• CPD Standards - FAQs

CPD Standards: Frequently Asked Questions

Am I able to retain CSci if I have retired from full-time employment?

Many Registrants that are retired from full-time employment are unsure whether they can remain on the Register as ‘active’ Chartered Scientists. All Registrants who remain professionally active after retirement are likely to have to participate in CPD activity in order to carry out their professional duties. The various categories of learning activities give an indication of the wide range of activity that may count as CPD.

What do you mean by the term ‘professionally active’?

The term professionally active is used to indicate that an individual is performing a role that requires them to keep their knowledge and competence up to date.  It does not need to be full-time or paid work and so members who are notionally retired but engaged in volunteering, outreach or consultancy, for example, should consider themselves as professionally active and undertake relevant CPD.  In contrast, someone who is reading journals and attending lectures out of personal interest but is no longer actively contributing to the profession either through paid employment or volunteering of some kind would not be considered professionally active.

What happens if I am unable to do CPD?

Chartered Scientists must confirm they meet the standards each year if they wish to remain on the Register. The CPD standards have been designed such that Registrants that are unemployed will still be able to engage with them; however it is acknowledged that there are times in a professional’s career that they will not be actively participating in CPD. Examples of this include those on long-term sick leave, maternity leave and those taking a career break to travel or work outside of science. In such cases, Registrants may request to take a career break for a period of no more than 3 years, during which they will not be required to submit a record.

How am I supposed to show evidence of my CPD when it is confidential to my employer?

The activities that you submit are your choice - they can be anything that you gain something from that is of use to you in your professional life.  This may well not be research based - it might be to do with 'firefighting' a problem or finding a particular way of approaching a customer need. It could even be from outside your day to day work - examples include acting as a school governor, being a mentor, reading a journal article and so on.  In terms of your development you could think about things you would like to be better at rather than specifically about the market. 

You can also think about the process involved in an activity rather than the detail of the activity itself.  So you might think about the way you approached solving a problem (e.g. thinking about occasions where you have been successful in the past, situations where you might have acted differently, brainstorming, trial and error etc) rather than the technical nature of the problem itself.  Additionally some Registrants use euphemisms, or simply do not name the product or process in their return (it is acceptable to use 'commercially sensitive' instead of naming the activity, for example).

I am already required to do CPD for other purposes - why do I have to do something different for the Science Council?

It is likely that all Registrants are already undertaking some form of CPD, and this will inevitably assist you in meeting the CSci CPD requirements.  If you already record your CPD for the purposes of a professional body, employer or a regulator, it is also likely that you will have gone some way to demonstrating that you meet the CSci standards as well. 

A significant proportion of Chartered Scientists work under Health Professions Council regulation, and if you are selected for audit by the HPC and your CPD return is accepted, then your Licensed Body will also accept this as meeting the CSci standards.  It is possible that other CPD schemes can be mapped to the CSci standards and you should enquire with your Licensed Body if you think that your CPD record may already meet our standards.  The Science Council is committed to the Hampton Principles which seek to reduce to a minimum the administrative burden on both individuals and institutions.

The CSci CPD standards are based on output measurements, that is to say, a focus on demonstrating a benefit from the CPD activities you have undertaken.  The fact that there are no points or hours requirements means that you can determine your own development needs.

Because of the area in which I work, I don’t think I can demonstrate the necessary mixture of learning activities. What can I do?

A number of example profiles have been developed from Registrants working across different sectors and at different stages in their professional lives showing how the mixture of learning activities can be demonstrated.

Very occasionally, your work may take you to areas where it is impossible to interact with other professionals or to engage in a wide range of CPD activities.  In such cases, you may demonstrate that you have undertaken CPD in a minimum of two categories.

I am struggling to understand how I can demonstrate the benefit of my CPD activities. Can you help?

Please refer to our guidance document CPD and Benefit for more information.

Is there a difference between work and work-based learning? 

Much of the CPD you do is likely to take place ‘on-the-job’, without necessarily involving any structured or formal learning, but that doesn’t mean that simply doing your job counts as CPD.  New skills developed on the job are of course a valuable part of professional development.  Shadowing, secondments and coaching can all count as CPD if they give rise to the acquisition of new knowledge, skills or understanding that you can apply to your role now or in the future.  And reflection in itself – be it alone, with colleagues or in workshops – can be a valuable CPD activity if it leads you to find ways of doing better things that you already do.  A more exhaustive list of activities that constitute work-based learning can be found here.

Do you have another query about the CPD requirements for Chartered Scientists that isn’t answered here?  Contact us with your query.