The relevance of some events aiming to provide quality CPD is sometimes unclear. So when a promotional leaflet came to Kate Foreman's attention, she had the opportunity to check out the real thing

One area that generates plenty of questions is how to evaluate an event for CPD purposes. The difficulty is that, if we were to take a real example, we could be accused of promotioning a commercial event.

However, a flyer popped through my door this week which seems to overcome part of that problem.

It refers to the CII training and development forum (TDF) and having checked, it is a not-for-profit event - indeed heavily subsidised.

I understand that it is certain to be oversubscribed, so I cannot be accused of trying to rustle up numbers.

The flyer was headed: "Training, Competency and Ethics in a Regulatory Environment."

It said that keynote speakers were: David Jackman, head of industry training & business ethics, FSA; Dr Sandy Scott, director general, CII; and Mike Williams, chief executive, Biba. The price of the day including lunch was £60.

What appealed to me was that it has good speakers, is very current - being about regulation- and the price.

Training needs
But before diving in, as I might have before GISC days, I now know that I must evaluate it and consider it against my own and my staff's job specs and training needs.

The last line of the flyer says that a full programme and registration form is available by contacting Gary Matthews.

Here are the key points that I must consider:

  • Who or what is the organisation putting on the event?

  • What is the content?

  • What sort of delegates should attend?

  • What are the learning objectives, that is, what will I know, understand or be able to do at the end of the event, that I did not or could not at the beginning

  • How much of my time and money will it take, not forgetting travel and loss of business opportunity if out of the office

  • How relevant is it to me or my staff

  • Is there some form of assessment or follow- up to check that I have met the objectives.

    In ringing Gary, I would also be looking for attitude. The flyer might look sexy - they often do - but am I being sold something that will leave me dissatisfied at the end of the day?

  • Is Gary too eager to get my order?

  • Does he avoid my questions?

  • Does he know what he is talking about?

  • Does he know what I am talking about?

  • Are there any hidden extras?

  • Is it too cheap to be true? Could it be a cheap day just to get me on site to sell me something?

    Let us see how Gary got on.

    Me: Who or what is the organisation putting on the event?

    Gary: The CII has sponsored the TDF for nearly 20 years and it is a forum for training, compliance, HR staff and consultants to listen to and discuss key aspects of the business in relation to those areas.

    Me: Well that knocks out anyone not involved with those areas.

    Gary: Not necessarily. Most events would but we have classed this as a general interest event.

    Me: What is the content?

    Gary: Three specialists from the industry will be giving presentations on the core subject, which is a major issue in regulation today.

    Note: At this stage it is clear that this could be CPD for any practitioner, but with perhaps a focus on those who run businesses or who are responsible for supervision, compliance, or training and competence.

    Me: What are the learning objectives?

    Gary: To know about and to understand a training and competency issue that is important within FSA regulation.

    Note: It was important and impressive that Gary did not try to kid me that this would particularly assist me to do something in the workplace. This would appear to be an information type event without any exercises or hands-on application. This may put some people off.

    Me: Is there any assessment of what has been learned or follow up?

    Gary: (a bit puzzled) No.

    Note: This is important for recording in individual learning files. If there is no assessment or evaluation provided, then it is up to me to make sure that anyone attending the event identifies what they have learnt and that it is recorded.

    Perhaps in my next learning appraisal I can check that knowledge and understanding has been retained.

    The CII states that this will qualify for 3.5 hours of structured CPD, but I take a firmer view that you should not class it as structured unless there is some form of verification that the learning objectives have been achieved and perhaps maintained.

    I think there should at least be formal written feedback from the delegate on the ILF.

    `Selling event'
    I did ask Gary whether it would be a `selling' event. He was quite firm that CII staff would be acting as hosts and that there were no selling presentations, other than to bring delegates up to date with exam and learning developments.

    That sounds good to me and a good opportunity to meet some old friends any way.

    So, I am now confident that this is a valuable event that is matched to the right delegates. And in this case it leads me to nominate myself and a couple of colleagues, one a board member responsible for compliance and the other the manager of our branch in Scunthorpe.

    Any more to think about?

    The event runs from 10am to about 3pm so our board member in London is still going to get a few hours of office work in before and after the event.

    Learning costs
    We do not have to worry too much about losing a whole day, but what about our manager in Scunthorpe?

    Train Fare:£120
    Delegate Fee:£60

    I think I'll send him on an Insurance Times one-day training course instead and still have £50 to spare.

    Seriously though, do watch the cost of the extras when it comes to CPD. This is clearly going to be an important learning day, but even the regulator would expect you to budget carefully and within your resources.

    And when you attend don't forget your record keeping.

    Many thanks to Gary Matthews and you can get him on 020 7417 4434.

  • Kate Foreman is a training and compliance specialist with RW Associates.

  • This page is edited by RW Associates, specialists in training, complianc e and competence. Email to: .

    Using this CPD page
    For the vast majority of practitioners and indeed support and supervisory staff in our industry, CPD is about regular learning and study that is planned, recorded, timed and evaluated.

    If you are a member of a professional body with a CPD requirement then there will be certain rules regarding the quality and nature of study material, and the way in which it is recorded.

    For staff of GISC members this means recording on your individual training file what the learning was, who provided it and when.

    It might be structured, such as a course, a learning programme or exam study. But it can be unstructured. This form of study encompasses reading the trade press, technical material or taking part in activities to support your professional body.

    Some CPD requirements are points related (a little antiquated) and others require a time value to be allocated.

    For example, it might take one hour to read Insurance Times each week. Most of that could be put as a time value but, in reality, perhaps only an half hour was devoted to learning something. The rule is to be honest with yourself and record the time that is relevant.

    Always take time to make a note of what you felt you gained from the activity. This is useful information for anyone else considering the same activity.

    In response to the popularity of our CPD programme each week's CPD page can now be downloaded from our website. We will be preparing a binder for you to keep these in alongside the results of the exercises.

    To download a PDF of this article as it appears in the magazine click Click here . (81,9kb)

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