How to get CPD points

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points are a way of measuring the time and quality of learning and development (L&D) activities.

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What is CPD?

Continuing Professional Development, or CPD, is a commonly used term to describe activities that help us to learn and develop – strengthening our performance at work and helping us to progress in our careers.

Annual CPD points requirements: 30

CPD points are units that quantify the time and quality of learning and development (L&D) activities.

In the GCS, one hour of L&D roughly equates to one CPD point. You are expected to:

  • achieve 30 CPD points over the course of the performance year (April to March) through a range of L&D activities
  • record your points – and what you learned – in your personal development plan (PDP) 

Different types of learning

You don’t just get CPD points for going on training courses. A wide range of learning and development activities count. 

Consider the 70/20/10 guide to check you are going beyond formal training in your learning plans. This means achieving:

  • 70% on-the-job learning: learning through practical work
  • 20% learning from relationships: developing through your networks and relationships
  • 10% formal training: learning through GCS Academy and other resources

The CPD examples provided should help you to start planning your own learning activity.  If you have questions about CPD points you should contact gcs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.

2 CPD points

On the job learning

  • Observing and minuting a significant meeting outside of your day job (for example agency pitches, ministerial meeting with officials, ministerial media interview) 

Learning through relationships

  • Setting up and leading a briefing meeting with a GCS stakeholder or supplier (for example, an advertising agency on upcoming government campaigns, or a media agency on latest media insights)

Formal learning

  • Listening to a relevant podcast
  • Watching a GCS or comms-related webinar 
  • Attending a GCS comms exchange
  • Attending a team or local department training session 

5 CPD points

On the job learning

  • Job shadowing for a day
  • Active participant in a half-day workshop outside of your day job (for example to generate creative campaign ideas, or a stakeholder mapping workshop)
  • Winning a Bronze Public Sector Excellence Award

Learning through relationships

  • Setting up and attending a half-day workshop with a GCS stakeholder or supplier on latest industry trends

Formal learning

  • Delivering a GCS comms exchange
  • Writing and publishing a GCS blog
  • Participating in half a day of training hosted by the GCS Academy or within your department 
  • Reading a whole book from the GCS Academy or Alex Aiken’s reading list
  • Winning a Bronze Public Service Excellence Award

10 CPD points

On the job learning

  • Regularly representing your department on a cross-Whitehall group
  • Being a GCS board or GCS shadow board member
  • Providing 2 weeks or more holiday cover to a member of Permanent Secretary or ministerial private office
  • Spending 7 hours on a relevant research or learning project, including corporate contribution in your department 
  • Winning a Silver Public Service Excellence Award

Learning through relationships

  • Being a mentor or having a mentoring relationship with regular meetings
  • Being a coach or having coaching with regular meetings

Formal learning

  • Participating in a full day’s training, whether hosted by the GCS Academy or by your department 
  • Attending a professional event or conference (for example, Civil Service Live) for its duration
  • Providing a formal briefing to your directorate on what you learned

20 CPD points

On the job learning

  • Delivering a challenging or new work project or event, including training programme for others (for example, temporary promotion, sustained crisis communication project)
  • Leading a cross-Whitehall working group (for example, Head of Discipline)
  • Winning a Gold Public Service Excellence Award, external award, or shortlisted for Civil Service Award
  • Spending 14 hours on a relevant research or learning project, including corporate contribution in your department
  • Producing GCS best practice guidance

Learning through relationships

  • Holding a voluntary position where you learn new transferable skills (for example, trustee, school governor)
  • Setting up and leading a cross-directorate or organisation network (for example, senior information officer, diversity and inclusion, carers) with regular meetings and clear deliverables

Formal learning

  • Creating and delivering a one-day training course

30 CPD points

On the job learning

  • Writing a professional guide for GCS
  • Writing and publishing a communication-related book
  • Winning a Civil Service Award 

Formal learning

  • Completing a GCS accelerated development programme (For example, Inspire, Impact, Power of Choice)
  • Completing a relevant academic qualification

What you need to do next

  • Check you understand what a CPD point is and that you know you will need to complete 30 of them in the coming performance year. 
  • Make sure you have considered and understood the full range of  activities that count as CPD points. Reflect on what you already do and the kind of activities you might need to help you learn and develop in the year ahead.  
  • Check that you understand you should plan to have roughly a 70/20/10 split of L&D (70% on the job, 20% from relationships, 10% formal training).