps directly to the Security Industry Authority (SIA) Security Guard Licence-linked training and, in addition, incorporates further training that reflects the complexity of the duties and responsibilities of Healthcare Security Officers. The additional 'healthcare' related training more than doubles the scope of the SIA Programme! Modules 1-7 of the programme can be conducted online as e-learning. More Info.
The Healthcare Security Officer e-learning course was very informative and thorough and I enjoyed doing it, especially the legal aspects, well laid out and a wealth of information. I've learned more doing the course over a couple of months than I have working in the hospital for 10 years! I did a NVQ 2 in support in health care services back in 2008 which covered aspects of security, but it was nowhere near as comprehensive or informative as this course.Stephen Crownson, Security Officer, BTH NHS Foundation Trust,
I would definitely recommend this course to any SIA qualified security officers as an aid to their skills. Informative, enjoyable, well-structured and totally appropriate for the health care sector. Thank-you AEGIS, a brilliant course.Kevin Reid, Security Officer, Ashford and St Peter's Hospital,
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AEGIS Protective Services
T: 01202 773736