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CPD – Some questions answered

There has been a little confusion about why there are different CPD organisations each charging different amounts for training centres to offer their accreditation. So, Pete Richardson asked a spokesperson for the CPD Research Group what’s going on. Note - The CPD Standards Office evolved from the work of the CPD Research Group.



PR: Is there a single nationally recognised CPD accrediting organisation?

CPD RG: Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is unusual within the educational arena as it is not directly overseen by the Government’s department of Education. Instead it is governed by the various professional bodies and institutes within each industry sector – and there are approximately 2000 of these within the UK alone. This lack of central Government regulation means that there is not a national level CPD accreditation.

Over the past decade, the CPD Standards Office has emerged as the principally recognised CPD accreditation service across the UK. This is due to its foundations within its not-for-profit academic research, exclusive partnership with the CPD Institute and its ongoing research contributions to industry.

The Office is unique with its connections to the 2000 institutes and has an independent Expert Advisory Board where representatives of the professional bodies inform the assessment processes and ensure they meet the CPD policies in place for professional members.

The CPD Standards Office also works within Government lobbying for excellence in lifelong learning and is a strong voice in the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Skills and Education championing CPD opportunities across society.


PR: What are the key things to look for when assessing whether a CPD accredited course is "a good" one?

CPD RG: If a training activity has achieved CPD Standards Office accreditation then it demonstrates that the content is relevant to its title and is of a high quality, provides value for money, the learning experience is outstanding and that the learner will successfully achieve the learning outcomes detailed in the description.


PR: How detailed is the accreditation process of various CPD organisations – e.g. is there any auditing involved, assessment of teaching methods and materials etc?

We are unable to comment on the processes and procedures followed by other providers. Those utilised by the CPD Standards Office can be found below:

Due to its relationships with the professional institutes, and academic connections, the CPD Standards Office assessment process is transparent and thorough, up to date, and aligns to all forms of CPD policies and requirements. The accreditation is only granted when a CPDSO assessor fully understands the:

  • End to end learning experience of the delegate

  • The educational authority and experience of the providing organisation

  • The processes and procedures for keeping the content and learning experience up to date.

The assessment process involves an assessor undertaking a detailed appraisal of the teaching methods, online and hard copy training materials, and a full review of the evaluation methods employed.


PR: I'd like to understand the difference between the various CPD organisations - for example The CPD Group, yourselves and The CPD Certification Service for example?

It is difficult to professionally comment on other CPD accreditation services. From our market knowledge and understanding of advertising it is understood that:

The assessment process of the CPD Certification Service utilises a simple check list devised originally for the construction sector (where this certification service started and is still mainly prominent) and is therefore unlikely to be fully relevant on a pan-industry level. It is also advertised as being completed within a 2-week period.

The CPD Group was set up by an IT company in 2017 to offer free accreditation logos to its resellers. From there, it took its free offering online. The assessment process appears to be light touch and granted immediately.

Neither the CPD Certification Service or the CPD Group have formal relationships with the professional institutes, universities or Government organisations.


PR CONCLUSION: It seems like there are lots of CPD organisations offering different levels of assessment of the organisations offering the actual “CPRD Accredited” training. Some are more rigorous than others in making sure the training you get is up to scratch for the requirements. So why not ask the training provider which CPD organisation they are accredited with then do some research yourself to see how valuable this might be?

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