CPD countdown logoGet your CIPR CPD scheme submission in and claim your 60 points by the end of this month. If you haven’t quite finished this year’s record, Local Public Services (LPS) committee members are sharing their top tips to help you reach the finish line by 23:59 (GMT/UTC) on 29 February 2020. Yes, courtesy of the Leap Year, you have one extra day to make that submission!

If you’re not convinced as to why you should be doing professional development, LPS Vice-Chair Peter Holt says: “Pretty well every profession from medicine to the law, and accountancy to architecture has its own continuous professional development requirement for accredited practitioners, and Public Relations is no different.

“We all want to be respected as a profession, so it is in our hands to each make sure that we keep abreast of developments in best practice in our field, and show our own life-long commitment to learning and personal, professional development, as well as ensuring we are continually upskilling and adding to our skills so that we remain relevant.”

To show how easy, fun and surprisingly affordable it can be to earn your annual 60 points required under the CIPR’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme, our series of blogs and social media pieces contains our top tips and suggestions. Many of these activities are focused at communications professionals in the public sector, but are equally relevant to CIPR members in all sectors. Thanks to our CPD-lead Abha Thakor who is supporting members with their professional communications learning and putting together materials for this series. If you have resources you have found useful in your work, share them with us on social media or by email.

Remember, members need to complete two continuous years of CPD, achieving the 60 points in each year, to qualify for CIPR Accredited Practitioner. Annual submissions are needed to retain Chartered status too.

Training audit

Whether you set your CPD objectives at the beginning of the year or as you discover the themes you particularly enjoy or need to focus on, these objectives should guide your choice of suitable learning materials and activities. Members can pick three objectives from the CIPR scheme and tag any entry they make to them.

Abha Thakor, CPD-lead, says: “Writing your CPD goals is a great way to really focus on your personal learning needs and help show your organisation the importance of supporting those undertaking professional development. Working alongside members during the last 10 years, we have been able to help many map their interests in areas of development and skills growth. Members have often discovered routes into new roles and specialisms through this kind of professional development mapping.”

Consider wider training opportunities

“Your CPD does not all need to be CIPR generated training,” suggests Giuseppina Valenza. “We have very limited training budgets, so my way of ensuring I keep up to date is to try and find half or one day free courses, conferences and workshops of which there are surprisingly many.” She recommends members check if their workplace is a member of a larger organisation which would give them access to free training. Many local authorities, for example, are members of the Local Government Association which provides free one day courses, such as its ‘All change – applying behavioural insights to local challenges’ course on 27 February 2020. Does your organisation belong to a similar ‘umbrella’ organisation? Unions may provide another source of training for their subscribing members.

Members attending external training like this can earn 10 points on the CPD scheme by entering it as a custom activity.

Review your learning

Portrait picture of Mandy PearseMandy Pearse, Vice Chair of the Local Public Services group, encourages members to review their training to match relevant activities to their PR and communications learning.

She says: “It’s always worth taking a look back at all the training you have undertaken during the year both in-house and external. The vast majority of training we undertake can be claimed for CIPR CPD points.”

She adds: “A lot of people think only CIPR events count but it is much wider. Other types of related training can be recorded as custom events. You need to show evidence of attendance combined with agendas, handouts and web links. You then reflect on what you learned and how it will improve your practice. Anyone who completes CPD for another body such as CIM, IDM will find it is a similar process to log items for the CIPR.”

Abha reminds members who are undertaking CPD-schemes for more than one organisation to check before submitting the same activity. She warns: “Many professional institute schemes state or expect the same activity and learning log to be be logged only once and not duplicated across schemes. We have worked with members to discuss cross-use with the relevant staff as some full day training events or longer term training programmes can be shown to demonstrate different learning outcomes. This can mean they could then legitimately qualify for two CPD schemes with the relevant write-ups.”

Reading articles

Naomi Smith portrait pictureNaomi Smith’s tip focuses on CIPR’s short reads. She recommends completing a number of the short reads on the CPD website, each earning 5 points. Members can earn a maximum of 20 points through this type of activity.

