CPD how - a toolkit

This toolkit answers the 'how?' of CPD and will help you to take ownership of your professional development.

Remember: it's not about what you put in - it's what you get out that counts!

This toolkit explains the stages of the CPD cycle and includes resources and a case study to help you. It also provides help on setting objectives and how you might record your development. 

CPD is a range of learning activities. As long as it helps you to maintain or enhance your capacity to practise legally, safely, ethically and effectively, then it counts toward you making a difference.

The College has designed a CPD cycle in four stages:


There is no end or beginning to the CPD cycle. Where you are when you start is not as important as taking the first step. To help demonstrate this, and because at this time of year its good practice to consider objectives for the year ahead, we begin with reflection.

CPD reflection

Reflection provides an opportunity to think back on your performance. 

This is an opportunity to be positive about what you have done well when undertaking your CPD, whether you were aware it was CPD or not. You should plan to record your reflections, including your successes, new or improved knowledge and consider how you can share this with colleagues.

It is also important in your reflections that you are able to be honest about things you think you are capable of doing better or differently if you face something similar again.

To help review your activity from now, you should keep a record of what you have done, or are in the process of doing. How you choose to record your CPD activities is up to you, but you must maintain the security of sensitive information at all times.

There are a number of ways that could help you reflect on your CPD activities:

  • reflect on and evaluate your CPD and work activities
  • ask for feedback from your supervisors, peers or colleagues
  • make a note of any informal feedback about your performance
  • complete a CPD summary for your line manager
  • complete a PDR
  • share what you've learnt with others

The above might reveal new learning and development opportunities that you had not previously considered.

CPD self-awareness

Self-awareness is about having an honest conversation with yourself and those around you about your strengths and areas where you could develop or gain more experience.

This could include requesting feedback from managers, peers and members of the community in which you serve. It is then beneficial to take an opportunity to share these strengths with others and consider how you can develop them further. You may be able to access other tools like psychometric tests or 360 feedback.

Psychometric tests are used by employers to help with selection and recruitment, and are typically split into personality or aptitude tests in numerical, verbal and diagrammatic reasoning. 360 feedback is meaningful feedback from people who an individual works with, including managers, direct reports and peers.

Self-awareness will help you to find the focus and aims of your development.

You can download a self-awareness questionnaire which may help you to reflect on your current strengths and areas you wish to develop.

CPD planning

To help you to achieve your development objectives it is helpful to make a plan.

Setting objectives as part of a development plan can help you to see what you need to do, motivate you to act and help you to measure your progress. Clear objectives help to ensure that CPD activities are relevant to your needs and those of your force.

The SMART framework is a way of ensuring that your objectives have meaning. SMART objectives are:

SpecificWhat do you want to be able to do?
MeasureableHow will you know once you have achieved it?
AchievableWill you be able to do it, or could other things impact on it?
RelevantIs it applicable to your professional development or your current role/roles?
TimelyWhen will you be able to achieve it?

See more information on how to write SMART objectives or targets.

CPD action

A CPD activity is any activity which helps to maintain or enhance your knowledge and skills.

In reality, what qualifies as an activity is very wide-ranging and includes informal, unplanned and spontaneous learning events. You may well be undertaking lots of CPD already and what you are required to do as part of your job also counts towards your CPD.

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