Social Care Ireland - Competency Framework

CPD – Don't know where to start? 

Try linking CPD with our Competence Development Framework


Our Competency Framework is a model that sets out a blueprint for excellence in performance within the disability sector. When we do not have a definition of what excellence looks like, the judgement of best practices may be more subjective.  Our competency framework exists to identify the personal attributes, competencies and skills required by all grades of staff to complete their role to the highest standard.

The NDA made a request of the Department of Health to develop an outcomes framework for the measurement of the new model of person-centred disability services (NDA 2016). During drafting these outcomes, the NDA consulted with people with intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities. The suggested list of the supports required to achieve the new model of person-centred disability services all relate to staffing competency and skill mix and include:

  • having the right staff to give good support
  • being involved in choosing the staff that supports you
  • having staff with the right skills and attitudes
  • having staff that know you well and understand you
  • having assistance with communication where that is needed
  • advocacy support

National Institute of Intellectual Disability Studies used the outcomes framework and developed this competence tool to allow organisations to align Professional competence development with Workforce Competence Development which includes meeting HIQA requirements, the organisation's policies, procedures, vision, values, goals, standards and objectives. Most importantly, to support people with Intellectual Disabilities to live the life they want to live.


Social Care Worker's Standards of Proficiency

The purpose of CORU regulations is primarily to protect the public. To this end, CORU will establish and maintain a register for Social Care Workers (SCW). Each SCW will be required to register with CORU from Nov 2023. Registration will require all SCW to develop a portfolio that CORU can randomly audit after 12 months of registration. The portfolio will showcase your record and evidence of engagement in training, practice and development (CPD) in line with Standards of Proveniences and Section 10 Code of Practice.

Given the demands on disability services to hire and upskill their workforce, our competency framework brings the worlds of practice, service users' expectations, policy, professional codes and standards, research and regulation into much closer proximity. The framework is presented as an interwoven, informed body of knowledge, providing a comprehensive detail of competencies required in all practice areas at all levels of an organisation to ensure a person-centred model and human rights-based approach. The framework has six common core practice areas and three practitioner levels, common to all professionals in the sector.  


  1. Person-centred practice
  2. Quality services
  3. Professionalism
  4. Safety
  5. Culture and Community
  6. Supervision, management and leadership 

Each area is equally important, independent and yet, interrelated. These core areas of knowledge and skill are multidisciplinary and recognise the progressive stages of professional competence, which is the second distinct element of the framework. 

The three practitioner levels are:

  1. Direct support staff, who are nurses, SCW and HCA's etc
  2. PICs - Persons in Charge or those directly supervising teams
  3. Registered Providers, including those participating in management (PPIMs)


Direct Support Workers

  • The right staff with the right attitudes are essential to helping people with disabilities to live fulfilling lives, such as promoting independent living, respecting autonomy, providing more freedom and allowing positive risk-taking.


  • Mapping learning activities to the various competencies it supports creates the opportunity for a clear comparison between before and after. Measurable improvements are critical to organisation progress, so aligning competencies with development activities can highlight areas of strength and weakness among the direct support workers.

Purchase our Competency Framework for Direct Support Workers - click here


Person in Charge

The Person in Charge is responsible for the effective governance, operational management and administration of the service. They actively contribute to and lead the practice and continuing professional and service developments. They have strong knowledge of evidence-based practices and have emerging management skills. The competency framework can support them in identifying the critical areas of practice required to meet their role and obligations as a Person In Charge.

Purchase our Competency Framework for Person in Charge - click here


Registered Provider

The Registered provider or those participating in management are responsible for service delivery and realising the organisation's vision while also holding their vision for the future. The competency frameworks can help maintain the highest levels of regulatory compliance through leadership, supervision, governance and oversight.

This framework can be used for workforce development strategy, for example.

  • For planning, competencies are applied in job design, which involves determining the job content, the requirements to carry out the job and the relationships between the job holder and other staff. In this context, competencies ensure that the attributes, skills and behaviours necessary to achieve the highest performance standards for a given job are specified.


  • For recruitment, competencies form an integral part of the selection process, facilitating the assessment of candidates to determine their suitability for a given job.


  • For performance management and staff development, competencies facilitate the establishment of performance standards against which staff will be assessed and the identification of individual and organisational-wide staff development priorities.


  • Commissioning training - to ensure the training is for purpose and achieves its objectives

The competency framework also includes CPD and supervision tools

Purchase our Competency Framework for Registered Providers - click here

SPECIAL OFFER - we are offering a 10% discount to all Members of Social Care Ireland

Discount Code - socialcareireland10 this is valid until 31st of December 2022

To purchase our Competency Framework - click here

For more information on our Competency Framework feel free to contact our Director Martha McGinn 

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Online Learning (eHub)

Our online EHub provides over a 1100 self-paced, multi-media bite size training programmes set against our Competency Professional Development Framework, available here at Your Fingertips.

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