23 September 2019

Update on the new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme

From January 2017, we are proposing that barristers on the Established Practitioner Programme (EPP) of CPD:

  • will be free to plan their own CPD activities;
  • will have greater flexibility in the types of CPD activities they undertake;
  • will not be subject to any compulsory activities including accredited activities;
  • will not be subject to a minimum number of hours; and
  • will no longer need to apply for an extension of time or a waiver from their CPD requirements.

CPD activities completed in previous years will be taken into account when assessing a barrister's compliance with the CPD requirements. Our consultation has revealed general support for these proposals in principle but a clear desire for more detailed guidance. We will be publishing an analysis of the responses we got to this consultation on our website in the next few days.

In addition to the consultation, we ran a pilot of the new CPD scheme from January 2015 to March 2016. There were 76 participants. 

The pilot provided a lot of useful feedback and data about how the new scheme will work in practice. The majority of participants were able to engage with the process and complete the new CPD scheme as intended. 

The pilot provided real examples of how the CPD scheme will provide much greater flexibility for members of the profession. One significant change is that established practitioner barristers no longer need to apply for an extension of time or a waiver from their CPD requirements.

The pilot also demonstrated one of the principal strengths of the new scheme which is that Established Practitioners will have no incentive to complete irrelevant CPD simply to make up hours. We will publish a report on the pilot programme when we publish the consultation responses.

Pilot participants also provided feedback that more detailed guidance was required.

This was consistent with the CPD consultation and was useful feedback. We are currently updating the new CPD scheme's guidance accordingly.

Our development of the new CPD scheme for barristers on the EPP is progressing well and is on target to start next year.

Watch this space for more detailed information on the new CPD scheme between now and January 2017. We aim to let you know as clearly as possible, what you need to do to prepare for the new arrangements.