Michael Guthrie, Director of Policy and Standards at the HCPC, talks about how occupational therapists can help shape HCPC’s CPD standards and audits in the future.
In July 2006, we introduced for the first time mandatory CPD requirements for OTs and the other professions we regulate. CPD had, of course, been considered an essential part of good professional practice long before then, but before 2006 it wasn’t a mandatory requirement to retain registration with us.
Developing those CPD standards was certainly a challenge. In 2004 we held 46 consultation meetings with our registrants to help develop our approach. The events were really well attended, in some cases vastly oversubscribed with some who attended opposed with us having any role in this area at all, but most just concerned, quite rightly, that we got this right and developed something which was workable for everyone.
Audits to check that the standards had been met, linked to continued registration, began from 2008 and to date we have now audited more than 11,000 registrants. When we first introduced the standards and audits, we made an assumption that the majority of registrants would already be doing CPD without any registration requirements in place, and so should meet our standards without too much difficultly. I am pleased to report that this has been the case. Looking at the outcomes of the OT audits since the first one in 2009, where an OT has participated in the audit, the vast majority by far have had their audit accepted. Less than a handful of OTs have failed to meet the CPD standards.
To my mind, this is very encouraging. It’s important for public confidence, for professionals’ confidence in each other, and for safe and effective practice, that professionals keep up to date. But it would be in no one’s best interests – the profession, employers, service users and us – if we saw large numbers leaving the Register for failing to meet the standards.
I believe that our role should be about the ‘carrot’, rather than the ‘stick’, setting standards and undertaking random audits which are about focusing everyone’s minds (not just those who might not comply) and encouraging everyone to think about their learning and development needs to undertake CPD that improves their practice.
Nine years on since we published the CPD standards, it’s time for us to review how the standards and audits are working. We are interested in finding out what our registrants think about the CPD standards and the audit process and how we might improve them. For example;
- We want to know whether the CPD standards might need to be strengthened in some way and whether registrants think the guidance we have produced is useful.
For those who have previously been audited, we want to know what the experience was like:
- What did they think about our correspondence?
- Was what we needed from them clear and easy to understand?
- What impact, if any, did the audit have on their CPD and practice?
We are working with a market research organisation, Qa research, to do this piece of work.
They are contacting some registrants by email to ask them to participate in an online survey. They will also be undertaking interviews and focus groups over the coming months.
If you would like to participate in the research and let us know what you think, please access the online survey.
The survey closes on Friday 27 February 2015. I am very grateful for your help.
If you missed the twitter #CPDClub chat hosted by Zoe Parker, Education Manager, on 6th February, don’t worry you can catch it here on storify: http://sfy.co/p0580