23 September 2019

High levels of compliance amongst barristers with new CPD scheme

Following the introduction in 2017 of a new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme for barristers of more than three years' standing, most of those who we assessed were found to have successfully complied with the requirements.

Just under 90% of those whom we spot checked were considered compliant, or compliant with some feedback from us, after they were asked to submit their CPD records for 2017 for assessment.

The new scheme, which replaced the more prescriptive earlier scheme, required barristers on the Established Practitioners' Programme to:

  • prepare a written CPD plan setting out their learning objectives and the activities they proposed to undertake during the year;
  • keep a written record of the CPD activities undertaken over the previous three years including their reflection on the CPD they have undertaken, any variation in their plans and an assessment of their future learning objectives;
  • reflect on their planned and completed CPD activities to assess whether they had met their objectives; and
  • declare to us in 2018 that they had completed their CPD for 2017. This was done as part of the annual authorisation to practise process, when practising certificates are renewed.

The spot checking of 2017 CPD records revealed some areas for development for the Bar in general, including recording learning objectives and reflecting on how they had been met.

We will be working in the coming months to raise awareness of the scheme further and to continue to support you to fulfil your CPD obligations. We will undertake a period of further research and evaluation of the impact of the new scheme. Maintaining an effective CPD scheme is one of the ways in which we assure ourselves of the competence of the Bar.

A copy of the BSB's 2017 CPD monitoring report is available on our website.