While reviewing documentation in regards to training needs analysis recently, I came across an interesting piece of research carried out by the Health and Safety Executive and published in 2006.

In it, the researchers sought to evaluate training in violence management in the UK and find good practice advice.

The document emphasises in a very clear way the importance of adequate training needs analysis and the evaluation of training against the discovered needs in any business, and whether the training meets the learning outcomes from the analysis.

Interestingly, it also touches on the issue of accreditation and its rightful place in the decision-making process of a training commissioner when they seek to contract a training provider for their needs:

Accreditation of training programmes provides a sound benchmark against which training can be reviewed, however this does and should not exclude any training programmes from rigorous, systematic and independent evaluations. End user utility has to be the final arbiter of training effectiveness and not accreditation in purely educational terms.

Violence and aggression management training for trainers and managers:  

A national evaluation of the training provision in healthcare settings

Health and Safety Executive Research Report 440, 2006

Training commissioners would do well to focus on ‘end user utility’ and not simply rely on accreditation as a marker for the quality, appropriateness or relevance of any given training package.  The Health and Safety Executive itself says so, and it is probable that they would be the final judge of whether or not a training package delivered to a staff team was fit-for-purpose and suitable and sufficient for the control of risk.


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Gerard O’Dea is a conflict management, personal safety and physical interventions training consultant.  He is the training director for Dynamis, a specialist provider of personal safety and violence management programmes and the European Adviser for ‘Verbal Defense and Influence’, a global programme which addresses the spectrum of human conflict.  www.dynamis.training

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