CIPR CPD completed – easy, fun, free

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has an excellent CPD (continuous professional development) programme that if members complete successfully allows them to become accredited CIPR PR practitioners. I’ve just completed mine for this year and wanted to share my experience in order to encourage other CIPR members to do the same.

I’m surprised by the number of CIPR members who don’t submit their professional learning and development to the CIPR’s CPD process in order to get recognition for what they do to keep their professional abilities up to date. From talking to members I think the biggest barrier is that many don’t actually realise they are already doing lots of professional development and the only additional activity they need to do is just to record it. Some also think it’s going to cost them money. It isn’t. If you’re a CIPR member then doing CPD is free.

When I talk to CIPR members about what they do I nearly always find they’ve already done more activity than is needed to get their 60 points. One of the biggest misunderstandings is that the only way to do it is by ‘formal’ learning, but in reality lots of activity is eligible for CPD points:

  • Reading best practice and skills guides – each one is worth five points, some are 10 points
  • Industry conferences – it doesn’t need to be a CIPR one, One day is 10 points, two days is 20 points
  • Reading books – enjoyable, increases your knowledge and gets you 10 easy points
  • CIPR webinars – these are free to members, last just an hour and are worth five points. If you can’t make them live you can still watch them later
  • CIPR TV – lively and informative discussions that usually last less than half an hour and earn you five points
  • Networking – even if you’re not a CIPR committee member you can get five points for attending an event such as its AGM or even (surprisingly to me) Christmas drinks!
  • Case studies – the CIPR website has lots of case studies from Excellence and Pride award winners, reading one earns you five points
  • Volunteering – you can put your PR skills to use for a good cause and earn CPD points by volunteering for the Media Trust, a minimum of 14 hours earns you 20 points
  • Training and education – and of course formal training courses rightly earn you recognition with 10 points for each day of the course, you can get even more points for completing a CIPR recognised qualification

This is a copy of my submission:

CIPR CPD submission

I have some tips to make the recording process faster and easier. It takes about 10-15 minutes to record each activity so the trick is to record the ones with the highest points first.

Go for the low-hanging fruit first

20 point activities

You need to record 60 points in two different streams. So if you can identify some 20 point activities then it is a lot faster to record them. You can see from my entry that 20 point activities include two-day training courses or conferences as well as participation in a CIPR group. So if you’re a committee member of a regional or sectoral group then record that first as you’ve instantly got 20 points. You can filter the database to see a list of the 20 point activities.

Activities in the database

There are hundreds of activities listed in the CIPR CPD database including all CIPR committees, events, training courses and best practice guides. The database also has third-party activities which is where my 20 points for Communicate’s Reputation in Oil, Gas and Mining conference came from. The only difference between third-party activities and CIPR ones is that you’ve got to upload ‘evidence’ such as a delegate list or a certificate of participation.

10 and 5 point activities

Try and avoid too many five point activities as they are more laborious to enter into the CPD system. You’ve got to write 150 words (a minimum of 50 under three different headings) for every CPD activity. So it’s as hard to enter a five point activity as it is a 20 point one. Actually, I find it harder. As you’ve got to say why you selected the activity, what you learnt and how you’re putting it into practice. For a ‘big’ 20 point activity that’s quite easy as usually you’ve learnt a lot. But you can get five points for reading short best practice guides or even case studies and it takes me almost as long to think about and write the 150 words as it did to do the activity in the first place! That’s why the latest PR books are particularly good for CPD. Not only can you learn a lot, but if they are already in the database it is easy to record your activity and get 10 points.

Custom activities

It’s also easy to add custom activities to the database. So if you’ve read a book or attended a conference that is listed then you can add it. The only difference between this and existing activities is that custom ones need to be manually approved. I didn’t do it this year, but I did last year when I added the two-day World Communication Forum in Davos where I was a speaker. This got me 20 points. If you’ve attended a two day event it is well worth the effort to add it as a custom entry as you’ve instantly got a third of the points you need.

You are doing your CPD, but not being recognised for it

To get to 60 points I’ve only recorded a fraction of the activity I could have done. To give you a practical idea of things you might already be doing I’ve listed some of the other activity that I could have recorded (most of these are custom activities):

Events

  • CIPR Social Media Panel participation – 20 points
  • Davos World Communication Forum – 20 points
  • World Communication Forum regional conference in Moscow – 20 points
  • Moscow State University giving guest lecture on future of political communications – 10 points
  • Croatian Public Relations Association AGM keynote speech – 10 points and participation over two days +10 points
  • FutureComms14 conference – 10 points
  • World Communication Forum regional conference in Kiev – 10 points
  • Communicate Measurement Matters webcast – 5 points
  • Social Media Measurement Solved conference – 5 points
  • SOME awards judging – 10 points
  • Parliament Week | A guide to effective campaigning – 5 points
  • CIPR social media ethics round table – 5 points
  • Downtown Leeds in Business regional devolution forum – 5 points
  • PRCA digital report launch – 5 points
  • CIPR editorial board round table – 5 points
  • CIPR Social Short Buzzfeed – 5 points
  • International Air Transport Association global crisis communications summit – 20 points

Reading – books, guides etc

  • PR is dead by Robert Philips – 10 points
  • CIPR Innovation and Creativity toolkit – 10 points
  • Lend Me Your Ears by Professor Max Aitken – 10 points
  • Buzzing Communities – Richard Millington – 10 points
  • How to Win Elections by Mark Pack – 10 points
  • Social Media Measurement framework user guide – 5 points
  • CIPR Wikipedia Best Practice Guidance – 5 points
  • CIPR Social Media Best Practice Guide – 5 points
  • CIPR Google Analytics for PR Measurement and Evaluation – 5 points

This is by no means an exhaustive list. But you can see I’ve earned 75 points just from reading and I haven’t even listed everything I’ve read.

So what are you waiting for? You’ve got until Saturday, February 28 to register your CPD points for this year. I’m betting you’ve done the work, so why not get the credit?