All employers have regulatory responsibilities, such as the ‘Health and Safety at Work Act’ and care standards with which they  must comply. To meet these obligations staff must be provided with training that equips them with the necessary knowledge and skills to support a healthy safe work environment. 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. This training is intended to  reduce organisational risks and comply 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 updated regularly, employers are free to set their own protocols and policies on it. Staff are contractually obliged to follow these policies and protocols. 

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” can be 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 to deliver safe and effective care, and reduces the risk of harm to you, your nursing colleagues, your patients, their families and the public.  Back injuries, for example, were once common among nurses. However, the provision of effective equipment and training in the 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 must also undertake at least 35 hours CPD over three years, over and above any mandatory or statutory training that an organisation may provide. Only learning activities 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 our advice team for more information or visit: