CPD Guidelines & Standards Hub
CPD Guidelines & Standards Hub

CPD Guidelines & Standards Hub

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Welcome to your CPD Guidelines & Standards Hub. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is part of your professional obligation as an IRVAP member and aims to help you advance your practice and skill set.

CPD Logging Platform

We strongly encourage all our members to use cpduk.co.uk to log and store your CPD. We have included a video below to help guide you signing up and using it.


If you prefer not to use this platform, we have provided some Word and pdf documents too.

IRVAP CPD Record 1150.7KB
IRVAP CPD Record 3112.5KB

What is CPD?

Definition -

A range of learning activities through which health care professionals maintain and develop throughout their career to ensure that they retain their capacity to practice safely, effectively and legally within their evolving scope of practice” (Taken from the Allied Health Professions project, “Demonstrating competence through CPD”, 2002).

The RCVS defines CPD as; “The systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skills and the development of personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional and technical duties throughout the member’s working life.”

Please review your IRVAP CPD Guidelines & Standards below. You are required to keep your own CPD Log of evidence using your preferred format. This includes adding your own reflection about each of your CPD choices and describing how it impacts your animal service.

CPD Guidelines

IRVAP is committed to supporting its members to achieve and maintain high standards of practice. CPD is an important part of being a professional and the qualitative framework for CPD supports the benefit of this activity -

  • Members will be provided with a structure for their life-long learning. This will strengthen the case for receiving greater support, opportunities and resources for professional development
  • Animals and owners will benefit from professional learning that is linked to the service provided and thereby improve the quality of care which they receive
  • IRVAP will benefit by enhancing its reputation in professional education and strengthen its credibility and professional standing
  • IRVAP needs to change the model for CPD in-line with other veterinary professionals. This change will allow the members to carry out 75 hours of CPD over 3 years. This encourages members to further their knowledge and experience by taking higher level courses as well as personalised CPD courses within the given time-frame
  • Members will re-affirm their commitment to maintaining their required CPD annually at renewals. They will confirm they are prepared to partake in the yearly CPD audit which randomly samples 1% of the membership
  • IRVAP Council will fully support each audited member through the process, providing a clear framework and examples to draw upon

When signing the declaration form to renew IRVAP registration, this in effect states that each member declares that they will meet the following standards of practice.

  • Maintain a continuous, up-to-date record for their CPD activities
  • Demonstrate that their CPD activities are relevant to current or future practice as well as individual to their specific needs as a practicing member
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery
  • Seek to ensure their CPD benefits the service user
  • Will complete the audit process if selected, in the set time frame

Members are encouraged to maintain an up-to-date CPD Log and the Council will monitor CPD Logs through the annual audit process of a random 1% selection of the membership.

The IRVAP Council is committed to providing an extensive range of CPD opportunities for its members to be delivered by approved IRVAP CPD Providers. This guarantees clinically loaded, high quality events, which meet the IRVAP Training Standards. They will be subsidised to members and advertised through the IRVAP communications systems.

Please make sure you access the public website irvap.org.uk regularly to check out the Resources and the NEW Courses and CPD page. We will also regularly add to this private MemberSpace Community under the specific species CPD Hubs.

If you are interested in becoming an approved IRVAP Provider or to hold an approved IRVAP CPD event please get in contact with Barbara in the first instance by email at irvapchair@irvap.org.uk

CPD Standards


IRVAP as a professional body focuses on promoting robust professional standards and is proactive in discharging this duty.

Maintaining professional standards will give confidence to stakeholders such as insurance companies and other professional bodies such as the veterinary profession, as well as maintaining confidence with the wider public. It is for this reason the standards are mandatory and must be met to maintain your registration with IRVAP.

IRVAP CPD Standards have been devised in-line with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and other established health professional bodies such as the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). These standards are in place to facilitate career long learning and are NOT competency to work.

Individuals should refer to their own professional training body for specific proficiency standards in their specialism. Although competencies are linked to appropriate CPD, we recognise that this is not always the case.

IRVAP CPD Standards ensures members -

  • Provide evidence of professional development
  • Keeps skills and knowledge up to date
  • Maintain best practice for animals and owners
  • Work within their scope of practice
  • Can respond positively to the changing needs of each member’s animal career progression
  • Promote healthy learning environments
  • Champion animal welfare
  • Adhere to the criteria agreed with the insurance industry
The information in this document is designed as a guideline to your CPD responsibilities. When you apply to renew your registration in March, you will need to sign that you have met these IRVAP CPD Standards.

