18 October 2016

Have you been selected for a CPD audit? - Part One

 We put some of our more commonly asked questions from registrants about continuing professional development (CPD) and the HCPC audit process to three of our CPD Assessors Felicity Court, Dr Mick Harper and Emma Barclay. Here’s what they had to say.

What are your top tips for Registrants who have been selected for audit and who are about to embark on the process of submitting their CPD profile?

•  Firstly, it’s important not to panic. The process is not designed to catch you out. Before you begin, have a look on the HCPC website as there is a lot of great information to help you including sample profiles and video tutorials. And make sure that you refer to the ‘CPD and your registration’ document.

•  This is your chance to reflect on your learning over the last 2 years. You'll probably surprise yourself at how much you have done and learnt. Read the guidance carefully to ensure you send everything required in and take time to select a variety of activities to best demonstrate how you've met the 5 standards for CPD (link to standards). You should have a long list of all of your CPD activities that span the last two years (standard 1).

•  But ultimately less is more, select 3-4 examples of CPD activities from your list, make sure they are different types of CPD activities (standard 2) and then discuss them in relation to standards 3 and 4. Standard 5 is complete when you submit your profile.

Have you noted any improvements to the quality of profiles received?

•  The standard has always been high and we have seen it improve with each two yearly ‘round’ of assessment. A change is that the number of CPD profiles submitted electronically has increased considerably.

•  Statistics show us that many registrants pass first time. However there are still a few registrants who make some simple easily avoidable mistakes.

•  To find out about the CPD Audit facts and figures, have a look at the recently published CPD Report 2013-15 and infographic.

What do you look for when assessing a CPD profile?

•  Firstly, that it is a genuine attempt to demonstrate the standards and conduct CPD. I look for a well-structured and easy to read profile. This helps me to pick out the evidence for each of the standards and be assured the registrant has met all the standards. Often ‘less is more’. Good profiles are just a few pages long.

•  If the profile contains a 2-year list of CPD activities that are a range of different types of learning I can immediately tick standards 1 and 2. Ideally around half a dozen examples usually gives the assessors a clear picture of how the registrant has benefited from the CPD activities to see how they meet Standards 3 and 4.

•  If a particular course for example has been useful it is sufficient to enclose evidence of attendance alongside a brief programme of what was covered. We do not need to see copies of every handout you were given over a 3 day period. 

•  Ultimately we are looking for evidence of your reflections on what you learned, how you feel it has benefitted your practice and ultimately helped your service users.

What common mistakes do you see when assessing CPD profiles?

•  Not keeping or providing a dated list of all CPD activities undertaken during the registration period as part of the submitted profile. It is obvious to assessors where registrants haven’t maintained their list and are filling it in from memory.

•  It can be really frustrating if a profile is well presented but without this list. The registrant will then have to be asked for further information by the assessors as we are unable to see evidence that the registrant has participated regularly in CPD and maintained a record of this.

•  Not explicitly describing the benefits that an activity has had to the registrant and to the service users they work with. Sometimes it seems that the registrant assumes the assessor will ‘read between the lines’ when in fact we need the registrant to state all the benefits however obvious they might seem to you.

•  Read standards 3 and 4 carefully and make sure your examples describe how you have met both of these standards. A registrant can sometimes focus on one more than another leading to a request for further information.

•  Secondly, sometimes registrants try to tell us too much and this dilutes the quality of their profile, remember to just select 3-4 CPD activities that span the 2-year cycle. Be explicit-how did that activity make you better in your role, how did it benefit service users and what service users were they?

There are a range of resources available to support registrants undertaking CPD on our dedicated webpages and on our YouTube channel, visit www.hcpc-uk.org/cpd.

04 October 2016

The role of the HCPC fitness to practise panel

Registered Paramedic Mark Woolcock explains that the fitness to practise panel is there to determine whether an HCPC registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired.

During a hearing, evidence is put forward by the HCPC and the registrant, and witnesses can be questioned. The panel will then listen, evaluate and place weight on the evidence it hears before deciding whether any action needs to be taken in order to protect the public.

The Panel doesn’t represent the HCPC and we act independently of them. A fitness to practise panel is made up of three members: A chairperson who leads the hearing and speaks for the panel, a lay person who is not registered with the HCPC and a registrant member from the same profession as the person being investigated.

My role as a paramedic registrant panel member is to evaluate all available information and evidence, and assist the panel in making an objective and informed decision. I feel it is a very privileged position to be in. I have great a responsibility to ensure continued public protection and confidence in the profession, while simultaneously providing an intuitive and empirical perspective to help understand the role of the registrant. My advice to anyone involved in a process is to always attend the hearing. The panel want to hear what everyone has to say and I cannot emphasise enough how much value the panel place on attendance.

The panel work usually starts months in advance; the Scheduling Team will sort out panel member’s availability. Once a date is confirmed, the office will ensure that no conflict of interest exists and that the panel members have no involvement with parties in the case.

Once confirmed, the papers will be sent out in good time. I do two readings: firstly when the papers have arrived so I can familiarise myself with the parties (again to finally ensure no conflict of interest) and also to obtain an understanding of the issues. My final reading is the day before the panel meets, and I find this enables me to have a really good handle on all of the information and details.

After every single hearing or panel activity I have been involved in, I am always left with a huge sense of contributing to a fair and just process and the sole objective is to allow the truth to be heard.
I applied for this role because I have a strong professional conscience and believe whole-heartedly in our profession and the people carrying out our role. It would be too easy to say my only objective was to ensure continued public safety, but I do believe strongly in ensuring that any registrant going through a fitness to practise process is supported and measured against only the most objective standard. I want registrants to believe the process is fair and just, and have confidence in the panel members experience and integrity.