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Polishing your portfolio

Don’t worry if the health professions council selects you for their CPD audit – with advanced planning it’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase your practice, says Gwyn Owen

Continuing professional development (CPD) is not a new phenomenon in physiotherapy.

An examination of past CSP codes of conduct and standards of practice shows that the societyhas always expected its members to engage in CPD.

We need to maintain and develop our competence in order to practise, and continually strive to develop our practice for the benefit of those using our services.

The CSP takes an outcomes-based approach to CPD.

Rather than focusing on the input (such as hours spent on CPD), the society expects members to demonstrate learning outcomes – in other words, how learning changes your practice.

With the Health Professions Council (HPC) renewal process and CPD audit about to start for physiotherapy registrants, you could be one of the small minority (2.5 per cent) selected to show how you meet these standards.

This article introduces the HPC’s Standards for CPD and explores how to show that your CPD, which is an integral part of your practice as a CSP member, meets the HPC’s standards.

In forthcoming issues of Frontline we will look at portfolio development and writing personal statements/profiles.

These skills are vital for the HPC audit, but are also valuable for sharing the added value of your practice with others (such as prospective employers, commissioners and service planners).

What do the HPC’s standards expect of registrants’ CPD?

In signing the declaration form to renew registration, you are, in effect, stating that you meet the standards of physiotherapy practice published by the council.

The standards for CPD state that registrants must:

  • maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities
  • demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice
  • seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery
  • seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user
  • on request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the standards for CPD


The first four standards are designed to promote good quality CPD.

You should be engaging in a variety of activities that produce learning outcomes and have a positive impact on the quality of your practice.  

Although these standards only apply to HPC registrants, they reflect the CSP’s expectations of members, found in principles 1.2, 2.1 and 4.1 of the CSP code (  

The fifth HPC standard outlines the expectations of the CPD audit process.

As part of their renewal process the HPC will randomly select a sample of 2.5 per cent of physiotherapy registrants, and they will receive an invitation to submit a written profile and portfolio of evidence.

These will be selected in the coming weeks, as registration reminders are mailed out.

HPC registration lasts two years, therefore the selected individuals will be asked to show how they have met the standards for CPD during the last two years of registration.

Individuals called to audit will be sent additional information about the audit process and timescales. This information is also available on the HPC’s website.

If requested to supply CPD information, this will be required by 30 April.

Next steps for HPC registrants

In anticipation of the call for HPC re-registration later this month, take some time out during the next fortnight to undertake a critical evaluation of your CPD to ensure that you meet the council’s CPD standards.

You should do this whether or not you are called to submit a profile for audit purposes, because engaging in CPD is an expectation of professional practice. The preparation process is a CPD activity in its own right.

You can also use the process to plan ahead – thinking critically about your CPD activity over the last two years could flag up some learning needs. Or it may help you to think about different ways of engaging in, recording and evaluating your CPD. fl

Top tips from registrants who took part in the HPC CPD audit in 2010

  • ‘Keep a CPD journal and try to write something in it every month.
  • It provided me with a very useful pond  from which to fish out the evidence I hoped would satisfy the assessors’
  • ‘The process was quite time-consuming because I had not kept  an  up to date record in terms of a list  of activities… so this took some time  to gather and list’
  • ‘Start it in plenty of time, and make sure you set aside some dedicated time to prepare your profile andevidence. The process takes much longer than you think’
  • ‘Think broadly about “evidence” to include. The HPC’s website explains  the sorts of things you could use.
  •  I submitted a document that showed how I worked with colleagues across disciplines, a scanned copy of a  thank-you card from a patient, feedback from GPs about our service, and a copy of an audit that Iworked on with a colleague’
  • Look at the sample profiles on the HPC’s website ( They’re really useful to get a sense of the themes or areas of development you could write about’
  •  I enjoyed the process. Information on the HPC’s website was really helpful in supporting my submission’.

How to use this article for your CPD

The activities in this box are designed to help you understand what the HPC renewal process and CPD audit means for your practice.

  • Follow the links from that page to check your contact details. It’s really important to make sure your address is up to date. This will reduce the risk of the HPC sending your renewal notice to an old address.
  • You will find a wealth of information about the HPC’s approach to CPD from this page, which includes: the CPD standards guidance about the CPD audit (downloadable brochure and video podcast) suggestions of what you could use as supporting evidence.
  • If you haven’t already, start making a chronological list of CPD you have undertaken during the past two years (that is the timescale the HPC will be looking at) or more (useful if you want to map how your career is developing over time).

Please think broadly about your CPD.

Learning can happen in a whole variety of ways, and is not confined to the workplace or classroom.

Have a look at the HPC’s list of suggestions at for ideas of CPD activity

A table might be helpful to organise the information in a way that’s logical and easy to read.

You could organise the information into 4 separate columns that relate directly to the standards:

  • date;
  • thumbnail sketch of CPD activity/event;
  • what you gained from the activity/event;
  • how that learning applies to your practice (current/future)

There is a template table available in the CSP’s CPD webfolio for you to process and store in your ePortfolio, download for use on your PC or to print off and complete by hand.

Look at the sample HPC profiles for a better understanding of what the HPC expects from registrants called to audit. 

CPD resources

For information, guidance, learning activities and tools to help you demonstrate how you meet the HPC’s and CSP’s expectations of your CPD, visit the CSP’s CPD webfolio (  

The webfolio is a mini-website that you access through your CSP ePortfolio account.

There, CSP’s Physiotherapy Framework describes the behaviours, knowledge and skills required for practice, and downloadable presentations, forms and other resources that you could use to support CPD.

Profile tools help you self-evaluate, record and evidence your development.

It also  links to the Championing CPD project which offers resources for CSP associate members, new graduates and members who are in/aspiring to advanced practice roles (

And check out CPD Syd (a fictional physiotherapist), who will be blogging about their experience of the HPC audit process.


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Article Information


Gwyn Owen

Issue date

1 February 2012

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