There are a wide range of options available for recording your CPD.
STEP members are required to maintain a record of their CPD. This can be through an employer’s Learning and Development system, another professional body’s form or through using either a STEP CPD Record or the STEP CPD Planner.
STEP conducts ongoing reviews of members’ CPD records and may request to see them at any time during the year. If requested to submit a CPD record then a member should return their CPD record, plus the CPD Cover Sheet, within one month of the original request to [email protected].
What do you need to do?
The STEP CPD scheme requires you to take four steps:
- Consider your professional role and list your key responsibilities;
- Decide where you need to undertake learning to maintain or raise your knowledge or skill level;
- Select appropriate learning activities and undertake them;
- Evaluate and record how effective the activities were, their impact on you and your stakeholders.
STEP 1: Consider your professional role – set your benchmark
List your key responsibilities for your work role and the skills that you need to carry them out. Also include skills not in your current role but which you might wish to develop for your career.
Include the skills that you feel are vital to meeting the reasonable expectations of your clients and/or your organisation. 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.
STEP 2: Analyse your needs and set objectives
Reflect on your capability (skill or knowledge) in carrying out those responsibilities. This could be through self-analysis, 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
- Develop new knowledge or skills – you may need to develop some new capability to meet a newly acquired responsibility or to develop some expertise in a specialist area.
Having assessed your development needs now set some development objectives. The areas to consider are technical knowledge and ethics, but also business, management/leadership and personal skills.
STEP 3: Select and carry out activity
Decide the best way to meet the objectives (coaching, research, in-house update and discussion, conference update, reading, webinar, 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).
STEP 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 need arising and then link back to step 2.
You may want to reflect on learning that was unplanned too – for example, managing a crisis provides an intensive learning experience.
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 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 structured and unstructured learning activities.
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 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 audiences.
- 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.
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.