Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – Comparing systems for lawyers and marketers

Posted on: August 22, 2016
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Sharpening the saw

Earlier this year I attended a seminar about the changes to the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) or Continuing Competence system for solicitors. It was interesting to compare it to the new system for marketers. “Sharpening the Saw”, listed in Stephen R Covey’s “Seven Habits of Successful People” means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you.

Changes to the solicitor system

In a nutshell, on 21 May 2014 the SRA Board agreed to implement a new approach to ensure solicitors remain competent to practice. This involves solicitors complying with Principle 5 in the SRA’s Code of Conduct 2011 and the requirement to provide a proper standard of service by:

  • reflecting on the quality of their practice by reference to our proposed Competence Statement for solicitors and addressing identified learning and development needs
  • making an annual declaration that they have considered their training needs and taken measures to maintain their competence
  • removing the current requirement that solicitors must undertake 16 hours of CPD annually.

The new approach will be implemented for all solicitors from 1 November 2016. However, solicitors have been moving to this new approach since 1 April 2015. There is a toolkit and webinar for solicitors on the web site http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/cpd.page

Under the new system, solicitors must review their training needs against the competency statement published in March 2015 http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/competence-statement.page (there are numerous categories including ethics, technical legal practice, working with other people including professional relations with clients and managing themselves and their own work), and plan, act on and reflect on their activities each year.

Solicitors then need to make a formal declaration that they have reviewed their learning and development needs and addressed them as part of the annual CPD. This is the same as the system for accountants who are members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW). Surveyors who are members of RICS still have to record 20 hours CPD each year on-line.

I thought at the time that as reflection was a critical component of learning – something that I try to address in all the public and in-house training workshops I present and in my coaching sessions – it was good that the new legal CPD included a reflective component.

Changes to the marketing system

So it was interesting when I came to tackle the CPD requirements for one of my professional bodies – The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). The CPD requirements seem somewhat more vigorous!

Affiliates and Associates of CIM must continue to complete 35 credits towards their CPD – the on-line system automatically calculates when enough credits are registered. Activities – for which evidence must be produced – can be:

  • formal learning (up to 100%),
  • professional activity (up to 50% learning and developing through others such as coaches and mentors or from organisations where you lecture, teach or write articles or attend exhibitions)
  • practice-based learning (up to 50% learning through experience)
  • self-directed learning (up to 25% and evidence is through links to research, articles or blogs) or
  • other (up to 15% – for example, voluntary work)

As a member, fellow and Chartered Marketer, I have an on-line account (MyCIM and MyCPD) where I must write and register on-line four reflective statements – these need to cover topics on what I expected to learn, what I learned, what I’ll do differently and the action/next steps.

These 350-450 word statements must link to the new professional marketing standards – so two must be based on the core standards and two on technical standards.

Core Standards

  • Insights, strategy and championing the customer

Technical Standards

  • Brand, integrated marketing communications, digital capability, value propositions, monitoring and measuring effectiveness, customer experience, channel to market/partnership marketing and reputation, risk and compliance

The CIM reviews a sample of these reflective statements to ensure that they comply with the established standards.

To become a Chartered Marketer you must:

  • Be either a member (MCIM) or Fellow (FCIM) for two consecutive years
  • Complete the reflective statements on a minimum of two core and two technical competencies during each CPD year for a minimum of two consecutive years
  • Complete the Chartered Marketer assessment. This will be available on completion of your second consecutive year of CPD.

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