Testing times: HCPC audit

In the first of a four-part series, CSP professional adviser Gwyn Owen looks at the impending HCPC CPD audit and examines how you can demonstrate the value and impact of your practice.

Physiotherapy registrants will be invited to renew their registration from 1 February to 30 April.
The renewal process invites registrants to sign a professional declaration to confirm that
  • they are still practising physiotherapy 
  • they continue to meet the Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) standards of practice 
  • there are no changes to health or conduct that would affect the safe and effective practice of physiotherapy 
As part of the renewal process, 2.5 per cent of registrants will be randomly selected to submit a profile and a supporting portfolio of evidence to show how they are meeting the HCPC’s standards for continuing professional development (CPD). 
The standards are designed to promote good quality CPD. They accommodate the rich variety of learning opportunities available in physiotherapy practice settings (Standard 2), and encourage us to demonstrate the value and impact of our CPD on the quality of what we can offer the people we work with (Standards 3 and 4). The relationship between the standards is shown in Figure 1.
Feedback from CSP members who have taken part in HCPC’s CPD audit suggests that the process of making the link between learning and practice was the most time-consuming aspect of the audit process. But it was also the most rewarding:
‘… As I worked through this process I started to see how my practice had changed over the past two years. That made it much easier to show how my CPD activity had contributed to my development, and its impact on the quality of my practice and on the service I am able to offer my patients. By the time I had finished, I felt quite proud of my achievements.’

Where do I start?

The first step in the process is to bring all the information and evidence you have about your CPD activity and your practice into one place.
While you may have been storing information about your CPD activity in a single space, it’s likely that the information and evidence about your practice will be found in a number of different places – in your job description and appraisal/performance review paperwork; in the thank you cards and feedback sheets you have received from patients, your colleagues and students you have worked with.
If you have been part of a piece of departmental project work, or part of a working group organising a physiotherapy stand at a local event, or a study day or conference, it’s likely that there will be some information in the records associated with those activities. 
As you start collating the information and evidence that describes your practice, look for evidence of how your physiotherapy practice has changed over the last two years (the timeframe of the HCPC CPD audit).
If you are looking for a structure to help you describe the change, it may be helpful to think of practice in terms of the behaviours (e.g. increased confidence), knowledge (e.g. new understanding) and skills (e.g. negotiation).
Make a list of the changes and don’t forget to keep a note of the snippets of information that demonstrates the change (those notes will be invaluable when you start work on writing your HCPC profile).
Once you have compiled your list, step back and take a moment to recognise (and celebrate) how your practice has changed. 

Making the links

Once you have a list of CPD activity and a list describing how your practice has changed, you can start making the links. It doesn’t really matter which list you start from – just find a starting place that feels right for you.
What’s important is that links are made and that you can evidence the value and impact of your learning in practice. 
It is likely that the process of making links will flag up CPD activities that are missing from your list. That informal conversation with a colleague in the corridor or feedback from a seminar or observed practice session for example – things you hadn’t realised were significant learning events at the time. Remember to add them to your list of CPD activities.
So if ‘that letter’ from the HCPC does hit your doormat next month you will have a complete log of CPD and a collection of information and evidence that will help you write a profile that shows how you are meeting HCPC’s standards for CPD.
The HCPC’s standards for CPD state that registrants must:
  1. maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities
  2. demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice
  3. seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery
  4. seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user 
  5. upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the standards for CPD


  • Gwyn Owen

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