Revalidation; or, an information professional’s CPD is never done… by Emily Hopkins

It seems talk of revalidation on the LIHNN Clinical Librarians blog is a bit like buses!

You may have been lucky enough to attend one of the practical revalidation sessions and have already revalidated, and if not Matt Holland’s excellent post on this blog has hopefully encouraged you to join the revalidation club.

You may have also heard from CILIP that they’re planning to make revalidation “obligatory” from January 2016 – this article from CILIP explains more. And, as Matt made encouragingly clear, there’s nothing to fear…

Professional registration vs. Qualifications

Previously the distinction has been somewhat blurred. However, CILIP are now making sure the distinction is clear: most information professionals hold formal qualifications (be that an NVQ, degree or other accredited study), but the ACLIP, MCLIP or FCLIP is an accreditation of the professional practice they carry out in their roles. If achieving your ACLIP, MCLIP or FCLIP shows you’re able to practice at that level, revalidating it shows you’re maintaining it and keeping your skills up to date. Bodies including the GMC and NMC also have a revalidation process for their members (albeit more rigorous), and, well, wouldn’t we all rather be treated by someone who was willing and able to demonstrate that they’d kept their skills up to date?

“Obligatory”, “mandatory” or “compulsory” – what’s the difference?

CILIP have stressed the subtle differences in emphasis of these words, and we could no doubt spend in excess of 20 hours discussing their etymology. In essence, although all members will be obliged to undertake revalidation, there won’t be any enforcement of this, or any sanctions if you’d don’t revalidate.

obligatory, adj.

2. Freq. humorous. So customary or fashionable as to be expected of everyone or on every occasion.

OED Online;

I like to think CILIP are hoping to make it so fashionable to revalidate, that anyone who’s anyone simply has to do it to avoid a fashion faux pas…

The plan is that all members will complete annual revalidation, and a random sample of 5% will be chosen to be assessed. If you’re chosen for assessment and you’re not able to submit (for instance, you’re taking a career break) you can simply tell CILIP and they’ll excuse you.

As CILIP point out, most of us do well in excess of 20 hours per year CPD anyway, and this process gives a way of recording and acknowledging that. Ok, it won’t mean a pay rise or extra postnominals, but certificates of completion are available on request should you wish to dazzle your colleagues. Also, the revamped Register of Chartered Members will include your latest revalidation date, so professional pride may also compel you to make sure it’s recent, and prospective employers can of course check candidates’ revalidation dates.

So what do I actually have to do?

It really is just a CPD log (20 hours or more over the year) and a 250 word statement to reflect and evaluate on this.

There is a lot of guidance available on the CILIP VLE – choose “professional registration” from the courses list of the VLE homepage (fig 1), then “revalidation. The tabs across the top take you through hints and tips, and the handbook for your level (ACLIP/MCLIP/FCLIP) reminds you of the criteria you’re revalidating. This is also where you submit your completed portfolio. admitedly it’s not the most intutive system, but it’s not difficult and if you follow the guides you’ll be fine.

Fig 1

Figure 1


Figure 2

How do I create the portfolio?

CILIP Portfolio (link on the VLE – look for the little green blob) is where you log your CPD and build your portfolio.


Figure 3

From the tabs at the top, “Content” – is where you can create a new CPD log to record your 20+ hours each year. A year can run from whichever date you like. It’s advisable to stick to approximately the same time every year.

CPD can cover a range of activities, be that attending a conference, LIHNN study day, formal training course, participating in a webinar or MOOC, or yes, reading something in CILIP update. As long as you’ve learned something or developed in some way.

I’d suggest quality rather than quantity is key – as long as you’ve got the minimum 20 hours, I wouldn’t worry about logging every single activity, but concentrate on recording the more significant ones. The “description” box allows you to write a short summary of what you’ve learned. You don’t need evidence such as certificates, just to complete the log.

The 250 word statement is a short reflection and evaluation of how your CPD has helped you maintain your ACLIP/MCLIP/FCLIP. You don’t necessarily have to discuss every activity; just give an overall reflection and evaluation.  Most people find it helps to structure it under the 3 headings of the relevant criteria. This handy template from CILIP South West will help you structure and write the statement with minimal fuss.

Back to the tabs in fig 3, “Portfolio” is where you can assemble your portfolio – not a lot of assembly required as you simply import your CPD log and add your statement in a text box.

Once you’re happy with your portfolio, follow the guides and/or video in the VLE to submit. There isn’t a specific response time although anecdotally, people seem to be getting their feedback within 1-2 months. Presumably after January 2016, you won’t actually receive feedback unless you’re one of the lucky 5%, although I think these details are still to be confirmed.

Ideas and inspiration

There is a user called “Example Portfolio Content” on the portfolio system which is worth a look for some examples of revalidation submissions. And many people, myself included, have made their submissions available to their “friends” on the portfolio system (yes, in true social media style you can collect friends!) so you can get an idea of what a submission actually looks like.


Figure 4

A note on the PKSB

Unlike ACLIP, MCLIP and FCLIP submissions, it’s not mandatory to include a PKSB self-assessment with your revalidation submission. Saying that, the PKSB is available to all CILIP members, so it may help to give inspiration when planning your CPD, or when used in conjunction with your organisation’s PDR/appraisal process, help negotiate CPD support with your manager. The PKSB is available on the CILIP website.

Emily Hopkins

On behalf of the North West Candidate Support Team

Support and advice on CILIP Professional Registration is also available from the team, which includes Emily Hopkins and Dan Livesey.

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2 Responses to Revalidation; or, an information professional’s CPD is never done… by Emily Hopkins

  1. Matt Holland says:

    Great post. We have a the What, the Why and the How. Now just need do it.

  2. Emily says:

    Thanks Matt! Yes, the doing it can be the tricky bit, but not difficult I promise! I’ve revalidated twice and it really was painless once I’d got to grips with the quirks of the VLE.

    Predictably, CILIP upgraded the VLE/Portfolio system as soon as this post was published (they’re obviously learning from NHS Evidence), so the graphics now look a little different to the screenshots above, just in case anyone was wondering!

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