Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner
Following the implementation of the OISCs new principle-based code of standards, and after changes to the CPD schemes of other legal services regulators, the OISC has decided to make changes to its own CPD scheme.
The new CPD scheme will reflect the OISCs greater focus on outcome based regulation but will still require immigration advisers to take a professional and accountable approach to their CPD activities.
The new requirements will provide immigration advisers with greater flexibility in how they identify and achieve their own personal CPD requirements and allow them to engage with a wider field of providers.
With immediate effect the OISC has removed the requirement for advisers to undertake a set number of CPD hours per year and also the requirement for advisers to record their CPD activity on the OISC CPD website.
The OISC appreciates that a number of advisers have already taken CPD courses this year and that some of this will have been in the expectation of having a set number of hours to complete. We welcome the fact that advisers are assessing their CPD needs early in the year and achieving what they need to maintain their competence.
Until now, only courses accredited by recognised CPD accrediting bodies (e.g. the Bar Standards Board) have qualified for the OISCs CPD scheme.
With immediate effect this will no longer be the case and you are free to choose who delivers your CPD. It will now be for advisers and organisations to assess the quality and value of the CPD they are going to undertake.
You may want to take into account that those CPD training providers that have acquired accreditation have gone through a strict process that assesses and assures the quality of the training provided.
The CPD website will close on 30 September 2016.
Until then, you will be able to upload CPD activities to your personal record. If you wish to keep a permanent record of your own CPD activity since 2013, you will need to print a hard copy before the website closes.
After 30 September 2016 we will be unable to supply any details of the CPD you have completed this year and in previous years. It will then be your own responsibility to maintain a record of all CPD activity in a format that the OISC can inspect.
The free online OISC core immigration courses on the CPD website will cease to be available after 30 September 2016.
The OISC appreciates that these courses are popular with advisers, however they are expensive to maintain and as the CPD scheme will no longer require that advisers complete a set number of CPD hours, we cannot justify the expenditure that is necessary to maintain them.
The new CPD scheme
The new scheme will allow advisers and organisations to be more flexible in how much or how little CPD is carried out, provided that they are able to declare and demonstrate they have properly considered their CPD requirements and show how those requirements have been met.
As part of each application for continued registration, a declaration will need to be made by an accountable person at the organisation. The declaration will confirm that each adviser has identified their CPD requirements and taken action to address them, so as to maintain their competence.
The new declaration will come into effect from 1 April 2017.
Organisations will therefore need to meet this requirement for applications for continued registration that are submitted after 1 April 2017.
The period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 will be a transition year and will provide sufficient time for organisations to prepare themselves and carry out an assessment of how they and their advisers will be delivering CPD in the future.
Code 6 of the OISCs new code of standards states that:
Advisers must be able to demonstrate that they are compliant with the Commissioners Continuing Professional Development requirements
This means that while the OISC is keen for advisers to have the flexibility to decide their own CPD activities, we need to ensure that competence is being effectively maintained.
The OISC will therefore continue to monitor advisers CPD activities to ensure that you and your organisation are carrying out the effective assessment and delivery of CPD, so that advisers maintain their competence.
With effect from 1 April 2017 this will be carried out through premises audits and spot checks.
Over the coming months the OISC will be setting out in more detail the requirements of the new scheme and engaging with immigration advisers to understand how best the OISC can support them in their CPD activities.
We understand that this will be a considerable change for immigration advisers but trust that you and colleagues will welcome this new outcome based approach to OISC regulation.
If you have any questions at this stage, please email email@example.com or contact your caseworker.