She advises : “I read a brilliant short guide on Digital PR by PR Place. I learnt about an emerging area of PR that crosses over with digital and search engine optimisation practice.

“From reading this guide, I went on to use Moz Link Explorer to apply my learning from the guide. I explored domain authority, keyword rankings and back links.

“It took me less than an hour to complete this piece of CPD.”

She goes on to say: “I highly encourage members of the CIPR to get involved with the CPD programme. In our profession it is super important to level up our experience, knowledge and skills on a regular basis  due to the fast pace of change.”

Make time for your learning

Dan Slee portraitDan Slee’s top tip to help get members to the Leap Year finishing line is reading this valuable document which has learning for all PROs and communicators. He recommends Ofcom’s Communications Market Report of 2019 (PDF – opens in new window). 

“I would recommend that everyone who works in comms spends two hours in a locked room with a cup of coffee, a slice of cake and this report,” says Dan.


Read that book for 10 points

There are many good communications books available. If you are stuck or want a particular topic, search the CIPR’s CPD website for inspiration. Here, Megan Page shares a book for internal communicators.

‘Successful Employee Communications – a practitioner’s guide to tools, models and best practice for Internal Communications‘ by Sue Dewhurst and Liam Fitzpatrick

Meg Page“This book is a treasure trove of ideas, case studies and best practice for internal communications (IC) and employee engagement,” said Megan. “It is a great balance between strategic advice and practical tips. Even with a few years’ of internal communications and wider comms experience under my belt, it was useful to revisit some of the key principals and ideas to demonstrate the value of internal comms and employee engagement.”

She added: “I lead a very small IC function (like lots of us in the public sector) and it can sometimes feel like we’re working in isolation, so when writing the organisation’s IC strategy, it was hugely helpful to provide best practice and evidence of how other organisations do things.

“Having recently moved to a new organisation and conducting an employee communication audit, the audit wheel (page 22 in the book) was massively helpful at keeping me on track and providing a structure for conversations with senior stakeholders. It also helped to make sure that we didn’t fall down an IC rabbit hole.  

A great read – clear, succinct advice with tons of research and evidence that I apply almost every day. This book was so good that I even took it on holiday so that I could finish it!”

This book qualifies for 10 CIPR CPD points, as would relevant books of sufficient content to provide learning which meets your own objectives.

Share case studies

Dominic Ridley-MoyDominic Ridley-Moy believes members can learn together. His CPD tip in our 10 day countdown is to: “Learn how to apply behavioural insights, also known as nudge theory. Reading the EAST framework is a good place to start. To share tips and best practice with your peers, join the Behaviour Change Network Facebook group, and share a behaviour change challenge or case study with fellow communicators.”

use CPD-resources to start team discussions

Kerry Sheehan and Peter Holt have identified materials on public trust which are useful to communicators. It is part of our CPD 2020 countdown and earns you up to 15 points. They can be used for self-study or part of team discussion.

Local business events

Lisa FlemingOne of Lisa Fleming’s favourite CPD activities is searching Eventbrite for free business events near her location. It’s an effective way to discover talks, workshops and other learning environments in your own area.

She says: “I did a search of events on Eventbrite for my local area. There’s loads of great free events happening – at least there is near me so have a look around your local area.”

Members can log events which they found helped their PR practice through creating a custom activity on the CPD website and showing how they learnt from attending the event. Lisa adds: “I had to create bespoke events for CPD but I’ve never had a problem getting them included.”

Useful links

CIPR Log it, don't lose it. Deadline 29 February 2020CIPR’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme and requirements – the website has hundreds of resources and articles to help you plan your development. If you are a CIPR member, this scheme is a must for you. Remember, deadline for 2019-2020 is 29 February.

Get Chartered – CIPR

Follow the CIPR Local Public Services Group on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for more of our CPD tips. Founding Chartered member, Abha Thakor is posting CPD resources throughout February 2020. Help us spread the CPD message.

If you want to keep your previous CPD logs, remember to download them before 1 April 2020. Find out how to keep your records


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