The article by RIBA Council member Pe ter Treb i lco ck (AJ 3/10.8.00) raises issues regarding the RIBA's approach to continuing professional development (CPD). We would make the following comments on some of the points he covers:
It is not our experience that RIBA members now view CPD as 'little more than a bureaucratic mechanism'. Our first round of monitoring was overwhelmingly positive, and the RIBA receives scores of calls each week from practices wishing to put together well-thought-out training programmes.
The RIBA's policy of monitoring 5 per cent of registered practices per year for CPD compliance keeps paperwork - particularly for the small practice - to a minimum. The question of submission of evidence of CPD to the RIBA or the ARB would need to be looked at carefully in relation to resources. The resources devoted to monitoring CPD need to be balanced against those used to provide and coordinate CPD.
The ARB and the RIBA are looking at the question of core competencies.However, as the building and development industries become more complex the task of maintaining up-to-date lists of sets of competencies for a wide range of career types would be onerous. The philosophy of life-long learning on which the RIBA CPD system is based is that it is the individual's responsibility to do this (with help from their practice) in the light of their own particular situation.
The RIBA has a clear and concise policy on CPD which took years to devise. It was initiated by a council member, developed by a task force of members and RIBA staff, tested among a variety of practices, and approved by council.
While larger practices may feel that definite budget allocations are necessary, the RIBA is aware that smaller practices will operate on a more informal basis, and that the quality of CPD does not necessarily relate directly to its cost. The RIBA CPD Providers Network, for instance, makes available to architects and others free, quality, assessed CPD.
The RIBA does not wish to see certificates. However, many architects ask for them. If suppliers of CPD are giving them out, it is only because of demand.
So what is the purpose of CPD?
So far as the RIBA is concerned, the purpose is to maintain, enhance or increase one's knowledge or skills, within the framework of the needs of the individual, their practice and business, the profession, the construction industry, clients and society. The existing system now appears to be working extremely well in helping our members to achieve their goals in current jobs, careers and life. Let's not make the system so rigid no one will benefit.
Ongoing debate is vital, and if anyone would like to discuss the future of CPD at the RIBA, do please contact Joni Tyler via RIBAnet. This is something we are always thinking about, as part of an evolving process.
Joni Tyler, head of CPD, RIBA and Tim Gough, vice-president practice, RIBA