Endorsement criteria

Endorsement criteria for considering candidate credential specifications within the Centre’s approval and assurance process.

Updated June 2022; May 2023

Explanatory note 

The Centre uses its endorsement criteria to consider full draft (‘candidate’) credential specifications for its endorsement. The criteria are applied through an independent review process, involving reviewers who hold academic and relevant clinical expertise. They are numbered to follow on from the Centre’s ‘gateway criteria’. Guidance notes are included in italics to support the criteria’s use.

4. The candidate credential specification articulates the advanced practice capabilities required in the specific area of practice that is its focus.

4.1 It articulates capability requirements in ways that do the following: 

  • Relate to performing professional activities that are key to safe, effective patient care in the specific area of practice.
  • Align with the advanced practice capabilities across all areas of health and care practice (as set out in the Multi-professional Advanced Practice Framework published by Health Education England in 2017). 
  • Relate to managing clinical complexity, uncertainty, unpredictability and risk in the specific area of practice. 
  • Reflect the key features of academic level 7 learning.   

Guidance note

  • It should be clear how the area-specific capabilities map to the core capabilities for multi-professional advanced-level practice, as set out in the Multi-professional Advanced Practice Framework
  • It should be explained how the credential specification links to other advanced practice provision to enable practitioners to develop and demonstrate their fulfilment of all the advanced-level practice capabilities and that it is not appropriate for the credential specification to cover.  
  • A credential specification can specify the entrustable professional activity/activities that practitioners should be able to perform on successful completion of the defined unit of learning, where this seems helpful. However, this is not a requirement. 

5. The candidate credential specification is inclusive of professions that can safely and effectively contribute to meeting population/patient care needs in the area of practice.

5.1 It articulates capabilities that relate to the contribution of more than one profession.

5.2  It articulates capabilities in ways that are inclusive of the health and care professions that can safely and effectively contribute to meeting population/patient and service needs in the specific practice area.

5.3 It articulates the capabilities required for effective inter-professional/multi-disciplinary team-working and for fulfilling population/patient interests and needs.

  • The intended target group (i.e. the registered health and care professions for which the credential specification is designed as a workforce development intervention) should be clear. 
  • It should be clear how the credential specification addresses the development needs of all registered health and care professions that can safely, effectively and efficiently contribute to meeting population, patient and service delivery needs in the particular area at advanced practice level.  
  • It should be clear how the development needs of the defined target group can feasibly, safely and effectively be met through a singular unit of learning. 
  • Any pre- or co-requisites to engaging with the unit of learning (e.g. relating to professional qualification, prior learning and experience, concurrent learning and current practice and/or role) should be specified. 

6. The candidate credential specification is underpinned by a curriculum framework.

6.1 It includes a curriculum framework that defines the standardised unit of learning and assessment to develop and test the defined capabilities.

6.2 The curriculum framework sets out the following:  

  • The learning outcomes to be met.  
  • The required approach to learning and development activity to support fulfilment of the learning outcomes, including the supervision of learning in practice (reflecting NHS England’s Workplace Supervision for Advanced Clinical Practice guidance).
  • The indicative learning content (the syllabus).  
  • The indicative volume of learning effort to meet the learning outcomes.
  • The resources required to support and sustain effective learning.
  • How the learning outcomes should be assessed (including through workplace-based assessment) to test and demonstrate that they have been met.  

6.3 The curriculum framework does the following:  

  • Aligns with the intended scope and parameters of the candidate credential specification.
  • Provides sufficient specificity to have the prospect of achieving consistency in the credential specification’s delivery as a structured, standardised unit of learning.
  • Outlines requirements that fit with achieving high-quality learning, in terms of both learning experience and outcomes.
  • Avoids inhibiting education providers’ flexible approach, innovation and use of their expertise and resources in how they deliver the credential specification.   

6.4 The learning outcomes have the following characteristics:  

  • Relate directly to the capabilities to be developed for safe, effective practice in the specific area of practice.
  • Reflect the demands of advanced-level practice and therefore of level 7 learning.     
  • Reflect the scale, range and depth of learning to be developed and achieved, in line with the capabilities, while being proportionate and realistic in number.

6.5 The defined approach to assessment and more specific assessment requirements have the following characteristics:  

  • Enable the intended learning outcomes to be tested and demonstrated, with a focus on fulfilment of the specific capabilities that the unit of learning is designed to develop.
  • Are in line with the professional activities that practitioners should be able to perform as a result of completing the credential successfully.
  • Test the application of learning in clinical practice in ways that reflect the demands of advanced level practice and level 7 learning.
  • Form a proportionate assessment of the learning outcomes.
  • Contribute to the quality of practitioners’ learning experience and outcomes, including by providing feedback on their performance and including appropriate components of formative, self- and peer-assessment.  

6.6 The curriculum framework does the following:  

  • Draws on existing resources that can contribute to supporting workforce development in line with the defined learning outcomes and capabilities.
  • Encourages the development and use of new, innovative approaches to learning and development, including to be inclusive, accessible and responsive to practitioners’ different learning needs and practice environments.
  • Reflects current and projected priorities in health and social care, including in areas relating to population health; optimising timely, accessible care and supported patient self-management; the use of digital technologies; and new models of care.
  • Links to other credential specifications, that either already exist or are in development, with an explanation provided of how it builds on and links with these to optimise efficiencies in delivery and avoid unnecessary duplication.

