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A new benchmark for outstanding healthcare training. What is the SfH Quality Mark?. The Skills for Health Quality Mark uniquely provides a framework for assuring the effective delivery of high quality learning and training to the health sector.

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what is the sfh quality mark
What is the SfH Quality Mark?
  • The Skills for Health Quality Mark uniquely provides a framework for assuring the effective delivery of high quality learning and training to the health sector.
  • The purpose of the Skills for Health Quality Mark is to give health employers greater confidence when investing in workforce development. The Skills for Health Quality Mark endorses the quality of the delivery of training and learning and its suitability for the health sector and makes it easier for employers to identify and select learning/training courses and providers of training.

“We believe this benchmark will help to set high standards for training in the health sector to benefit the delivery of patient care, now and in the future.”

John Rogers

Chief Executive, Skills for Health


Quality Mark - The Journey

October 2013 – The Launch

employer focus groups and on line questionnaire findings
Employer focus groups and on-line questionnaire– findings:

From consultation with employers, concerns were raised regarding the quality of Programme/Course delivery to the health sector

  • Main themes emerging:
    • Providers do not understand the health sector
    • Providers are not aware of practices, legislation and initiatives
    • Delivery and resources are not contextualised to the health sector
    • Training/teaching staff are not always competent
  • Employers want programme/course delivery endorsed NOT just the organisation
benefits of the quality mark for employers and commissioners
Benefits of the Quality Mark for employers and commissioners:
  • Provides assurance that the training purchased is high quality and value for money
  • Saves employers time – QM short cuts the research required to find the quality of provision needed
  • Ensures the delivery of skills and knowledge required is health sector specific
  • Contributes to productivity and

improved patient care

“In light of the recently published reports by Robert Francis QC, Sir Bruce Keogh and Professor Don Berwick, all of which emphasises the role of students and learners in relation to the quality of care for patients, the importance of assuring the quality of education delivery against standards in the Quality Mark will be highly welcomed.”

Jo Woolgar

Head of Quality & Intelligence

Health Education Kent, Surrey & Sussex

benefits of the quality mark
Benefits of the Quality Mark
  • Achievement of the Skills for Health Quality Mark recognises that providers of training and specific learning/training courses have met the high standards expected by health care employers. The Quality Mark will also assure that the staff delivering training have the right knowledge and skills and maintain these through continued professional development.

“It will instil employer and learner confidence in the

quality of teaching, learning and assessment that takes place at Preston College. This will have an impact on regional and national business development.”

Elaine Shahabeddin

Assistant Head, Health Professional Unit,

Preston College

benefits of the quality mark1
Benefits of the Quality Mark

The Skills for Health Quality Mark is also a benchmarking tool allowing training provider organisations to measure the quality of their own delivery with specific reference to the health sector. Holders of the Skills for Health Quality Mark will be able to use the Quality Mark logo on materials and advertising, demonstrating to employers that they have met the unique, health sector quality framework for learning and training.

“We want a situation where employers can feel confident

in the services they are purchasing and a situation

where the end user knows the person caring for and

supporting them is a professional who has the

skills required.”

Christian Wilkins

Beacon Education Partnerships

benefits of the quality mark2
Benefits of the Quality Mark
  • The Skills for Health Quality Mark will assure that providers demonstrate a deep understanding of the health sector and translate that into the design, delivery and impact of the learning/training courses they offer. Quality Mark holders will have shown a commitment to health specific provision in line with the needs of health sector employers.
  • The Skills for Health Quality Mark focuses on the key factors that underpin high quality teaching, learning and assessment but does not endorse the subject matter and content of programmes.
the quality mark assessor
The Quality Mark Assessor

The Quality Mark assessment will be carried out by trained Quality Mark assessors. These assessors will all have successfully completed the Skills for Health Quality Mark Assessor training course.

The Assessors will have the relevant knowledge, qualifications and experience needed to carry out the assessments.

Each assessment will be carried out by 2 QM assessors


Quality Mark – Assessment domains

  • There are four domains against which providers and programmes will be assessed and these are:
  • Ethics and Values – which includes attitudes and behaviours and health sector appropriate values to inform and drive the delivery of all programme activity
  • Health Sector Engagement/awareness – which includes how the provider ensures effective stakeholder partnership and/or research to ensure that provision meets defined employer and heath sector learning needs and therefore adds value to the patient/service user experience
  • Learning Excellence – which includes contextualisation, relevance added value and impact of learning provided to meet the needs and expectations of the health sector
  • Effectiveness of Quality Assurance Arrangements - which includes assessment of efficacy of quality systems and processes and demonstrable commitment to continuous improvement

