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Home > Your registration > Continuing professional development (CPD) > Our standards for continuing professional development

Our standards for continuing professional development

Continuing professional development (CPD) is an important part of your continuing registration. Our standards require all professionals registered with us to continue to develop their knowledge and skills while they are registered.

Our standards say that registrants (professionals registered with us) must:

1. maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities;

2. demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice;

3. seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery;

4. seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user; and

5. upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the standards for CPD.’

This means the following:

  • You must keep a record of your CPD, in whatever format is most convenient for you.
  • You must make sure your CPD is a mixture of different kinds of activities – not just one kind of learning – and that it’s relevant to your work. It could be relevant to your current role or to a planned future role.
  • You should aim for your CPD to improve the quality of your work. It may not actually improve your work, due to factors beyond your control, but when you choose your CPD activities you should intend for them to improve your work.
  • You should aim for your CPD to benefit service users. As above, you may not be able to make sure that this happens, but you should have the intention of benefiting service users. Depending on where and how you work, service users might include patients, clients, your team, or students.
  • If you are chosen for audit, you need to send us a CPD profile to show how you have met our standards.

The standards also mean the following

  • You can make your own decisions about the kinds of CPD activities that are relevant to your role and your work. For example, CPD activities could include going on secondment, in-service training, mentoring, or reading or reviewing journal articles.
  • You may decide that you could meet our standards by taking part in a scheme run by your professional body or your employer. You might add to this with other activities, or you could structure your own CPD activities around your personal development plan. Our standards give you the flexibility to plan your own CPD in a way that suits your work, your learning needs, your preferences, and the time and resources available to you.
  • Your development is now formally recognised as an important part of being registered. This gives individual health and care professionals or organisations the opportunity to campaign for greater support and recognition of your CPD activities, from your employers and other organisations.

A flexible approach
Our flexible approach means that your CPD can take account of how you work, whether part-time or full-time, whether in the NHS or in private practice, whether dealing with patients or in management, education or research (or anywhere else). Our standards mean that you can plan your CPD activity to take account of your changing needs. You just need to make sure that your CPD meets our standards.

Renewing your registration
When you renew your registration, you need to sign to confirm that you have met our standards for CPD. Each time a profession renews its registration, we audit a random sample of those professionals to make sure our standards are being met. If you are audited, we will write to you and ask you to send us information showing how you have met our CPD standards over the previous two years.

Further guidance

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Our latest continuing professional development audit results

Between 2013 and 2015 we audited the continuing professional development (CPD) of 8,164 registrants.

The results are now available in the CPD audit report, which contains statistics, insight and comments from assessors.

  • 80.8 per cent of profiles submitted were accepted
  • 9 out of 15 previously-audited professions showed an increase in the number of approved profiles
  • Only 0.3 per cent of the sample were removed from the Register