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Home > Your registration > Continuing professional development (CPD) > CPD FAQs


Our most frequently-asked questions about Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Why am I required to undertake CPD?
Under our legislation, (The Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 (article 19, 4)), we have a right to request that a registrant has undertaken continuing professional development (CPD) and has maintained a written record, including any supporting evidence of that CPD. CPD is an important part of continuing your registration and your continuing ability to use your professional title.

What happens if I fail to meet the requirements for CPD?
The Education and Training Committee, which is a statutory committee of Council, has the responsibility for registration and re-registration, has the right to refuse to renew a registrant’s registration or may direct the Registrar to remove the registrant’s name from the Register. This is under article 10(2)(b) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001. This process is covered in more detail later on this page.

What am I required to do when I re-register?
When you renew your registration, you declare that you have undertaken CPD, maintained a record of that CPD and have met the standards. You must also sign the declaration that you continue to practise and include the relevant fee. If we find that you have not met the necessary standards, we will give you a further opportunity to meet them within a prescribed time limit so long as you have made a genuine attempt to meet those standards. If you fail to meet those standards within the set time, we may remove you from the Register (although you have a right of appeal).

What type of activities will be acceptable for CPD?
You can complete a wide range of activities in order to meet the standards of Continuing Professional Development. Our assessors will be looking for a range of activities and evidence of how the learning outcomes achieved from those activities have been utilised in your service delivery and / or clinical practice. In essence, no one activity carries a greater weighting factor than another and the primary focus for you is to ensure that you complete a range of activities.

How is CPD linked to my fitness to practise?
Although within our legislation (Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001) there is no automatic link between CPD and fitness to practise (Part V of the Order), if your actions in relation to CPD amount to misconduct (for example making a false declaration or falsifying CPD records) this will lead to your fitness to practise being investigated. If, as a result, you are struck off the Register, you cannot apply to be registered again for at least five years.

What will I be required to complete?
In devising a workable scheme, we had to take into account the professions we currently regulate, and those which we might regulate in the future. We also took account of the fact that registrants may be clinicians, managers, educators, researchers etc, as we needed to ensure that the scheme was generic and flexible. You will be required to complete a portfolio which is a complete record of your CPD activities over a two year period and this should:

  • be updated regularly;
  • focus on a two-year period; and
  • be accurate and reflect the activities undertaken.

Should you be selected for audit, you will be required to submit a profile as a demonstration that your CPD activities have met the Standards.

The main parts of your CPD profile will be:

  • a summary of practice history for the last two years (maximum 500 words);
  • a statement of how the CPD Standards have been met (maximum 1500 words); and
  • evidence to support your statement.

In order to link CPD to re-registration, the request to submit your profile must be made by us at the time of renewal, and a time factor must be set in order for you to comply with the request.

I only work part-time; will I be required to complete the same amount of CPD as a full time employee?
All registrants irrespective of whether they work full-time, part-time, on a permanent or locum basis are required to meet the Standards (if they wish to remain registered and use the protected title) with the onus being on the individual to select which CPD activities best suit them and will allow them to meet the standards.

Will there be a number of recognised CPD hours or points required for continued registration?
We are not being prescriptive, and we do not suggest a set number of hours or points. The CPD assessors will be looking for the learning outcomes from the activities that you have undertaken and how these have been reflected in your clinical practice or service delivery.

I will be going on maternity leave. Will I still have to do CPD while not at work?
This information relates to any registrant considering remaining registered whilst on a career break. We have agreed a returners to practice process, which took effect from July 2006. This process means that you can take a break of up to two years and remain on the Register. In practise, this means that in order to renew your registration (which happens every two years) you need to have practised your profession at some point during the two year registration period which is coming to an end. This enables you to sign your professional declaration to say that you have 'practised your profession since your last renewal'.

We agreed this to take account of the fact that many registrants need to take a break in their practice in order to, for example, care for children or other relations. From 2008, we have been randomly auditing registrants to ensure that they meet our CPD standards, and if you are on a two year break from practice when you are audited, you can write to us and request that your audit be deferred, if you wish. Then, when you begin practising again, you can re-commence your CPD, and keep a record of it, ready for when you are audited the next time (which would happen automatically after a deferral).

If you are out of practice for more than two years, then we recommend that you should come off the Register, and reapply for registration when you wish to practise again. While you are not registered, there are obviously no CPD requirements for you to fulfil.

When you apply for re-registration, if you have been out of practice for more than two years, you will need to complete an updating period of 30 days before you apply. If you have been out of practice for more than five years, you will need to complete an updating period of 60 days before you apply. This updating period can be made up of any combination of supervised practice, formal study or private study, providing that private study comprises no more than half of the whole period. More information about these requirements is available on our website.