Guidance note: 

  • The curriculum framework provided in the credential specification should provide sufficient detail to inspire all parties’ confidence in the consistent delivery of the unit of learning and assessment by different education providers, while avoiding prescriptive detail that would inhibit education providers using their expertise and discretion in how they deliver it, including to be responsive to different practitioners’ learning needs.   
  • The credential specification should reflect NHS England’s guidance on advanced practice workplace supervision: Workplace Supervision for Advanced Clinical Practice.

7. The candidate credential specification structures, supports and facilitates safe and effective workforce development and deployment.

7.1 It forms a practical, proportionate approach to workforce development at advanced practice level and upholds safe, effective patient care.
7.2 It supports workforce development and deployment across integrated care pathways (including across teams, agencies, sectors and settings) to meet population and patient care needs in safe, effective, timely and accessible ways.
7.3 It is clear whether and how the capabilities relate to particular health or care delivery settings, without negating the potential for their safe and effective application in a broader range of settings (subject to adherence to all legal, regulatory and safety requirements).
7.4 It can be delivered as an integral part of an educational programme (i.e. as a single module or series of linked modules) and on a free-standing basis.
7.5 It promotes and supports flexible, accessible approaches to workforce development, including from equality, diversity and inclusion perspectives.
7.6 It supports workforce development in sustainable ways.

Guidance note: 

  • It should be clear how the advanced-practice capabilities that the credential specification is designed to develop and assess align with current and projected population, patient, service delivery, workforce development and workforce deployment needs.  
  • As part of the above, it should be clear how the credential specification is designed to progress multiprofessional skill mix, innovations in role configuration and new models of care, including through developing practitioners’ ability to act as leaders and advocates for new approaches to service design and delivery.
  • It should be clear how the credential specification should support enhanced outcomes of care, achieve public benefit and increase efficiency in how services are provided. 

8. The candidate credential specification draws on and reflects contemporary research and evidence-based practice.

8.1 Its development has been informed by contemporary research and evidence-based practice in and relevant to the area of practice, service design/delivery and workforce/professional development.
8.2 Its design and delivery as a unit of learning and assessment require practitioners to engage critically with relevant contemporary research and the evidence base to inform their professional development and practice.

Guidance note:

  • It should be clear both how the credential specification’s development has been informed by relevant current research and evidence-based practice and how the specification, as a unit of learning and assessment, should develop and test individual practitioners’ critical engagement with relevant research and evidence-based practice.  
  • As part of the above, it should be clear that the credential specification is informed by and addresses particular area-specific characteristics, issues and trend; e.g. to do with research relating to cuttingedge practice, or a limited evidence base to underpin practice in the area.

9. The candidate credential specification is responsive to current/projected workforce development/deployment needs.

9.1 It contributes to increasing the responsiveness of workforce development to meeting current and projected workforce deployment needs.
9.2 It supports learning needs analysis and the identification of individual practitioners’ emergent learning needs and gaps and how these can be addressed in supportive, proportionate, enabling ways.
9.3 It takes a rigorous, proportionate approach to the assessment of practitioners’ learning and demonstration of their fulfilment of the defined capabilities.
9.4 It contributes to expanding workforce development opportunities and advanced practice workforce capacity in line with priorities in population, patient and service delivery needs.

Guidance note: 

  • It should be clear that the credential specification enables due flexibility and responsiveness to individual practitioners’ development needs, while defining a rigorous, robust approach in which all parties can have confidence. 
  • It should be clear how the credential specification will contribute to enhanced outcomes of care, public benefit and efficiencies in service delivery. 

10. The candidate credential specification has been developed through collaboration and consensus-building, with arrangements in place to secure on-going stakeholder feedback on its delivery, value and impact.

10.1 It reflects a shared view of the capabilities required for safe and effective practice in the area of practice, with differences of view moderated and addressed through enacting a consensus-building approach.
10.2 Its development has been informed by multi-professional/-disciplinary consultation on its approach and content, including with professions beyond those to which it is designed to apply, to

  • • Optimise the expertise brought to its development.
  • • Support and promote multi-disciplinary team-working.
  • • Build confidence in its rigour, relevance and value.

10.3 Opportunities for engagement and input (including via consultation) have been provided to all relevant stakeholders, including patient groups, with due account taken of the feedback received.
10.4 Its delivery and the review of its continuing currency and relevance will enable structured opportunities for stakeholder input and feedback including from patient groups and employers.

Guidance note: 

  • It should be clear how the credential specification has been developed through collaboration and consensus-building and how account has been taken of stakeholder feedback (including that from patients and employers). 
  • Broad indications should be given of how the quality, currency and value of the credential specification will be kept under review to ensure that it remains responsive to changing needs (e.g. in the context of expected shifts in models of care). 

Updated June 2022; May 2023