CPD Policy Document for ACAT

Buckley, M., 2002. CPD Policy Document for ACAT. Reformulation, ACAT News Spring, p.x.

ACAT's Council holds the responsibility for granting accreditation to its members. Implicit in this role is its responsibility to ensure that its members continue to meet standards and merit on-going accreditation. To do so is clearly, in the mutual interests of membership, a protection for the public and a necessary discipline for a professional association. It therefore follows that CPD must be a concern of Council.

Similarly, CPD is a matter, which concerns UKCP. As a corporate member of UKCP, ACAT will be expected to comply with any overarching policy or guidelines laid down by UKCP. However, in addressing the matter ACAT Council wishes, first and foremost to establish the most appropriate policy for the organisation, i.e. our membership.

In pursuit of the best policy a central dilemma must be addressed: either Council sets 'hard' requirements with administrative discipline and sanction but with the risk of negative side-effects; or it adopts a voluntary, facilitative approach, more in keeping with ACAT'S values and integrity but with all the risks of falling short implicit in any voluntary process.

Any proactive policy risks demotivation and/or loss of trust through being perceived as authoritarian and judgemental. The greater problem, however, is the difficulty / impossibility of establishing an organisational process by which to ascertain the quality of an accredited member's ongoing practice. Some kind of test or re-examination would no more provide a reliable answer than a call for reporting on activity, likely to induce cynicism and pursuit of quantity rather than quality, points or eligibility to tick boxes.

We could agree I think that CPD is just one aspect of something wider: of enriching our theory and practice through new learning and experience, through integration of ideas and dialogue, through personal development; and essential to this is the living of CAT's values, i.e. open collaborative relationships in which problems or limitations are named and options explored to find resolution. Broadening and refreshing our practice may take many and varied forms - including contributions to the tasks to be done within ACAT.

Council through its Membership Division, is already pursuing an aim of extending and facilitating opportunities for new learning and shared experience, seeking to broaden the range and number of workshops, events, conferences, with greater interchange with other professions/ organisations. In broad terms this policy is consistent with, and indeed is a policy of CPD. The hope is that all members benefit from these increasing activities in their practice and in their motivation.

What, however, of the individual who does not participate, who loses interest, ceases to practice, has a difficulty or is perceived (e.g. in supervision) to have one?

Council's intention is to put in place the measures set out below, with the aim of strengthening the resources and support available to all members.

The overriding aim in these measures is to underline that the onus of responsibility is on individual members for their own CPD; and for ACAT as an organisation to play the role of providing the bold framework, encouragement, means and resources for individuals to pursue CPD the better.


Every member to be personally responsible for his/her own CPD. It is recommended that as part of this commitment individuals self-monitor by regular review and by keeping a brief record of action taken. Better still would be to couple this self-monitoring and review with an informal discussion with either supervisor or mentor (see below). A suggested format for the Personal Review is included.


It is, of course, a condition of professional practice, insisted on by all accrediting bodies (UKCP, BAC, BPS, ACAT) that every practicing member should receive supervision; and supervisors are already subject to guidelines on practice and codes of ethics.

It is proposed that within ACAT the role of supervisor should be deemed to extend beyond clinical casework in the following three respects

  • A supervisor should be alert to all aspects of the supervisee's condition: mental and physical well being, personal as well as professional difficulties. As a colleague and supporter the supervisor has a responsibility to encourage CPD and to voice concern through open, collaborative dialogue.
  • It is to be encouraged that CPD should be a subject for regular review, once or twice a year, between supervisor and supervisee. It should be seen as an opportunity for natural stimulation of interests. The process might be initiated by either party; but again, the emphasis is on the supervisee taking responsibility for his/her own CPD and therefore for initiating a review.
  • In the event that a supervisor has serious concerns about a supervisee and the appropriateness of their continuing practice and where these concerns persist without resolution, there should be a responsibility to bring the matter to the attention of ACAT. The procedure should be for the supervisor to contact either the chair of ACAT or the chair of the Examination Board while first informing the supervisee that he/she is taking this action.


The aim is to foster an environment in which members look to a professional colleague for discussion of their CPD whether formally of informally. It is proposed with this in mind to establish a number of mentors from amongst experienced ACAT members. Names of mentors would be available to all so that any member seeking personal advice could approach the CPD coordinator and then be in touch with a mentor of their choice as a sounding board on personal or professional issues related to CPD.

There would, however, be no restriction on members referring themselves to a colleague who is not officially a mentor, again, exercising responsible judgement in that regard. All matters between mentor and mentee would in all circumstances be confidential. In the case of a difficult problem it might be appropriate for a meeting to be convened, which included the mentee's supervisor although there would be no obligation to do so.

The proposal for mentoring is solely a support for members. It would be proposed that those performing the role of mentor choose from amongst themselves a coordinator whose responsibility would be to provide a forum for mentors to share general issues, while never breaking confidentialities. The coordinator would also have an important contribution to make to the work of the Membership Division in providing feedback, via help from the mentors as to the needs, gaps, and opportunities in CPD activities offered by ACAT. There would therefore be a reporting relationship of the coordinator to the Chair of Membership Division.


Consistent with the above ACAT Council will rely essentially, on individual responsibility and integrity and the above proposals. The only step that will be taken towards a more formal monitoring of CPD will be in relation to requirements of all members at the point of renewing annual membership subscription. In addition to signing a declaration concerning professional indemnity insurance and supervision members will be expected to sign a statement saying, "I accept responsibility for and am pursuing my Continuing Professional Development". There will be additional, optional statements, by way of encouragement and also to provide information as to members' practice for the benefit of Council, covering review of CPD with supervisor and /or mentor and about keeping a personal record in line with CPD guidelines.

Miranda Buckley

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Full Reference

Buckley, M., 2002. CPD Policy Document for ACAT. Reformulation, ACAT News Spring, p.x.

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