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Mandatory vs. Voluntary


I would like to hear some opinions as regards to a Continuing professional education debate that has been going on for long now.
The issue is that of Mandatory vs. Voluntary participation to CPD activities. Which is the best method and on what basis should such a decision be taken from the institutes concerned?

Kevin Ciantar

3 Responses

  1. Framework good – rigidity not
    A mandatory process gains compliance but not necessarily committment. It is the latter which is needed if the full benefits of CPD are to be realised. So the question that then needs to be answered is how do you motivate someone to WANT to do CPD. This is an individual thing, pride in your work or long term employability, an opportunity for raging activists to develop their reflective traits.
    As managers and mentors we need to understand an individuals needs and then see how CPD can support them.
    the frameworks suggested by the various institutes give candidates something to ‘hang their hat on’ but the methods and the argument for what does or doesn’t count is futile. If a person can say what they have learned and more importantly what they will do with that learning to improve current/future performance then the tenets of CPD have surely been achieved

  2. CPD = development not activities
    A problem contributing to the dilemma you mention is that CPD is still treated by some institutes as if it is about ‘CPD activities’ rather than development. Rather than asking whether people are ‘doing CPD’ (a meaningless if comfortable question) it is more valid to ask whether they are continuing to develop, at least sufficiently to maintain a competent level of practice. Mandatory development perhaps yes, mandatory activities no. (For an example of how one body is tackling this, see

  3. Mandatory action, voluntary content
    Having been involved in professional institution debates as a ‘staffer’ in the past, and having watched other bodies tackle this one, I have found the answer lies in making some form of cpd mandatory, but leaving the form up to the individual. Relevant CPD will vary from individual to individual – bearing in mind their personal and career aspirations (with personal development being as much ‘cpd’ as professional development). So long as the individual is able to show they are engaged with some form of learning – and more particularly is then reflecting on that learning and how (or indeed whether) it meets their needs, then that is as far as I would go. Even if the learning failed to meet their intentions (but the individual considered why) then it would be OK. As such, the content, volume, hours, etc. will vary from person toperson.


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