CPD and Revalidation

PARN Global News Article - 6 July 2011

CPD and Revalidation

CPD and Revalidation

CPD Spotlight - June/July 2011
Think Piece by William Hanson

There’s a way of describing revalidation that sounds almost exactly like CPD.

It’s a regular check that professionals are keeping up to date and remain competent after qualification. Most professions already do that, don’t they?

Revalidation is a little more complex than this and there are a few key distinctions that need to be made.

Firstly, there is more than one kind of revalidation; different styles of revalidation have been divided between relicensing and recertification.


Relicensing is the kind of revalidation that you are most likely to have heard of. It’s the type being introduced for UK doctors in 2012. Relicensing revalidation refers to regulating professionals through issuing time-limited licenses to practise and re-issuing new ones after some sort of assessment.

For UK doctors, the GMC has proposed an annual appraisal of doctors’ performance as assessed by a ‘responsible officer’ to be named by the organisation the doctor works in. The core of the assessment will be a portfolio of evidence collected by the doctors themselves. GMC also plans for colleague and patient feedback to make up part of revalidation assessments (copies of their proposed surveys for gathering this feedback can be found here).

By tying revalidation into existing systems of management and including patient and colleague feedback, the GMC has subtly moved the focus away from competence per se and towards an assessment of performance. One key distinction then is that revalidation places more emphasis on actual performance, whereas CPD measurement, either inputs based or outputs based, tends to focus on competence.


Recertification revalidation refers to the practice of rewarding professional excellence above the statutory minimum with a certification, renewed on a regular basis, to indicate this. Many professional bodies already engage in this kind of activity through CPD requirements and membership grades; for example a Chartered body that only allows members entry to Chartered status on completion of CPD.

Recertification is much closer to CPD in terms of content and processes. Whether CPD is thought of as part of recertification revalidation or recertification as part of CPD is more a matter of semantics.

Again, the key distinction is the kind of evidence looked at for revalidation. While CPD systems tend to emphasise learning, knowledge and competence, revalidation tends to focus on performance.

This is not always the case - many revalidation systems, popular in the US and North America, require an examination (or re-examination) rather than on-the-job, portfolio-based, continuous assessment. In this sense, it is competence rather than performance that is being tested.

Share your thoughts...

  • Is revalidation appropriate for your profession?
  • Which kind of assessment (continuous or re-assessment) do you think would be most appropriate for you profession?

Let us know your thoughts in our forum topic on PARNPeople:

(Note: You must be a member or join in order to participate)

Revalidation Workshop: 7 September

If you are interested in learning more about revalidation, book to attend PARN’s Reflective Workshop on the topic this autumn: