CPD Guidelines

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CPD Guidelines
What do you need to do?
Version 1 – May 2014
STEP’S CPD Guidelines
Continuing Professional Development
The STEP CPD scheme requires you to take 4 steps:
1. Consider your professional role and list your key responsibilities
2. Decide where you need to undertake learning activities to maintain, develop or improve knowledge
and skills
3. Select appropriate learning activities and undertake them
4. Evaluate and record how effective the activities were, considering their impact for you and your clients
or employer.
NB: The STEP CPD Centre provides several resources to support members in carrying out the
following steps, including ethics CPD content and some examples.
Fig. 1
Analyse your
needs against
your benchmark
Evaluate quality
of activities and
reflect on impact
Set your professional
role responsibilities
as your benchmark
Select & undertake
activities to
meet needs
Fig. 1 represents the ongoing, cyclical nature of professional development with your work role at the centre.
STEP’S CPD Guidelines
Continuing Professional Development
1. Consider your professional role – set your benchmark
If you have a job description, or can find a job description of a role you would like to have in future, the list
of required skills should form your starting point. If you don’t have a clear job description, you can list your
key responsibilities and the skills that you need to carry them out.
Your initial list doesn’t need to be detailed, but should include the skills that you feel are vital to meeting
the expectations of your clients and/or your organisation. If you feel the list is too long, prioritise the top
5-7 skills and focus on those. If you carry out different CPD activities to those you had planned, in different
areas, they can still be included in your record.
Members are encouraged to include responsibilities they would like to have as part of their career plans,
thus linking CPD to both “competence to practice” and career. All members should also include “ethical
behaviour” under their responsibilities.
2. Analyse your needs and set objectives
Reflect on your capability (skill or knowledge) in carrying out those responsibilities. This could be through selfanalysis, using the CiZone tool on www.step.org/cpd or discussion with a colleague.
Decide where you feel you need to:
Improve or update existing knowledge and skills
This could be to address a weakness you feel you have or to upgrade your skill or knowledge. Or you may
want to build on an existing base of knowledge to develop some expertise in a specialist area, for example.
Develop new knowledge or skills
You may need to develop some new capability to meet a newly acquired responsibility.
Having assessed your development needs now set some development objectives.
The areas to consider are certainly technical knowledge and ethics, but also business, management
/leadership and personal skills.
Members need to make a personal judgment on how much development they need to do using the benchmark
established in step 1, remembering that it should be proportionate to their role and needs and should enable them,
as a minimum, to meet the reasonable expectations of the client, whoever that might be.
3. Select and carry out activity
Decide the best way to meet the objectives (coaching, research, in-house update, conference update,
course, qualification etc.) and select the activities.
Monitor the status of the chosen activities. Ask yourself – “are they meeting my needs?”
Include at least one activity related to ethics (online course, conference workshop, reading articles).
NB: STEP plans to provide a CPD recording tool in the CPD Centre by the end of 2014.
STEP’S CPD Guidelines
Continuing Professional Development
4. Evaluate, reflect and record
You should evaluate how effective the activities have been. Would you use that type of activity again or choose
something different next time?
You should then reflect on the impact the learning has had, your own progress and any new needs arising and then
link back to step 2.
You may want to reflect on learning that was unplanned too – for example, managing a crisis can provide an
intensive learning experience.
Your thoughts on each activity should be included in your record, but members can choose the level of detail
appropriate for their employer.
Recording hours
If your regulator, employer or another professional body
requires you to manage your CPD in terms of hours, you
should include that as a measure on your CPD forms
(the planned online CPD recording tool will have a
facility to add hours against the learning activity).
The role benchmarking CPD scheme accommodates the
use of hours as a measure and ensures the hours you
spend are devoted to relevant learning activities.
STEP has chosen not to set a minimum number
of hours that members must invest in “formal”
or “structured” CPD, but the majority of balanced
CPD plans will include a mix of learning activities.
Your CPD should ideally be a mix of formal (structured)
and informal (unstructured) activities.
The following definitions and examples may
be useful.
Definitions and examples of Structured
or Formal CPD
“Structured” or “formal” CPD involves validation of
knowledge through discussion with others, or some
form of assessment to test what you’ve learnt. The
following activities are examples:
• Attendance at STEP branch events
• Attendance at conferences, seminars, webinars,
workshops, discussion meetings or similar events
involving active contributions, organised by
any provider
• In-house training sessions or technical updates
• Mentoring and coaching other practitioners
or potential practitioners
• Preparation of lectures, webinars or other
forms of presentation
• Writing books, articles or reviews for the benefit of
others, whether for internal or external publications/
websites. This includes writing
for the STEP Journal or other STEP publications.
Definition and examples of Unstructured
or Informal CPD
Any form of learning where there is no interaction with
other individuals or assessment is classified
as unstructured or informal CPD.
This would include:
• Use of learning media (online and offline) where
it is undertaken on a personal basis, in isolation and
without completing any form of assessment.
• Informal, personal research which does not result in
a report to clients, colleagues or any other possible
• Reading textbooks, articles or other written materials
that develop a practitioner’s skills
e.g. trade publications and industry news in
any format. The STEP Journal and newsletters
are included.
Accreditation of external CPD Providers
STEP does not currently accredit external events.
The onus is on individual members to judge whether
a particular event is relevant to their role and their
professional development needs.
Conference providers normally self-assess on an hourly
basis and members should ensure they have attended
for the whole conference, if they have chosen to record
hours and wish to claim the full number of CPD hours
for the event.
STEP’S CPD Guidelines
Continuing Professional Development
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the minimum number of hours/number of structured hours required by STEP?
STEP has chosen not to set a minimum number of hours that members must invest in CPD. A member’s
compliance with the CPD policy will be assessed by comparing their role (set in step 1 of the benchmarking
scheme), their identified training needs (step 2) and their records of activities that match or exceed.
What if I’m on maternity leave/long-term sick leave/have been made redundant?
Whilst you are on leave, there is no requirement for you to undertake CPD activities. On your return to work,
however, you and your employer need to ensure that you are ready to meet the reasonable expectations of clients.
To support your return to work, you might find the CPD resources, via the CPD Centre, the STEP Journal and
regular newsletters helpful. All are free to STEP members, worldwide.
Does in-house training count?
Whether you deliver in-house training yourself, or attend in-house briefings, you can include these as
CPD activities on your record. If you belong to other professional bodies that require you to measure the number of
hours undertaken, you should check whether they count preparation time as well as the time
taken to give a presentation.
© 2014, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners

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