2020 archived consultation: CPD (CET) review proposals


20 Aug 2020


28 May 2020

This consultation was previously hosted on our consultation hub. We have moved it here as part of archiving.

We asked

We ran a public consultation seeking stakeholder views on changes we intend to make to free up our Continuing Education and Training (CET) scheme, after intially consulting in 2018. We were interested in views on the following proposals:

  • Replacing the competencies which currently underpin the scheme, as these are seen as overly prescriptive.
  • Allowing registrants more control over their learning and development and the ability to tailor it to their own personal scope of practice.
  • Enhancing requirements for registrants to reflect on their practice.
  • Changing the name of the scheme from CET to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). 
  • Introducing a new proportionate system of CPD approvals.

You said

We received 484 unique responses to the survey - 451 from individuals and 33 from organisations. We also held focus groups and interviews with stakeholders from across the sector and all nations of the UK. These are some of the key findings.

  • 42% of respondents thought replacing the current CET competencies with the Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians would have a positive impact on them or their organisation, with 13% thinking it would have a negative impact.
  • The majority of respondents (68%) thought that allowing registrants to use non-approved CPD to count as points towards their CPD would have a positive impact.
  • There was some concern over the requirement that CPD be designed for healthcare professionals and last a minimum of one hour.
  • Attitudes towards reflection appeared to be split, but there was disappointment that peer review was not being introduced for dispensing opticians.
  • A large majority of respondents stated that changing the name of the scheme from CET to CPD would have either a positive impact (42%) or no impact (54%) on them or their organisation.
  • The proposal to approve and audit CPD providers, rather than the CPD they produce, was perceived as a positive change, with only 8% thinking it would have a negative impact.

We did

We are very grateful to everyone who responded and have considered all the feedback received. We have made some small changes to our proposals in line with the comments received. The next steps include amending the CET Rules, developing the MyCPD portal, and communicating the new scheme requirements to providers and registrants.

Results updated 24 Sep 2021

Following the results we modified our proposals as follows:

  • Making a peer review mandatory for dispensing opticians;
  • Allowing self-directed CPD of at least half and hour in length to count for half a CPD point; and
  • Removing the requirement for self-directed CPD to be "designed for healthcare professionals", instead allowing registrants to take responsibility for deciding whether learning is relevant to their professional development.

This has required changes to the CET rules and we are currently in the final stages of confirming this with the Department of Health and Social Care. Following the consultation we partnered with a provider, Perceptive Medical Education, to make the new MyCPD portal to implement the changes to the scheme. Perceptive also created the MyCET portal and the first phase is due to be rolled out to providers in October 2021. We have also been conducting regular webinars with providers to keep them updated on our new requirements and have produced guidance for them. We are planning to communicate the changes to registrants, and have produced guidance for them too.


Original consultation


This consultation seeks stakeholder views on our proposals to introduce changes to our Continuing Education and Training (CET) scheme to make it more flexible and less prescriptive, allowing registrants greater freedom to undertake learning and development which is relevant to their own personal scope of practice.

These proposals are based on feedback from our 2018 public consultation: Fit for the Future: A lifelong learning review, and further engagement with stakeholder organisations to develop our thinking. We are going to be seeking legislative change in order to be able to implement some elements of our proposals, in particular the proposal to enhance reflective practice for our registrants.

Why your views matter

We know that some stakeholders will be wondering why we are consulting on such an important issue for the optical sector at a time of unprecedented change to the way we live our lives. Since the current CET scheme was introduced in 2013 the optical sector has changed quite a lot, and the work optometrists and dispensing opticians carry out has expanded and diversified. Devolution of healthcare policy in the UK means that we have already seen a difference in the way optical services are being commissioned and delivered in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and it is likely that these trends will continue in future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of having a highly skilled and flexible workforce, which is able to work effectively as part of multi-disciplinary teams across the healthcare sector.

In light of all these changes, we must ensure that our scheme is agile and able to support an optical workforce likely to see many changes in the coming years. We need to ensure that the scheme more effectively supports registrants to develop and diversify their skills throughout their professional career. We have already indicated that our timeframe for change will be at the start of the new cycle in January 2022. We need to consult now to allow us to finalise our plans and give stakeholders enough time to prepare for change.

Our initial consultation in 2018 and our engagement since then indicate a strong appetite to evolve our scheme in the following ways:

  • Replace the competencies which currently underpin the scheme, as these are seen as overly prescriptive (and within the next cycle likely to be replaced by the new Education Strategic Review (ESR) requirements, ‘Outcomes for Registration’)
  • Allow registrants more control over their learning and development and the ability to tailor it to their own personal scope of practice
  • Enhance requirements for registrants to reflect on their practice
  • Change the name of the scheme from CET to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). In line with this, from here on in this consultation, we will refer to any future scheme and activities within it as ‘CPD’, and the current CET arrangements as ‘the current scheme’
  • Introduce a new proportionate system of CPD approvals

We would like to hear your views on the proposals in the consultation to help us develop and finalise our policy changes - the consultation is divided into five main parts:

  • Section 1: Change of name
  • Section 2: Freeing up the scheme
  • Section 3: CPD categories
  • Section 4: Non-approved CPD
  • Section 5: Reflection
  • Section 6: CPD approvals

We encourage you to respond to all the questions, but you are free to respond to as many or as few as you choose.

Consultation data will be securely shared with our research partner for this work, Enventure Research, for independent analysis and reporting. 


Consultation questions for download (PDF document)