The Oliver McGowan Mandatory training on learning disability and autism

A briefing about the introduction of mandatory training on learning disability and autism for the health and social care workforce


Key messages

Background and the Trial

  • The training was developed as a result of Right to be Heard (2019) the Government’s response to the consultation on mandatory training on learning disability and autism for health and social care staff. The response included a commitment to develop a standardised training package.
  • The training is named after Oliver McGowan. Oliver was a young man whose death shone a light on the need for health and social care staff to have better skills, knowledge and understanding of the needs for autistic people and people with a learning disability.
  • Oliver was admitted to hospital with seizures. Oliver did not have a mental illness or psychosis, but he was given antipsychotic medication against his and his family's wishes. Oliver was intolerant to this medication and died. An independent Learning Disability Mortality Review review of his death identified it was potentially avoidable,
  • Olivers mother, Paula McGowan (OBE), campaigned for better understanding and training for the health and social care workforce, this resulted in funding being made available in 2021 where three training partners developed and trialled their training packages across health and social care. The training drew on existing best practice, the expertise of people with a learning disability, autistic people and family carers as well as subject matter experts
  • The National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) conducted an independent evaluation to understand what worked well.

Next Steps

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training

  • Tier 1 of the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism is for people who require general awareness of the support autistic people or people with a learning disability may need.
  • Tier 2 of the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism is for people who may need to provide care and support for autistic people or people with a learning disability.
  • Tier 1 training covers all the Tier 1 capabilities of the Core Capabilities Frameworks.
  • Tier 2 training covers only a selected number of Tier 2 capability learning outcomes from of the Core Capabilities Frameworks.
  • Tier 2 training includes Tier 1 material, so individuals only need to do one training package, either Tier 1 or Tier 2, whichever is most relevant to their role.
  • Employers need to continue to review the training needs of their staff and provide relevant training for each role.
  • The online interactive session and face to face training that you attend needs to be the standardised Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism package.
  • The elearning is now live. The online interactive sessions and face to face training are planned to commence in 2023. Updates can be found on the Health Education England webpage.

Compliance with the legislation

  • The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014: Regulation 18 has been updated by CQC to say: "Providers must ensure that all staff receive training in how to interact appropriately with people with a learning disability and autistic people, at a level appropriate to their role."
  • Whilst the Health and Social Care Act 2022 does not name The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training it will be for regulated providers to evidence compliance with the standards set out in the training and the Secretary of State issued guidance if they have sourced alternative training
  • Providers will be required to evidence compliance with this statement in relation to the competency of the workforce. 
  • Compliance will apply to any regulated service, not just those who actively work with people with a learning disability and autistic people, who may themselves need much more extensive training to meet individuals needs
  • At this moment compliance does not apply to Ofsted registered providers or social care staff working in unregulated services. However, it is good practice to ensure these staff are appropriately trained.
  • An FAQ about the new Health and Care Act requirement for mandatory training in learning disability and autism has now been published. This is regularly updated.

For councils

  • Ensure commissioners, providers (both in-house and commissioned), quality monitoring staff, safeguarding leads and workforce leads are aware of this new requirement, and the regulation updated by CQC: Regulation 18 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 and are using both the relevant core capability frameworks to underpin all workforce development.
  • Councils may wish to amend commissioning specifications and contracts for CQC regulated services to state the requirement to adhere to the Code of Practice once published and the updated CQC statutory regulations from the 1 July 2022.
  • In preparing for Adult Social Care assurance councils will want to consider and maintain sight of the Secretary of State guidance about the mandatory training as it develops. In particular:
    • councils could consider introducing the requirement for adult social care commissioned services not regulated by CQC, such as supported living where personal care is not being provided or day opportunities, to demonstrate that appropriate training is in place.
    • councils can lead by example by ensuring that all in-house services that are CQC registered have training to meet the regulation and capability frameworks and that social workers, OTs, and assessors that are working in adult social care, but not in a service regulated by CQC, have had up to date training that meets the regulation and capability frameworks.
    • During 22 / 23, Health Education England and NHS England will be supporting Integrated Care Boards to act locally to build up capacity with local training providers, especially focusing on people with lived experience. Local authorities and social care providers, self-advocacy groups and disabled people’s organisations may find it useful to explore with their local ICB (Integrated Care Board) how they can contribute to this. 

LGA comments – new burdens

The LGA is working with the government to identify any new financial burdens that may result from the new training requirement.

Useful resources