The SER CPD return window will open on January 1st 2019, after which all Approved Certifiers that joined the Scheme prior to July 1st 2018 will be required to submit an SER CPD return via their SER Certifier admin area by no later than the end of March.

We will be publishing a series of CPD-related blogs closer to the time of the window opening, with each focusing on a specific section of the SER CPD return process. However, given that the CPD activity notepad is designed to be used throughout the year, and is also the part of the return process which has caused Certifiers the most confusion, we are publishing the blog relating to it now.

This blog provides information on the principles behind the activity notepad, why we recommend you use it, and advice to help you avoid issues that some Certifiers have found with it when completing their SER CPD return. For further advice on how to add activities to the notepad, we recommend that you read our tutorial on the subject.

CPD activity notepad

The CPD activity notepad allows Certifiers to add activities throughout the year (i.e. before the relevant CPD return window opens). The idea behind this is to make the process of completing the actual CPD return less onerous, as rather than having to remember every CPD activity you have undertaken in the previous year, you are able to add activities on an ad hoc basis as and when you undertake them, and then import them to the SER CPD return in one go.

That is the idea, anyway! The reality is that the notepad’s prominence on the first page of the SER CPD return has caused a fair bit of (understandable) confusion. In the medium term we are examining potential ways of changing the layout of the return process, and we will inform members (as well as issuing a revised version of this blog) if and when we do so, but hopefully the information in this article will help Certifiers to use the notepad correctly in the interim.

As we say, the notepad is designed to be used throughout the year. The flip side of this is that if you have not used it throughout the year, you should ignore it when it comes to completing your SER CPD return. If you have not used the notepad, please ensure you answer ‘no’ to the question asking whether you wish to import activities from it and move on to the next part of the return. You will be able to add your CPD activities manually in Part B of the CPD return; we will provide further instructions on this process in one of the blogs later in the year.

If you have entered some of your CPD activities into the notepad during the year but not all, do not worry; you can import those activities that you have entered onto the notepad but then manually add further activities in Part B of the return. This also applies to if you accidentally select to import activities from the notepad when you haven’t added any; you are still able to manually add activities in Part B of the return.

As stated earlier in this the blog, we fully understand how confusion has arisen, and how Certifiers could believe that retrospectively adding activities to the notepad is the only way in which they can complete their CPD return.

Last year for example, several Certifiers answered ‘Yes’ to the question asking whether they wished to import activities, even though they had not used the notepad to add CPD activities throughout the year. They then realised that no activities had been imported (because none had been entered) and rather than add activities via Part B of the CPD Return, they instead navigated to the activity notepad and entered activities retrospectively, presumably thinking that these would then be imported. This is not the case: you are only able to import activities from your CPD notepad once (in a year), any activities you add to the notepad after having imported will not be included in your final CPD return.

We hope that this blog will help you navigate the CPD activity notepad in order for it to be a help rather than a hindrance – for quick reference, here is a summary of the important points to note:

CPD Activity Notepad - at a glance

  • Only select to import activities if you have already entered activities onto the notepad
  • Activities are only imported once, at the point you select to import them – anything added to the notepad after this point will not be imported into your CPD return
  • If you mistakenly select to import activities from your notepad when you have not added any activities to it, it doesn’t matter. In this case, you will have to add the activities in Part B of the return – don’t try to add them via the notepad
  • Do not worry if you have not added all your activities to the notepad throughout the year – you can also add further activities in Part B of the return
  • It will save you time if you do use the notepad throughout the year, so it is recommended that you do so!
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