Revalidation in the South West

The CILIP ballot on the proposed implementation of Obligatory Revalidation ends on the 23rd November 2015. You can read more about the background to this proposal here:

www.cilip.org.uk/obligatory-revalidation

Lizz Jennings, Chair of the South West Member Network, explains the Revalidation process…

Over the past year, the South West Member Network has run a series of workshops to support members undertaking Revalidation.  Currently, this is an optional system, and CILIP plans to make it obligatory from 2016.

What is Revalidation?

Revalidation is a process which enables members who have achieved a level of Professional Registration (Certification, Chartership or Fellowship) to demonstrate their continued commitment to their development.  The current scheme involves logging at least 20 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) over a 12-month period, and writing a 250-word reflective statement about your development.

The process of completing these can be just an hour or two – in fact, if you are in good habits of noting down your professional development activities shortly after completing them, it could take as little as an hour to finish.  Typically, if you already have a list of CPD you can start and finish the process in 2-3 hours.

Why should I Revalidate?

In today’s competitive job market, having tangible evidence of your commitment to your profession can be a valuable benefit.  It can also be very helpful when approaching an appraisal or other evaluation, and has the advantage that it focuses on your professional development, rather than the specifics of your current role.

The Workshops

CILIP SWMN ran four workshops in 2015 following a successful pilot in 2014.  Feedback was very positive, and people particularly appreciated the opportunity to work on their own Revalidation during the session, while having someone on hand to explain the system and answer questions.  The South West had the third highest proportion of Revalidations submitted in the country in 2015, and we hope to grow that number in 2016.

What can I include in my CPD log?

A common question from workshop participants is: “Does this activity count as CPD?”

There are two things to check, if you are unsure of an activity’s suitability:

Does it map to a section of the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB)?

CILIP’s PKSB sets out clearly which skills library and information workers typically have.  CILIP members can access this resource for free:

http://www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/professional-knowledge-skills-base

Revalidation of your Professional Registration should link to the skills of the profession, so if you are working in an area that crosses over with other professions, it may be necessary to focus on the areas specific to the Library and Information Profession.  Most related areas are covered to some extent, including teaching, information technology, management and language skills.

What did I learn from this activity?

Sometimes, CPD can happen in the normal course of your work.  Involvement in a project, professional discussion with colleagues within the organisation or elsewhere or taking on new responsibilities can all result in the development of new skills or enhancement of existing ones.

A good way of identifying work activities that are also CPD is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What did I do?
  • What did I learn from this?
  • What do I now do differently? (How have I applied this?)

If you can give a good answer to these questions, then it is probably a CPD activity.  It can help to record this reflection in the CPD log so that assessors can understand why this activity was important to you.

As well as formal training, conferences and work activities, you can include professional reading (such as CILIP Update), participation in online forums and social media discussions, committee activism, job shadowing and any other activities which have helped you to develop professional skills.  Twenty hours is a low requirement, and most of our workshop participants found they far exceeded this minimum when they added together everything they’d done over a year.

Can I include more than 12 months of CPD?

Revalidation is an annual process, so typically you should stick to 12 months of CPD.  If this is your first cycle of Revalidation following Professional Registration, you might wish to include additional activities going back a further three months, but this is not required.

If the activity is an ongoing one (for example membership of a committee, or a course over a period of time), you should just record the hours which fall within this period of Revalidation.

How should I structure my statement?

There are no hard and fast rules about how to write your statement, but if it’s been a while since you’ve written a reflective statement for Professional Registration, there are a few guidelines that can help you:

Use subheadings to focus on the key points

You might find it helpful to use subheadings related to the Professional Registration criteria to demonstrate your achievements, i.e.:

  • Personal Performance
  • Organisational Context
  • Wider Professional Context

Each of these aspects should be about 70-80 words long, although those revalidating Certification might find they have more content in Personal Performance, while those revalidating Fellowship might have more in Organisational or Wider Professional Context.

Alternatively, you may find it better to focus on the areas of the PKSB you have completed most development in and use those as subheadings.

Make your statement reflective

You have space to describe the activities you have undertaken in your CPD log, so ensure your statement is a summary.  It may help to use the following prompts for each section of your statement to make sure you have written reflectively:

  • Describe your professional development activities or experiences.
  • What did you learn from this?
  • What do you now do differently? Are there any next steps?

If you use three headings, each of these prompts should be answered in about 25-30 words.

Focus on the activities that contributed most to your current position

Commonly, the CPD log will include a wide range of activities, each of which will have had a different kind of impact on your development.  Use the statement to highlight those areas you feel contributed most to where you are now.  It’s not important to mention every single activity, and being selective can help keep within the 250-word limit.

Consider your audience

Remember that assessors come from all areas of the library and information profession, so don’t assume they understand the specific context you are working in.  Avoid jargon, and if you need to refer to something particular to your sector, explain it briefly.

Do I have to use the VLE?

Yes, although you don’t have to use the CPD Log or other tools to create your submission.  If you would rather upload a Word document, PDF or other file with the relevant information, that is absolutely fine.  This can be useful if you are already logging your CPD for work purposes as long as it includes the time spent on the activity.

If you’re not sure how to put a portfolio together using the VLE, you can use these worksheets to guide you through the process:

https://sites.google.com/site/cilipswmnrevalidation

What next?

CILIP are currently polling the membership to gain approval for making Revalidation obligatory from 2016.  They have provided detailed information on how this would work in the Jobs and Careers section of their website:

http://www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/jobs-careers/professional-registration/obligatory-revalidation

You should have received a message from CILIP asking you to vote if you are a member.

If you haven’t yet revalidated your Professional Registration, consider arranging a time away from work distractions to complete the process – a meet-up or planned session with colleagues could be the motivation you need to get started.  If you arrange something with colleagues from other organisations or sectors, this can double up as a useful networking opportunity.

Lizz Jennings

(Chair, CILIP SWMN)

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