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To CPD or not to CPD?


Prof. David Manning (Newcastle), Professional SecretaryProfessional Secretary, David Manning, says Continuing Professional Development is for everyone…

Geoscientist 19.3 March 2009

 “…a small number have expressed the view that CPD is not relevant for them - either because of their seniority, or because they are retired. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

As many Fellows will know, reorganisation of the Chartership process has given us the opportunity to refresh our cohort of scrutineers. I have been very pleased by the tremendous response we received after we asked existing scrutineers to confirm that they wished to continue, and from other CGeols wishing to join their ranks. Many thanks to all concerned.

This exercise has also given us chance to examine the state of the Fellowship’s professional health. All potential Scrutineers have been asked to supply a copy of their CPD records, and the vast majority have done this. So we can be confident that the Society’s CPD system works, overall, and that most professional geologists use it in the way intended. However, a small number of potential scrutineers have, for one reason or another, expressed the view that CPD is not relevant to them - either because of their seniority, or because they are retired. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the Society, we award CSci and EurGeol status, as well as CGeol. Both of these require an up-to-date CPD record for continued validation. It is anomalous that CGeol lacks this requirement, although that is the status quo. For Fellows who have retired, but who continue to engage in consultancy activity, it is vital that clients can be sure that he or she is keeping up to date with developments in the profession - be they regulatory, technical or academic. For those in very senior positions, a significant proportion of CPD can quite reasonably involve professional development that relates to specific needs of those positions, which often involve high-level business activities and may lie outside the technical domain of geology.

The current on-line system of reporting CPD may have its quirks, but the vast majority manage to grapple with it successfully. The biggest difficulty facing you perhaps lies in deciding what ‘counts’ as CPD. It is not just attending courses - far from it. Allowable CPD activity covers many of those that would ‘count’ within an employer’s appraisal scheme and (where possible and appropriate, to avoid duplication of mental effort), the Society’s CPD report can include material used in an employer’s scheme.

As I said, the status quo for CGeol is that CPD is not compulsory at present. Other professional bodies are discussing the place of CPD for chartered members, and we need to do the same within the Geological Society. Once the new Chartership system settles down, we hope to address the issue of CPD. I would welcome correspondence from Fellows on this topic; my personal view is that CPD matters, and that we need to do all we can make our system easy to use so that there can be no excuses for not using it. What do you think?