Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Explained

12th August 2021Sam Smith0

Every member of The Society of Will Writers commits to completing Continuous Professional Development (CPD). But what is CPD, how do you achieve it, and what counts? In this brief article we’ll explore the role of CPD and answer some frequently asked questions.

What is CPD?

Continuous Professional Development, or CPD for short. The Society of Will Writers expects all members to develop their abilities and knowledge throughout their membership year by completing a mixture of structured and unstructured CPD.

What is structured and unstructured CPD?

Structured CPD

We define structured CPD as attendance at training courses, conferences, seminars, workshops, regional group meetings or similar events involving active contributions. We also feel that preparation of lectures or other forms of presentation count as structured CPD. Structured CPD is generally something which can be proved by way of attendance notes or a certificate of completion.

Things that also count as structured CPD include:

  • Writing books, articles or reviews.
  • All learning media, provided they involve interaction with other individuals or in conjunction with video support (including group research; listening to audio tapes, viewing tax videos and tax specific television programmes; using video discs and computer-based training packages).
  • Completion of online CPD quizzes.

Unstructured CPD

There are a number of activities that the Society feels are adequate and contribute towards unstructured training.  Activities include – reading, research, or any other form of learning where there is no interaction with other individuals.  This would include the learning media as above where undertaken on a personal basis.

If you are unsure that what you have logged is structured or unstructured contact a member of the team and they will be happy to help.

How do I achieve my CPD hours?

There are many ways to achieve your CPD hours, most of which are through events and training courses with the Society.

  • Courses can be a great way to learn a new skill along with collecting great CPD hours at low cost. All of the courses providing by The College of Will Writing will count towards structured CPD. 1-day courses normally award between 3-5 hours and two days courses 6-10 hours structured CPD.
    • Over the past year we have been delivering many courses online, in doing so making training more accessible to members around the world. Structured CPD awarded for our online courses will vary as our ZOOM or TalentLMS Distance Learning courses differ in length so CPD will be stated when booking on these courses.
  • Regional group meetings are a great way of gaining structured CPD along with great updates within the industry and within the Society. Regional groups are easily accessible for each member as we have currently 20 active groups across the UK. Meetings generally award 1-2 hours structured CPD and are also a low-cost, or sometimes even free, way of gaining CPD. Meetings are ordinarily face to face, and some groups are hosting Zoom meetings too. Each group will meet a minimum of 4 times a year per region.
  • Every year the Society of Will Writers holds an annual conference for all members to attend. Conference is normally held at the start of October and is a two-day event worth 8 hours structured CPD. Conference is also a great way of hearing new speakers and finding new partners and members to network with. For more information about conference, please click here.
  • Our technical team create an online paper and quiz every month based on different aspects of estate planning. You complete the online CPD quiz by logging into your account on the College website. If you complete and pass the online CPD quiz, you will be awarded 1 hour of structured CPD.

You are also able to earn CPD elsewhere, as long as you are able to provide proof of training along with the syllabus to the membership team and they will be able to confirm if your attended training can count towards CPD. If you are a financial advisor, chartered accountant or any other professional and you complete CPD that is industry relevant we do accept this too.

How many hours do I have to complete?

CPD is mandatory for every member of the Society. The minimum CPD required is 16 structured hours and 8 unstructured hours. These hours must be completed every year that you are a member and must be submitted to us in your annual which should be accompanied by your CPD log sheet.

What happens if I do not complete my CPD?

Every member of The Society of Will Writers is bound to the SWW Code of Practice, having signed it as part of the application process and adherence being one of our mandatory membership requirements. Under section 2.4 the Code states

A Member shall ensure that at all times he has the required general and technical competence to advise on the provision of the Will Writing Services which the Member offers and has full and proper knowledge of developments in his areas of professional expertise. To this end the Member shall comply strictly with the rules of the Society’s Continuing Professional Development Scheme.

If a member is unable to meet the requirements in a particular year, they would need to contact the membership team to discuss the issue. If there has been an issue that was unavoidable, we are able to authorise that the shortfall is made up within your next membership year, meaning you would need to add the missed hours to the following years requirement. If the member continues to be fail to complete their CPD this will then be brought to the attention of the Professional Standards Board for further action.

If you have any questions regarding CPD please contact the membership team:

Sam Smith (Head of Membership) – [email protected]

Libby Robinson (Membership Administrator) – [email protected]


Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

Sam Smith

Sam manages the membership team. He is responsible largely for member recruitment and handling enquiries from members. As well as liaising with Society partners and third parties, he also looks after our 20 regional chairs. Sam is always on hand at Society events to meet and greet. In Sam’s downtime, he enjoys going to the gym, restoring his camper van, and playing golf.

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About The Society of Will Writers

The Society of Will Writers is a non-profit making self-regulatory organisation whose primary objectives are the advancement, education and ethical standards within the will writing profession.

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