Continuing Professional Development Review

Whats in this section?

Reviewing the current system

In February 2014, the Council put the development of a revalidation system on hold, suspended the Revalidation Working Group and tasked the Education Committee with leading on the review and development of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme.

The Government in its January 2015 response to the Law Commission’s proposal on the Regulation of Health Care Professionals stated:

“because of the differing nature and size of each profession, the Government believes a one-size-fits-all approach assuring the continued fitness to practise is not appropriate. Regulatory bodies need flexibility around how they seek assurance of the ongoing fitness to practise of their registrants and the type and level of evidence needed to achieve this. Our proposed approach to a future Government Bill is to impose a duty on each regulatory body to seek assurance of the continued fitness to practise of their registrants and to give regulatory bodies the flexibility to develop their own models to discharge this obligation that are proportionate to the risks associated with their professions. … The models being developed by the regulatory bodies share the underlying principles of the GMC medical revalidation process but are based, in the main, around registrants providing assurance they are meeting the standards set in their respective professional codes, in particular standards of continued professional development.” (paras 4.25 – 4.26)

We are reviewing the current system of CPD, as things change over time and we need to ensure it still remains fit for purpose. In addition we are developing the CPD scheme so that it offers assurance of the continuing fitness to practise of registrants:

  • We are committed to developing a CPD scheme that is fit for our on-going regulatory purposes and one that makes a valid contribution to assuring patients and the public that chiropractors in the UK continue to be up to date and fit to practise
  • We believe that  an ‘enhanced CPD’ would be a scheme fit for the chiropractic profession in the 21st century offering a proactive way of enabling registrants to periodically demonstrate to us that they are up to date and continue to practise in accordance with our standards
  • We intend to make compliance with an enhanced CPD scheme a mandatory requirement of continuing registration with the GCC
  • We recognise the need to provide clear, accessible and proportionate guidance in support of the scheme.

What have we done so far?

The Education Committee has undertaken a number of activities to review the current CPD scheme, investigate the broader context and explore the range of ways in which the continuing fitness to practise of registrants might be assured. This culminated in a workshop in January 2015 during which the Committee agreed to recommend to Council that a new CPD scheme is designed to provide assurance of chiropractors’ fitness to practise.  In March 2015 the Council agreed to a programme of work for developing the CPD scheme to include assuring the continuing fitness to practise of registrants.

To date the GCC has:

  1. Completed a qualitative analysis of CPD records
  2. Consulted with the profession and stakeholders by asking them to complete a questionnaire
  3. Consulted with the profession and stakeholders by issuing a discussion document.
  4. Undertaken research into the CPD market for chiropractors to evaluate how well it supports registrants with their continued learning
  5. Reviewed the research and considered the developments being made by other healthcare regulators with their approaches to assuring their registrants’ continuing fitness to practise.
  6. Worked with groups of registrant volunteers around the country to identify the best way forward for the profession.
  7. Conducted a pilot of proposed elements of the improved CPD scheme with a small group of registrant volunteers.
  8. Undertaken analysis of the CPD pilot.

What was the CPD review?

Over the past few years we have considered the role CPD plays in helping registrants to stay up to date and practise in accordance with our Code as well as exploring the most effective forms of CPD activity and the best way of monitoring compliance in the future.

Why undertake a review of CPD? 

We have had mandatory requirements for CPD for chiropractors in place since 2003. It is important that we evaluate and review our various policies and processes periodically to ensure they continue to be effective for our registrants.  We also believe our future CPD requirements will form an important part of our approach to assuring the continuing fitness to practise of registrants.

How long will the review process take?

We want to ensure that any recommendations and decisions about our future requirements reflect good practice in CPD. They also need to be workable and avoid unnecessary paperwork for registrants and for the GCC. At present our CPD requirements are set out in legislation that may need to be amended. All this takes time and the process to develop proposals for the future will continue throughout 2015.

Will the GCC undertake a public consultation on its proposals for future CPD?
We  plan to consult with the public and profession at the beginning of 2018 prior to its implementation.

We launched a paper in 2014 to generate discussion amongst the chiropractic profession and those interested in chiropractic care as to the best way of assuring the continuing fitness to practise of chiropractors in the UK. It contained information on issues with the current CPD system and proposed possible ways forward for assuring the continuing fitness to practise of chiropractors in the UK as well as the challenges. Click here to read the discussion paper.

What are the GCC's proposals for the future of CPD?

Proposals for a future CPD scheme were considered by Council in March 2015, in the light of enhancements made by other regulators and to provide greater assurances of continuing fitness to practise. A future scheme will be based on the following principles:

  • An annual cycle which requires 30 hours of learning of which at least 15 hours is learning with others
  • The use of learning cycles as the basis for planning, undertaking and reflecting on learning
  • The removal of the requirement for the learning to be categorised as ‘improving patient care’ or  ‘developing the profession’ from 2015
  • Introducing requirements to take place across a three year cycle which would count against the hour requirements for those three years (90 hours in total) of:

i. an objective activity (e.g. a case based discussion, peer observation and feedback, patient feedback or clinical audit)

ii. a CPD activity in an area identified by the GCC as of importance to the profession as a whole. This might change over time (e.g. from persistent issues in fitness to practise cases or where, for example, new legislation has been introduced).

iii. a peer discussion to demonstrate engagement with learning and development and reflective practice

  • retain a system of annual sampling and audit
  • improve the online CPD system so that it makes best use of up-to-date information and communications technology
  • The overall approach to be one that is formative and supportive.

We will also consider requiring clearer and stronger links to the new Code.  


We are committed to taking an evidence-based approach to CPD and continuing assurance where appropriate. The work to review our CPD requirements includes finding out the views, opinions and experiences of registrants and stakeholders as below.

We have carried out research into the CPD market for chiropractors which can be found here.

Does the review affect the CPD I have to do now?

No, you must continue to meet our current CPD requirements, which you will find here 

Contact us

Your comments about CPD are valuable and will help us develop our future proposals. Please email any questions or comments about the CPD review and your CPD experiences to [email protected]