Skip to main content
Close Menu Open Menu

New ways to think about CPD

By Andrew Close, Head of Careers, Education and Professional Development at the RTPI

Why is CPD important?

The RTPI has long recognised the importance of CPD, leading the way with a scheme in 1992 - well before many other professional institutes.  A CIOB study showed that members of the public trust a professional more if they are a member of a professional body.  Ongoing CPD is key to maintaining this trust and demonstrating the value of planning to the public.

The role and ability of planners to engage with the communities they serve has further come into focus with the 60th anniversary of the Skeffington Report on public participation. 

New year, new skills

The RTPI Code of Professional Conduct requires members to plan, undertake and record 50 hours of CPD in each two-year period. The act of doing, reflecting and recording CPD is one of the key things that differentiates a professional. One would expect doctors to continuously update their knowledge after they have qualified andthe same is true for planners.

Some have mixed feelings about doing CPD – wanting to update their skills and knowledge but not always knowing where to start or how much time it will take or what it will cost. There are a variety of cost-effective ways to complete CPD and a plethora of RTPI resources. Half an hour a week is enough time to complete the requirement.

What is the RTPI doing? 

The RTPI’s role must be more than just monitoring compliance with its CPD requirements. Research completed by Cat Goumal, RTPI Professional Development Manager, identified a series of professional skills and planning knowledge areas – or Core CPD - that make up the professional development needs of most planners.  The framework is non-compulsory but sets the standard for the profession. The research shows that whilst topics like ethics remain key to planners, they are not being widely offered by training providers. We are using this learning to structure the RTPI’s own offer and working with others in the future to fill gaps. It is sufficiently broad that members can adapt the principles and level required for their career, sector and jurisdiction.

Professional Skills

       Planning Knowledge

  • Championing Planning                                        
  • Infrastructure Planning & Economic Development
  • Business Development
  • Health and Inclusive Planning
  • Ethics & Professionalism
  • Housing
  • Digital Planning
  • Environmental Planning
  • Design
  • Planning Law & Process


We are all Ambassadors now

The Framework puts ‘championing planning’ at the top, in recognition of the various ways planners can engage with the public, other professionals, clients, politicians and young people.  One way is for planners to actively participate and advocate the benefits of planning as a career, and volunteer as an RTPI ambassador in schools.

Look out for the Core CPD Badge

How is the framework being rolled out? Kathryn Thomson, RTPI Professional Training Services Manager, is using the framework to shape the RTPI Training Programme 2020 with each masterclass meeting the Core CPD requirement. Our free online training - RTPI Learn - is also closely aligned to it. Other RTPI events will also feature an increasing range of opportunities available.  The framework helps to:

CPD is going digital

As part of the RTPI customer journey to make accessing and paying for CPD easier for members, the Institute is already investing in new platforms.

RTPI Learn has gone mobile, allowing planners to access e-learning on the move via phones and tablets with new content every quarter.

Keep an eye out too for new online payment requirements for RTPI Training events, reducing the need for invoices. And watch this space for online CPD logging in the future. Plantech is also one of our new 2020 masterclasses. We will be trialling ‘print on demand’, with materials being sent out to delegates by email. If you can bring a laptop to a training event this will also enhance the digital experience.

Back to top