All employers have regulatory responsibilities, such as the ‘Health and Safety at Work Act’ and care standards that require staff to have undertaken training to meet these requirements. Regulators and insurers will expect to see that staff have completed the training and are applying their knowledge and skills in their work. 

Terms you might see in your workplace:

Mandatory training – learning deemed essential for safe and efficient service delivery and personal safety, which reduces organisational risks and complies with local policies and/or government guidelines. It may also include statutory training.

Examples include:

  • fire safety
  • moving and handling
  • data protection
  • equality, diversity and inclusion
  • infection control.

Although mandatory training needs to be regularly updated, employers are free to set their own protocols and policies on it, with staff contractually obliged to follow.

Statutory training – learning that all staff must undertake to ensure an organisation is meeting its legislative duties.

Examples include:

  • 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.

“Essential” and “compulsory” are sometimes used as ‘catch-all’ terms to describe both statutory and mandatory training, making it clear that staff must complete it. ‘StatMand’ is an informal term, blending statutory and mandatory together.

Mandatory training ensures you have the knowledge and skills, both to deliver safe and effective care, and reduce the risk of harm to you, your nursing colleagues and importantly to your patients, families and the public. Back injuries, for example, were once common among nurses. But the provision of effective equipment and training in safe moving and handling of patients has reduced the incidence of back injuries significantly.

If you are employed as bank staff or by an agency, you need to ensure that you have accessed the mandatory training offered. When working in new settings, and with unfamiliar policies and procedures, you must seek guidance and training to ensure you are working safely in that environment.

As a registered nurse you are also required to undertake at least 35 hours CPD over three years. This is additional to any mandatory or statutory training that an organisation may provide. Only learning activities that are directly related to your scope of practice and professional development can be used as evidence for your hours of CPD for NMC revalidation purposes.

If you are unable to complete your mandatory training because the training is cancelled, or you have not been released from your work, it is very important that you keep a record. Career and pay progression could be stopped if you have not completed all mandatory training, so it is vital you have evidence if you believe that this was through no fault of your own. Contact your local RCN learning rep, or branch, if you have concerns about the provision of mandatory training in your organisation.

The RCN has more than 300 accredited safety representatives working across all health care sectors. They play a valuable role in supporting workforce health, safety and wellbeing and are a great source of support and advice on health and safety issues. Contact the RCN Customer Service Centre on 0345 772 6100 for more information or visit: