Workforce Development

Professional Development workforce development

What is Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and why should we do it?

Definition of CPD:

‘a range of learning activities through which health professionals maintain and develop throughout their career to ensure that they retain their capacity to practice safely, effectively and legally within their evolving scope of practice’'. (Health Care Professions Council (HCPC))

CPD is vital to ensure continued high quality support for service users and carers, to promote professional identity and confidence, to ensure that you remain up to date with professional developments and can adjust your practice in line with new evidence. It is about how you continue to consolidate your skills and evolve in a positive way during the course of your professional career.

The HCPC requires that all registered professionals:

  • Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities
  • Demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user (in the broadest sense, e.g. it could be a student, colleague, carer or actual user of social care services)
  • Upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the standards for CPD

Read more about the Standards of Continuing Professional Development on the HCPC website or in their CPD handbook

When you renew your registration (every 2 years) HCPC will randomly audit the CPD activities of 2.5 per cent of each sector of registered professionals (only those people who have been registered for the full 2 year period). If you are are chosen for audit you must submit a CPD profile to show how your CPD meets their standards. HCPC provide a specific pro forma for this and ask you to provide a summary of evidence rather than your whole portfolio. It is important that you maintain an ongoing portfolio of evidence as it must reflect work undertaken throughout the 2 year period and you must account for gaps of more than 3 months.

The HCPC ask to see a list of evidence covering the 2 year period with 1-2 activities every couple of months accounting for gaps of more than 3 months. Evidence can include training certificates, testimonials/feedback, presentations you have developed or supervision tools,pieces of reflective writing and evaluations of training courses you have attended. It must be anonymised. When you write your profile the HCPC ask that you focus on the best 5-6 of these activities. This does not mean that you only reflect on 5-6 activities in total - this is the HCPC minimum requirement. Social workers have a professional responsibility to ensure that their practice is up-to-date and is of benefit to service users so we need to be building in regular reflective time in our working week and spending some of this time writing down our thoughts and reflections on our learning.

It has been agreed that all qualified staff should have one hour per week protected CPD time, which must be agreed with line managers and can be used flexibly. It is the individual's responsibility to take the time and ensure they make good use of it. CPD time should include reflection, critical analysis, linking theory with practice, recording, and some short development activities as agreed in supervision/IPP, e.g. team reflective sessions. Attendance on training courses is not included but reflecting on/recording your learning from courses is, as it is no longer adequate just to record hours/days attendance.

If you are called for audit you will be notified, in writing, and have 3 months to submit your written profile and supporting evidence. Full details of what you need to do will be provided in the letter and can be found on the CPD webpages. It is possible to request a deferral if there are mitigating circumstance (evidence must be provided). If you are called for audit and need further support with please contact Hilary Hubbard -

Guidance on completing the profile and the pro forma can be found on the HCPC website.

The HCPC have published sample copies of completed profiles for Social Work, which you may find helpful to use as a reference.

If you need support to identify how to complete your CPD please visit our Examples of CPD activities page including details of the 5 broad categories of activities the HCPC require us to cover.

Frequently asked questions


Social work and the PCF

For social workers a new set of guidelines have been produced called the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) which serves as a backdrop to CPD. The PCF has been developed by social workers and is owned by The College of Social Work (TCSW) on behalf of the profession. The PCF has 9 domains and is divided into levels from pre-qualifying right through to senior management. The levels aim to reflect to the complexity of work that a social worker undertakes at various points in their career and can help you identify your learning and development needs.

The Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS) identify that PEs need to reflect on and evlaute their professional development and apply learning to their subsequent practice education experience. Further details can be found on TCSW webpage.

CPD for Practice Educators

TCSW recommends that all practice educators (PEs) should take full responsibility for a social work student at least once in every two year period. This is in line with HCPC registration requirements and PEs should regard this role as within their 'scope of practice' when it comes to their CPD. Therefore PEs should undertake and reflect on CPD activities linked to their work with social work students. Interventions with other learners, e.g. newly qualified social workers, should also be included but this on its own will not enable a PE to maintain their currency; they must work with a social work student in each two year period in order to do this. Individuals who do not do will find that they are no longer able support and assess social work students on placement and they will need to undertake a refresher course.

CPD for Occupational Therapists

OTs continue to be registered with HCPC and follow the same standards of CPD. The College of Occupational Therapists has a selection of CPD tools which practitioners may find helpful for guiding their CPD.

Tools for OTs