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Education and training standards, benchmarking and accreditation

A new version of the standards was published in June 2017. The standards were reviewed and updated by training professionals from across the health and care sector in collaboration with the Training Quality Improvement Team here at NHS Digital.

Version 6 incorporates a number of changes to the standards requirements, guidance and the attached tools and templates.

The standards have reduced from eight standards to six. Planning and LNA have now been combined into one standard as have Administration, Facilities and Equipment.

The scope of some of the standards has also increased:

  • Standard 1 not only looks at strategy but now includes service improvement
  • Standard 5 covers all training team members as opposed to just the facilitator role in the previous version
  • Reduction in the total number of requirements to 62 (version 6) from 75 (version 5)

The standards come with a number of templates and resources which can be accessed through the standards document (see page 5 of the standards document for instructions on how to access the templates and resources).

By applying the standards, any health and care training service (large or small) can be assured that they are following best practice and that the quality of their training delivery and all related activities are of a high standard.

In addition, the Education and Training Standards Online Benchmarking Application (ESOBA) enables Training Services to self-assess and benchmark their service.

E&T standards and lifecycle v2 Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

How to use the standards

Each of the six standards is divided into five levels (Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 Bronze, Level 4 Silver and Level 5 Gold), with each level comprising a number of individual requirements. The diagram indicates which standards relate to each stage of the training lifecycle. A training service can compare their current processes and activities against each requirement to assess their operating level.

For each requirement there are 3 possible responses:

  • Yes = The training service is delivering as per the requirement
  • No = The training service is not delivering part or all of the requirement
  • N/A = Not applicable to the training service

Use the navigation on the left to find out more about each of the standards. To access the standards, please provide your details.

Please note that Adobe version 7 or above is required to download the standards.

How to use ESOBA

The Education and Training Standards Online Benchmarking Application (ESOBA) is a free, web-based application which has been designed to support the standards self-assessment and benchmarking process. It provides the following benefits:

  • You can establish an initial benchmark for your training service against which progress can be measured
  • Action plans are developed as you work through the standards, which helps you identify where you can improve your training service and work towards meeting more of the requirements
  • Evidence can be uploaded to support your benchmark
  • This is a secure application, designed to run over the NHS network (and is free to NHS training services)

To use ESOBA, an application form must be completed by the Training Manager and returned to Once the form is submitted, a member of the TQI team will contact you to arrange a 30-minute training session. This will be conducted online using WebEx.

Please note: the training manager can ask another member of the training team to complete an online assessment on their behalf.

Training Service Accreditation

The Training Service Accreditation (TSA) scheme allows training services to be externally assessed by NHS Digital TSA assessors. The TQI team carry out a review of the self-assessment and a site visit, report on their findings and award the training service with a level of accreditation, valid for 2 years.

The TSA scheme provides a cost-effective and robust process by which the service being reviewed can drive forward change, achieve best value and improve its efficiency. It contributes to the promotion of a culture of excellence through the sharing of best practice amongst health and social care training services.

TSA can provide an assurance of competency in training to staff, managers, patients and customers, demonstrate that services are operating at a nationally recognised standard, stimulate innovation and provides training services with a clear development pathway as a service improvement tool.

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