NPA Core Competencies

The NPA Core Competency materials ‘Making Sure You have Got What it Takes’ (2017) are designed to be used as a programme of development for Portage Home Visitors, providing Portage services with a single framework of professional competencies.

The Core Competencies identify the skills and knowledge that need to be acquired in order to be recognised by the NPA as fully competent to deliver a quality Portage service to families.

The process of becoming a competent Portage Home Visitor involves two parts:

Part 1: Involves the successful completion of a Portage Workshop delivered by a NPA Accredited Trainer, followed by a period of supervised home visiting.

Part 2: Involves completion of the NPA Core Competencies overtime and through experience.

During this process the Portage Home Visitor will work with their Portage supervisor and a supporting Portage practitioner.

Completion of the Core Competencies is an ongoing supportive process based on the collation of evidence from your day to day work. It is designed to celebrate achievements and identify opportunities for further personal and professional development.

The principal purpose of this process is to ensure that quality Portage services are delivered to families by Portage Home Visitors, able to demonstrate a high level of competency.

Additional Information:

What do the NPA Core Competencies cover?

Overall a total of 33 core competencies have been identified, together with relevant learning outcomes and corresponding assessment criteria that will enable Portage Home Visitors to present evidence of their achievements.

The skills and knowledge required cover 5 key areas:

  • Family Partnership
  • Multi-agency Working
  • Planning, Recording & Sharing Activities in the Home
  • Continuing Personal Development
  • Continuing Professional Development

What are the Benefits of Completing the NPA Core Competencies?

There are several important benefits to Portage services from the use of a single framework of professional competencies.

Using the NPA Core Competencies will:

  • Establish national standards valid across Portage services.
  • Enable supervisors and managers to monitor progress of newly trained Portage Home Visitors in a structured way.
  • Enable Portage Home Visitors to monitor their own achievements and progress
  • Enable supervisors, managers and Portage Home Visitors to identify learning opportunities that need to be provided through appraisal and plan continuing professional and personal development.
  • Enable Portage Home Visitors to build up a portfolio of their achievements
  • Raise awareness of the skills and knowledge base of competent Portage Home Visitors
  • Enhance parental involvement through evidence they provide.

Who Supports with Completion of NPA Core Competencies?

Core Competencies for Portage Home Visitors is intended to be used by Portage service supervisors and managers to draw up a programme of development for newly trained Portage Home Visitors. Support to the newly trained Portage Home Visitor could be given by the Portage service supervisor and / or an experienced nominated peer but the overall responsibility for the completion of the process rests with the Portage service supervisor.

The introduction of this process is at the discretion of the Portage supervisor. Some may choose to introduce the materials as part of the induction process, while others may feel it is more appropriate to wait until the Portage Home Visitor has experience of their Portage role.

What does completion of NPA Core Competencies Involve?

The process involves the collation & presentation of evidence from Portage practice that demonstrates individual abilities in each of the competencies, divided into 5 key areas.

Evidence is presented in meetings between the Portage Home Visitor and the supervisor and/or supporting Portage practitioner. This can become part of the normal Portage supervision process, taking place within both individual supervision and team meetings.

The format of appropriate evidence is suggested by the specific assessment criteria detailed in the Core Competencies materials.  

For an example of the Learning Outcomes & Assessment Criteria for Family Partnership click here.

Evidence can be presented in any of the following ways:

  • from observed home visits
  • verbally during meetings,
  • in writing, as specified in the assessment criteria
  • within a reflective log.

A Record of Achievement must be completed for each competency and the Portage Hone Visitor may choose to compile a Portfolio of Evidence.

How Long does it take to Complete the NPA Core Competencies?

There is no time limit on the process which is an ongoing part of appraisal, personal and professional development as well as providing opportunities for celebrating success.

Where the process is likely to take a long time, it is important for the Portage supervisor to negotiate with the Portage Home Visitor small steps and short term goals to ensure a sense of achievement is maintained.