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CPD - Continuing Professional Development: Standards, Purpose, Accreditation


CPD - Continuing Professional Development

What is CPD?

In the broadest terms, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a phrase that signifies a commitment to lifelong learning. In other words: a dedication to the pursuit of knowledge and skills throughout one's life and professional career in order to remain effective and become increasingly competent.

Though the idea is not a new one, the adoption of a structured approach to this kind of learning is a relatively new one, which has grown in importance as employers and institutions have become more aware of its benefits. And this is why, in practical terms, CPD now refers more specifically to the learning activities that professionals undertake in order to develop their abilities and enhance their professionalism.

Though CPD standards and requirements will vary between industries as well as individual organisations, CPD activities can take a wide range of different forms, including training workshops, conferences, e-learning programmes, industry events and even simply knowledge-sharing sessions. Regardless of the specifics, what these will all have in common is the goal of helping an individual improve and develop in their professional role.

How does CPD work?

As mentioned above, CPD can be completed via a number of different activities that include:

  • Active learning (participation-based study such as lectures & workshops)
  • Reflective learning (non-active education such as podcasts, case studies, web articles)
  • Self-directed learning (reading documents & relevant publications in print or online)

In order to count as CPD, these need to be accredited by an independent body that sets standards against which the learning value of these activities is benchmarked and approved.

CPD accrediting bodies

Currently, there is no single responsible body that validates all forms of training & learning for CPD. Some professional bodies and institutes still accredit training providers operating in their specific sector.

CPD requirements for members of Chartered Institutes and Professional Organisations

ACCA - The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

According to their CPD requirements, members of ACCA must obtain at least 40 units of CPD per calendar year of relevant CPD learning activities, divided into 21 verifiable and 19 non-verifiable units. One unit is equal to one hour of learning. Exceptions include individuals who work under 770 hours per calendar year and members in permanent retirement. 

CMI - The Chartered Management Institute

The Chartered Management Institute's CPD policy is as follows: 

  • CPD is vital to a successful career and the Institute requires all members to make a commitment to their own professional development
  • Submission of a detailed CPD record is an integral and compulsory part of the Chartered Manager scheme
  • CPD is a self-owned and self-managed activity for which the individual is ultimately responsible
  • The Institute is not prescriptive as to the content, approach or effort an individual member puts into their development but offers advice and practical support.

CIPP - Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals

As of 2011, the CIPP as issued mandatory CPD for all Full and Fellow members of the Institute. The first mandatory declarations for CPD will be for members renewing their membership with effect from 1 January 2011.

CIM - Chartered Institute of Marketing

The Chartered Institute of Marketing requires members to obtain 35 hours of CPD per year. Of these, the combined hours claimed under categories 7, 8, 9 and 10 should not exceed 28 hours annually; excess of 35 hours may not be carried forward as a credit for the following year’s CPD; and participants are required to have supporting evidence of CPD. 

CII - Chartered Insurance Institute

The completion of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a condition of membership of the Chartered Insurance Institute for qualified members, who have committed to undertake CPD as part of membership, holding the following designations: Cert CII (Certificate in Insurance), Dip CII (Diploma in Insurance), ACII (Advanced Diploma in Insurance) and FCII (Fellowship).

CIPD - Chartered Institute of Professional Development

 All members of the CIPD are expected to engage in CPD and provide a record of their CPD. Development should be continuous in the sense that the professional should always be actively seeking improved performance. Each learner is responsible for their own CPD, however it is a requirement of membership and the CIPD will audit CPD activity. 

Last updated: 02 May 2016

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