CPD policy development

We have been engaging with stakeholders and undertaking research to inform the future development of CPD or lifelong learning for several years now. The work underpins CPD policy development, and is helping to inform and shape our thinking on future reform. 

Our work has included exploring differing models and approaches to professional learning and development, including exploring the merits of portfolio, revalidation and qualitative models, how to provide more flexibility while ensuring compliance, and the value to be gained from different types of CPD activities, including peer learning and review.  

The work undertaken has included:

Overall the findings from the work undertaken has helped to develop our understanding of the range of views on the positive aspects of CPD, and those that dental professionals find more challenging. Some consistent themes have started to emerge. We are sharing these with relevant stakeholders, including CPD providers, to help improve understanding of CPD requirements and the flexibility built into the Enhanced CPD scheme.

You will find the results of the work and our key findings in our research library

Lifelong learning and continuing improvement in knowledge and skills are central to what it means to be a professional. Our CPD requirements are intended to support dental professionals to reflect and develop their professionalism and key in maintain patient safety and public confidence in the profession. 

Realising the full benefits of Enhanced CPD  

The Enhanced CPD scheme established a more flexible and personalised approach to the lifelong learning of the dental team. The scheme aims to improve the quality of learning, and support dental professionals to maintain, develop and improve their practice.

Our evaluation of the Enhanced CPD scheme showed that although many dental professionals take a positive and proactive approach to their own learning and development, more needs to be done to ensure the full benefits of the Enhanced CPD scheme are realised.  

Our findings indicate that most dental professionals do not find Enhanced CPD scheme requirements difficult to achieve and compliance rates are high. Despite this, a considerable number of dental professionals were unfamiliar with some important features of the scheme, particularly:

The purpose of the 10/2 rule is to encourage dental professionals to spread out the CPD they complete across the five-year cycle. It helps to ensure dental professionals are continually refreshing and updating their skills and knowledge. Awareness of the rule remains lower than expected, and further work is needed to ensure it is understood. Similarly, awareness of the availability of grace periods is low and need to be improved. A grace period can be granted by the Registrar at the end of a cycle for those who need more time. It provides added flexibility for dental professionals. 

Findings from the research also suggest that dental professionals’ would benefit from further guidance on how to develop their own personal development plan (PDP). Dental professionals are required to produce and maintain a PDPs as part of their CPD record.  

The purpose of the PDP is to support the identification and delivery of quality CPD. PDPs can be tailored to meet the individual needs, across competence levels, and workplace settings. We recognise that further guidance is needed if dental professionals are to realise the benefits of having a good quality PDP, designed to deliver quality CPD, which meets learning and development needs. 

Our research confirmed that many dental professionals were motivated to complete quality CPD courses out of a sense of their own professionalism and personal interest in the topic, but that view was not universal. Some professionals continued to utilise a compliance-based approach to learning and development, partly driven by the need to meet hours-based requirements. Any future reform will need to recognise this variation in views and attitudes towards CPD. 

Learn more about the Enhanced CPD scheme