CPD Standards

Every member has historically been required to complete a minimum of 25 hours of CPD each year. However, from the renewal date in March 2020, registrants will be required to demonstrate that they have met the new CPD standards as outlined below -

  1. Members will complete 75 hours of CPD within a three year window
  2. Maintain a continuous, up to date and accurate record of their CPD activities
  3. Record their CPD activities / evidence and reflect on the value of each CPD activity to their individual career progression
  4. Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery

Members must therefore -

  1. Keep a record of their CPD studies and hours. The format used is up to the individual
  2. Intend for CPD to improve the quality of the individual’s work. This may not always be the outcome due to circumstances outside of their control. However, this should be reflected upon and used to identify further areas of learning
  3. Aim for CPD to benefit service users including the animal and owner, team, peers or students. Again, this may not always be possible, however, each member MUST be able to demonstrate the intention of benefiting service users

This empowers members’ actions to -

  1. Decide what CPD is relevant to their specific role
  2. Plan CPD to take account of the changing needs of their workplace
  3. Be flexible in their approach to CPD, for example; around work times, family commitments, learning preferences and the needs of resources available to use
  4. Use others to assist in identifying CPD needs, for example, through an appraisal system, or personal development plan
  5. Critically and constructively appraise their practice

Example of CPD learning activities -

Members must be able to demonstrate that they have selected CPD to enable them to progress and fill gaps in their knowledge and experience.

CPD can be a combination of animal, or subject relevant, to the member’s needs. For example, business accounts, education qualifications, practice management, human resources (HR).

Examples of activities are -

Work based learning

  1. Reflective practice
  2. Learning by doing
  3. Clinical audit
  4. Case studies
  5. Case conferences
  6. Discussions with colleagues
  7. Peer review
  8. Work shadowing
  9. Secondments
  10. Job rotation
  11. In service training
  12. Supervising or training staff or students
  13. Visiting other clinics or speciality fields and reporting back
  14. Expanding your role
  15. Analysing specific events
  16. Filling in self-assessment questionnaires
  17. Project work
  18. Project management

Professional activity

  1. Involvement in a professional body
  2. Lecturing or teaching
  3. Mentoring
  4. Being an examiner
  5. Being an instructor
  6. Branch / regional meetings
  7. Journal clubs
  8. Being an expert witness
  9. Giving presentations at conferences
  10. Supervising research

Self directed learning

  1. Reading journals / articles
  2. Reviewing books or articles
  3. Updating knowledge through the internet or TV
  4. Keeping a file of your learning, reflections and future learning needs

Formal and educational

  1. Courses
  2. Webinars
  3. Further education
  4. Research
  5. Attending conferences
  6. Writing articles or papers
  7. Attending seminars
  8. Distance learning
  9. Planning or running a course


  1. Public service
  2. Voluntary work
  3. Courses

The CPD list above is not exhaustive and the Council’s intention is that each member will make a professional judgement as to whether the activity is useful and relevant to their professional development.

What is Reflective Practice?

When carrying out reflective practice, pose a series of questions to yourself. The certificate is just the evidence of the CPD activity, what really matters is how this activity has impacted your animal service.

Thank you Jenny Best - ICH Board Member, for compiling some useful ideas about reflective practice to help you with this important professional topic.

Ask yourself -

  • What was the nature of the CPD activity?
  • What did you learn from the CPD activity?
  • How did you change or improve your practice as a result?

Before starting your selected CPD, course programme or study plan -

  • What is motivating me to complete this course?
  • What do I hope to learn?
  • What will I need to do to achieve this learning?

During your CPD studies or course programme

  • What have I learnt so far?
  • How can I apply this to practice?
  • Have I been able to apply this to practice so far?
  • If not – why not? What can I do to change this?
  • Is there anything I can do to improve my learning during this course?

After completing your studies, CPD or course programme -

  • What have I learnt?
  • How has it changed my practice?
  • How has it benefited my patients / clients?
  • How has it benefited my practice team / employer?

Return to practice

Members that cannot meet the CPD requirements at the time of renewal, due to illness, pregnancy or having taken a sabbatical / gap year, will be able to join.

However they will need to book an online interview with the Chair to discuss their individual needs and be linked up to the supportive IRVAP Mentoring service.


HCPC: “Your guide to our standards for continuing professional development”

Publication code: 20060503bPolPUB. Reprinted Sept 2011 with revisions.

RCVS: https://www.rcvs.org.uk/education/continuing-professional-development

HCPC: “Continuing Professional Development and you Registration”

Publication code: 20060602CPolPUB, June 2014.