I am a lecturer and I’m in full-time employment with a university. HCPC has made it clear what CPD is expected of registrants but what would be required of registrants who are lecturers and therefore not doing the same 'hands-on' work as our contemporaries?
In order to remain registered and to use the protected title all registrants including clinicians, academics, researchers and managers must continue to meet the standards that have been set. These standards are how a registrant’s 'fitness to practise' is determined.

Every registrant is required to abide by these standards which are as follows:

  • The Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics
  • The Standards of Proficiency for their profession
  • The Standards of Continuing Professional Development.

I do not wish to become a member of my professional body who I know offer their own CPD courses and programmes. What is the best way to meet the HCPC requirements for CPD without becoming a member of my professional body?
You do not have to be a member of a professional body in order to meet the HCPC's Standards for CPD. In terms of the types of CPD activities, we have produced a suggested list (which is not exhaustive) from which you may wish to select those which best meet your needs. You may also choose to be a member of your own professional body and meet those requirements. This is at your own discretion and does not affect or influence your HCPC registration.

Does the HCPC recognise CPD conferences, workshops and seminars which take place outside of the UK?
You are able to choose from the suggested list of activities or source activities which you feel will allow you to meet our CPD standards. We do not maintain a list of suitable activities as the assessors will wish to see how you have utilised the learning outcomes from those activities and translated them into clinical practice and / or service delivery. Therefore if you can demonstrate you meet the standards, CPD can be done outside the UK.

What happens if, after assessment, my profile does not meet the CPD standards?
All registrants who have been selected for audit are required to submit a written profile showing how they have met the standards for continuing professional development (CPD). The CPD assessors will review your profile. If you have not fully met all the standards; you will be sent an assessment report explaining why and asking you to provide further information in relation to the standards which have not been met. You will then be given a deadline to provide the required further information.

What happens if, after being asked to provide further information, I still do not meet the CPD standards?
If you are asked to provide further information, you will be given additional time to present a CPD profile that meets the CPD standards. If, after the additional time, you still do not meet our standards, your name may be removed from the Register.

If that happens, you have a right of appeal against the decision. This will give you the opportunity to explain why you feel that the decision to remove you from the Register was unfair. If you decide to appeal, your name will remain on the Register until the appeals process has concluded. More detailed information about how to make an appeal can be found in the document ‘Making a registration appeal’.

Can HCPC make my employer dedicate resources and time to enable me to fulfil my CPD requirements?
Although our legislation, (Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001), gives us the power to, for example, protect professional titles, it does not give us any legal power to require employers to dedicate particular time or resources to CPD. However, we will undertake a communications campaign to ensure that employers know about our CPD processes and are encouraged to support it. We have no powers to provide funding for CPD or insist that employers fund CPD.

My employer refuses to support me in my CPD activities, what can the HCPC do?
We hope that through our communications campaign, employers will become aware of the substantial benefits of supporting their staff. In addition, this will have benefits in service delivery, recruitment and retention. Employers will be aware that CPD is compulsory for registrants and will therefore be required to make time and funding available, where necessary, to ensure that registrants are not removed from the Register.

How does the introduction of the National Health Services’ (NHS) Agenda for Change and Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) relate to HCPC’s CPD standards?
Our CPD standards are not explicitly linked to Agenda for Change which was implemented in October 2004 nor linked to the Knowledge and Skills Framework. This is because we are a UK-wide regulator and we regulate health and care professionals in a variety of settings including the NHS, private practise and education. Our CPD standards complement other frameworks whether profession specific, local or employer-based eg Lifelong learning is an important element of KSF which has similarities to CPD.

How did HCPC arrive at the standards for CPD?
In 2002, following an extensive public consultation, we took the decision to link CPD to re-registration. The response we received then supported the view that under the current system, at the point of registration we only took account of people's skills at the time at which they came onto the Register. Before we issue standards or guidance, we consult on our proposals. We do this because it is required by the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, but also because we believe it is important that we listen to, and take account of the views of our stakeholders.

In 2004, we presented our ideas about how we would link CPD with renewing registration. We published a consultation document on our website, sent it out to all registrants, and held 46 meetings in 22 locations all over the UK. At each meeting, we presented our ideas, and then received questions and comments from those attending. Over 6,500 registrants attended these meetings, and we benefited from a wide range of views and comments.

We then published a summary of the responses received from the consultation, and the decisions we had taken as a result. Whilst we know that the vast majority of registrants are already updating their skills there was no formal link to re-registration. This could also be viewed in line with a number of reports recently published, primarily from the NHS which viewed CPD as a good thing.

Regarding standard 1, how do you define ‘continuous’?
As a guide, we would suggest you undertake at least one CPD activity every two months. We would advise you to provide an explanation if there are gaps in your CPD activities of three or more consecutive months.

Related Documents
HCPC Your guide to our standards of continuing professional developmentAdobe PDF Document96kb

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