We hope that you have read the previous three blogs, and that these have been helpful for you in terms of understanding the CPD return process. 

SER Guidance Note 7 details SER’s expectations for Scheme members’ CPD, and the CPD tutorial provides further information on how to complete your CPD return.

However, we realise that opening the CPD window on January 1st means that many of you would have had more important things on your minds other than reading a step-by-step guide to completing a satisfactory SER CPD return. What follows is therefore aimed at you: a quick one stop guide to the most important things we feel you should be aware of. If you require further context for any of the points below then it can be found in our earlier blogs. We will list the points in the order in which they appear during the process:


  1. All SER Approved Certifiers that joined the Scheme prior to 1st July 2023 are required to submit an SER CPD return before March 31st 2024. If there is an Outstanding Task on your account homepage allowing you to submit a return, or a link to submit it in the CPD section of your Admin Area, it is safe to say you need to do so! If you are not sure if you have submitted your return this is also a good way of checking  – if the Outstanding Task or link is still there then the return has not been submitted.
  2. If a return is not received by March 31st, your ability to generate certificates will be automatically disabled until such time as you provide a return.
  3. You can select to submit your SER return to IStructE – but you cannot do this the other way around; your IStructE return cannot be used in lieu of your entire SER CPD return (more on this below!).

CPD Activity Notepad

  1. The Notepad allows you to add CPD activities on an ad hoc basis throughout the year – so if you attend a seminar in June, you can add it in June, rather than having to remember everything the following January.
  2. The flip side of this is that if you have not used the Notepad throughout the year, you will find completing the SER CPD return easier if you don’t use it. Although importing activities from the Activity Notepad is the first page of the CPD returns process, it is not the only way to upload them. You are also able to upload activities manually via Part B of the ‘Review, Activities and Intentions’ section later in the return process.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Uploading an IStructE and/or ICE return

  1. You are able to upload an IStructE or ICE CPD return (or even both!) as part of your SER CPD return.
  2. The key point is ‘as part of’ – after you have uploaded the IStructE/ICE return you will be able to select whether you wish for it to be a supplementary document or as an alternative to uploading activities via the Notepad or Part B – but that still leaves parts A and C, which always need to be completed.

Part A - Summary of Knowledge Gained This Year

  1. This section should contain background to the CPD activities you have undertaken in that year. If you have undertaken less than normal, this is where you should explain the reason(s) why.

Part B - Import and add activities

  1. If you have not uploaded all activities to the Notepad and then imported them, you will need to manually add them to this section unless you have selected to use your IStructE or ICE return in place of Part B.
  2. SER activities should be demonstrably relevant to your role as an Approved Certifier.
  3. You should explain how each Activity is relevant via the ‘Description of new knowledge gained’ section. This only needs to be a sentence or two for each Activity.

Part C - Intentions for coming year

  1. Use this section to detail your CPD plans for the following year, including both general plans and any courses you are already booked to attend.
  2. This section should also be used to explain your plans to rectify any of the issues you mentioned in Part A of the return.

You will no doubt be delighted to hear that this is the end of our CPD blogs. We hope you find them useful and that they help you navigate the undeniably occasionally confusing return process – and please accept our assurances that we are determined to ensure that improvements are made to the process that makes blogs like these less necessary!

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