February 2017

Dear Members,

Here at the CPDSO we , perhaps unsuprisingly, love CPD! So with Valentine’s day approaching we have written an article to express our love for the benefits of CPD no matter which CPD scheme delivers it.

Planning CPD:

CPD Schemes: outcomes, outputs and inputs – Why we love them all…

A CPD Scheme is terminology used by professional bodies to structure the CPD requirements for individual members. CPD Schemes can vary considerably between professional membership organisations (even in the same sector).

Here are three types of CPD schemes and what they mean:


  • Require an individual to gain a set number of CPD hours, points or credits to be achieved across a specified time period.


  • Require professionals to plan learning goals or objectives that are specific to their individual learning goals, and then undertake training activities to meet those goals.


  • This is a combination of inputs and outputs, where an individual professional can undertake a variety of training activities across a certain time period, AND must demonstrate how their learning has been applied and improved their professional practice.

Within these schemes, professional bodies use language such as ‘Verified’ vs. ‘Unverified’, ‘Unplanned’ vs. ‘Planned’ and ‘Structured’ vs ‘Unstructured’ to explain individuals must record their learning. Professionals who undertake a verified CPD will learn content which has been developed out of government policy. Planned CPD is defined by how professionals list their training courses in their yearly calendars. A structured scheme would have requirements such as having a minimum duration of 30 minutes, a requirement to be relevant to a job role and add to a professional’s knowledge or skills.

The professionalization of modern jobs roles

The shifting landscape of skills acquisition and professional development within the UK serves to highlight the increasing number of professional bodies that represent modern job roles.

In essence there is an increasing importance placed on ‘professionalisation’ of job roles. For example, the Institute of Parking Professionals (IPP) represents parking wardens, the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) promotes best practice in sports turf management.

These modern professional bodies are continuing to use CPD as a way of protecting the knowledge within a specific job market and so have developed their own CPD or lifelong learning policy which dictates a CPD Scheme for the members.

The CPDSO continues to work with all professional membership organisations to keep abreast of changes in their CPD policies. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) for example is now providing chartered status CPD for its members. This means those looking to become a chartered professional in public relations is mandated to undertake a set number of hours of CPD per year. More information can be found on the CPD Standards website under ‘Sector Requirements’ and look out for our upcoming whitepaper exploring this subject in more depth, ‘Hold on Tight it’s a rollercoaster of change’ which we will be releasing in the coming month.

Love CPD and the debate

It is difficult to determine which CPD Scheme is most effective with some arguing in the professional membership community that an inputs based CPD scheme, i.e. a set number of learning hours per year, is simply a measure of activity and does not guarantee positive learning results.  Whilst an output or outcomes based scheme are argued to give little structure for keen young professionals who may need more structure and guidance in choosing the right CPD.

In the CPDSO whitepaper mentioned, it is argued: “From a scientific perspective, it is notoriously difficult to measure learning impact and the tangible outcomes from individuals undertaking CPD activities.  Hence, without hard empirical evidence, the input / output debate is indulgent, the simple requirement for an individual to undertake CPD – in whatever form or recording application – is a sensible, pragmatic approach that ensures that a level of ongoing training is undertaken by a profession, which in turn keeps their skills and knowledge up to date.”

What we know is that accredited CPD activities should maintain and improve, the quality of a professional service and the standards of work carried out. Accredited CPD activities should be kept up-to-date and demonstrate competence in all work a professional carries out. It should state what a professional does well, address areas requiring improvement and demonstrate that they are exploring new knowledge, skills and behaviors.

We love CPD because whichever CPD scheme is chosen it will continue to promote the philosophy of lifelong learning.

If you have any questions regarding your membership with us, please do not hesitate to call us on 0203 745 6463

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind Regards,