Quality Mark Process: Application and validation

  • Stage 1:
  • Application and eligibility check
  • Stage 2:
  • Preliminary evaluation based on documentary evidence including survey results
  • On-line application
  • The QM team will review the application to validate the eligibility of the applicant (Applicant contacted within 10 working days of application)
  • Once contract is signed the applicant will provide completed evidence check list and examples of evidence at least 2 weeks prior to on-site visit
qm process check pre visit evidence
QM Process – Check pre-visit evidence
  • Stage 3:
  • On-site visit planned on documentary evidence
  • The QM Primary Assessor checks evidence, including surveys and prepares preliminary evaluation
  • The Secondary Assessor will review the evaluation and both assessors will prepare visit planner, this will include specific interview questions
  • The assessor will inform the provider at this time who they will want to interview on the day and any teaching observations to be carried out and additional documentation they may need to see.
qm process on site visit
QM Process – On-site visit
  • Stage 4:
  • On-site Visit
  • The on-site visit should be a minimum of 1 month from the receipt of the signed contract
  • The QM Assessors will:
  • Observer delivery of training
  • Interview:
    • Managers
    • Trainer/Assessors
    • Learners
    • Employers
qm process assessment report
QM Process – Assessment Report
  • Stage 5: Summary and decision-making
  • Assessment report is written by Primary Assessor
  • Report is quality assured by Secondary Assessor
  • Checked for accuracy by provider organisation
  • Sent to Review panel to ensure correct process has been carried out
  • Summary and d
qm process panel and final endorsement
QM Process – Panel and final endorsement
  • Stage 6: Panel and final endorsement
  • Stage 7:
  • Award and incorporation into SfH Quality Mark database
  • Members of the review panel will include:
  • Chair (member of Skills for Health Senior management Team)
  • Representative of Health Sector Employers
  • QM Assessor (not involved in assessment reviewed)
  • QM endorsed Training provider – The provider representative would be a senior manager and would not be in direct competition with the assessed organisation

Links to the on-line database will be on both the SfH and NSA website


Monitoring the Quality Mark

  • The Quality Mark is awarded for a 1 year term. There is a reduced fee for annual renewal.
  • Providers must update the QM team with any major changes to their organisation e.g. change of assessors, management or changes to programmes delivered.
what happens if the quality mark is not awarded
What happens if the Quality Mark is not awarded?
  • The QM assessor will provide feedback including areas for improvement
  • If a provider is unhappy with the decision they have a right of appeal
  • QM Assessor may suggest additional support/consultancy
  • Organisations can reapply within 3 months
what happens if the quality mark is not awarded1
What happens if the Quality Mark is not awarded?
  • The QM assessor will provide feedback including areas for improvement
  • If a provider is unhappy with the decision they have a right of appeal
  • QM Assessor may suggest additional support/consultancy
  • Organisations can reapply within 3 months
elaine shahabeddin assistant head preston s college
Elaine Shahabeddin

Assistant Head

Preston’s College


Key Quality Drivers:

  • Ofsted
  • Common Inspection Framework
  • Awarding Bodies
  • Sector Skills Council
  • Sector specific legislation
  • Self assessment/internal quality cycles

TLA is videoed to standardise and share best practice

Embraced new initiatives in TLA and is proactive in the use of technology

Forward thinking college

DOMAIN 1 Effectiveness of Quality Assurance Arrangements

Dedicated , updated professional team

Fluid self assessment strategies in place

Robust extensive quality assurance procedures

Comprehensive CPD programme for all staff

TLA sessions were of a high standard

Learner Voice forum


Very high regard for the quality of the teaching and learning including support

Excellent track record with engagement with employers within the sector

Design and deliver appropriate and valuable training

DOMAIN 2 Health Sector Engagement and Awareness

Consistent and continuous quality assurance

Effective partnerships with health sector employers

Very accommodating and flexible with delivery and assessment

Kudos with learners due to being able to constantly use practical experience and examples

Ongoing feedback to employers and learners

Excellent knowledge of the wider health and social care sector


Dedicated support for learners with ALN and specialised learning resources

Mock surgery with medical equipment, allowing learners to practice therefore improving confidence

Tailored information, advice and guidance

DOMAIN 3 Learning Excellence

Person centred values embedded and incorporated in all learning

Learning that impacts on career and progression opportunities

Employer ability to give feedback formally through evaluations and informally through meetings with assessors

Regular formal and informal teaching observations, which encourage reflection to share best practice

High quality of teaching and learning contributed to job satisfaction

The team are close knit and work effectively as the Health Professional Unit


Incorporation of person centred values in learning resources and materials

Training undertaken in customer services

Realistic expectations of learner and team of quality standards

DOMAIN 4 Ethics and Values

Continued professionalism and courtesy extended to all

Promotion of exemplary behaviour from staff and learners

Policies relating to safeguarding, confidentiality and equality and diversity incorporated into teaching and assessment

Regular team meetings and standardisation meetings held to continually update with changes in legislation

Teaching and assessment driven by sector specific industry professionals

Code of conduct cascaded to learners and visible within the College


Enabled and assisted with Regional growth

Staff are highly motivated with increased levels of morale

Enabled us to achieve through a combined team effort

What has it meant to us?

Has instilled pride and recognition for the work we do

Has made us more brave and confident

Increased employer confidence, a benchmarking tool and opens the door to engagement

Increased learner confidence= ‘the best of the best’ ‘the only provider to have it’

Marketing and publicity tool to increase our provision further

contact details
Contact details

Anne Close – Project Specialist (Education)

Tel: 0191 229 3412

Mobile: 0791 7245 932

Email: anne.close@skillsforhealth.org.uk