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CPD: a defining moment

Late last year NCE received a letter from David Greatrex (MICE Retired) in response to an article on continuing professional development (CPD) in the 14 December 2000 issue of Your Career.

'There was nothing in your article nor in ICE and ICE/DETR publications to suggest that Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is compulsory, ' Greatrex writes. 'However, ' he asserts, 'the ICE reservoirs committee is now insisting on formal interviews regarding CPD.

'When CPD became compulsory what notification was given to the membership, how many of the 60,000 ICE members - particularly those who are 'retired working' members - have been sent CPD demands and how many have been called for interview?'

We put these questions to the ICE, and it has responded with the following: 'Members of the Institution have a professional duty to develop the skills and knowledge base of themselves and of other members of the profession.

'The Institution's definition of CPD is widely drawn and not prescriptive so as to remain flexible enough to be relevant to all members at all stages of their careers. It is therefore for individual members to choose the approach to CPD which best suits their own aspirations and needs.

'Members should ensure their CPD is managed in such a way as to be credible to other interested parties and to bring credit upon the profession.

'The ICE does carry out random checks each year of about 1% of its members to see if they are keeping up to date with their CPD. However, as CPD is only encouraged and recommended, there is no formal reprimand if CPD is not up to date. However, the ICE would be surprised if any member could not demonstrate the minimum requirement of five days a year as CPD can be achieved by a range of activities; attending courses, reading journals, in-house presentations, self study or watching a video - even reading the NCE features could apply!

'In response to the particular issue raised regarding The reservoir committee. This group advises the secretary of state at the DETR regarding the suitability of those applying for membership of panels, established under the Reservoirs Act 1975, of engineers responsible for supervising and inspecting reservoirs covered by the Act. It has a statutory duty under the Act to satisfy itself regarding the capabilities of all those applying for appointment or re-appointment to these panels (appointments are for five years). Since applicants are required to keep up to date with all relevant developments in reservoir safety, the Committee asks applicants for details of CPD they have undertaken. It is only over the last year that the Reservoirs Committee has asked specifically for details of CPD, but there has always been an obligation on panel members to keep themselves up to date and therefore to maintain an appropriate level of CPD.

'All applicants for first appointment are interviewed as a matter of course. In instances where applicants for re-appointment have provided insufficient details about their CPD, or where their applications for reappointment reveal other matters requiring clarification, the Reservoirs Committee may ask them to attend an interview with members of the Committee so that it may be be satisfied about their suitability for re-appointment.'

Key points The ICE's definition of CPD is intended to be broad, flexible and of value to all members Members should ensure their CPD develops skill, value and knowledge within the industry while improving perceptions from outside Just 1% of ICE members are randomly tested to see if their CPD is up to date

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