National Occupational Standards (NOS)

NOS set out how different parts of a person's work should to be done and help to deliver high quality services for social care, early years and childcare.

What are NOS?


  • define the key functions of an occupation
  • describe the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to perform tasks effectively (e.g. nursery practitioner, social care manager, support worker)
  • are developed through consultation with employers and stakeholders and have official status in the UK
  • are reviewed regularly which means they evolve over time.
  • are approved by agencies working for UK government departments.

NOS for social care, early years and childcare

We work with employers, workers and service users to develop, maintain and update NOS in the social care, early years and childcare sectors. 

These include the standards for:

  • Health and social care
  • Children's care, learning and development
  • Commissioning, procurement and contracting for care services
  • Leadership and management of care services
  • Inspectors of services
  • Sensory services
  • Social work

We are developing a new area of the website for you to download the standards, this will be available soon.

For access to any of the standards in the meantime please contact  

NOS guide for social care, early years and childcare

NOS have many uses in the workplace. These include:

  • qualifications and training
  • career development
  • continuing professional development (CDP)
  • recruitment
  • performance management of the workforce and organisations.

We have a NOS guide that has advice and guidance on their use.

Last updated: 18 July 2018