Understanding continuing professional development (CPD) at ICSA


Continuing professional development (CPD) is the maintenance, enhancement and continuous improvement of knowledge, skills and abilities. There are many benefits to undertaking CPD:

  • Keeps you up to date with current business requirements
  • Shapes thinking around career development
  • Demonstrates versatility and growth by constantly updating skill sets
  • Can be a used at appraisals and in helping to secure a promotion.
  • Shows current or potential employers that you are professionally competent and committed to your own development.

All chartered ICSA members must undertake the mandatory completion of a minimum of 20 CPD hours, excluding exemptions.

Members in public practice are required to carry out and record 35 hours of CPD.


Our members undertake mandatory CPD to ensure good standing and professionalism and to continually develop their skills, knowledge and experience.

ICSA competencies are designed:

  • To assist our members in personal and career development in the workplace and in any other roles, including school governors, charity and pension trustees and community roles.
  • To be relevant across all sectors and organisations, from companies to local government, from charities to armed forces and from universities to hospitals; and
  • To be aspirational – attainment of all the competencies at the highest level may be achieved over a lifetime.

The six core competencies are set out below with examples of the types of actions and behaviours which underpin each competency.  These are not exhaustive and should be achieved on a continually improving basis over a lifetime, across a range of governance, risk, compliance and/or company secretarial roles.

Earns trust

  • Wins the confidence of colleagues at all levels aa well as those they deal with who are external to the organisation, for example advisers or stakeholders
  • Demonstrates professional credibility through integrity and competence, being consistent in behaviours, values and principles
  • Sustains integrity and resilience when faced with ethical dilemmas, uncertainty or conflicting priorities, taking advice and guidance when needed but always maintaining independence of thought in applying their professional values
  • Gives authoritative and professional guidance on legislation, regulation, governance, policies and practices
  • Upholds the ICSA Code of professional ethics and conduct www.icsa.org.uk/become-a-member/code-of-ethics

Promotes transparency

  • Enhances organisational performance through the delivery of high quality, purposeful information
  • Promotes strong and positive relations through engagement with, and fair treatment of, the key parties with which they have contact, e.g. customers, suppliers, investors, regulators, the media and the wider public
  • Creates, and actively supports through personal example, a culture that ensures structures, policies and procedures that have been put in place have the intended outcomes
  • Contributes to the identification and management of financial, non-financial and reputational risks
  • Promotes and values effective, clear and honest recording and reporting, both internally and externally as appropriate, for example through meeting minutes, annual reports, financial statements and statutory returns
  • Protects and strengthens organisational reputation

Influences others

  • Develops and fosters trusted relationships through intelligent and thoughtful interaction, acting as a bridge between parties where introduction or intermediation can bring about a positive outcome
  • Seeks to continually improve corporate decision-making by challenging themselves and others to make and implement effectively, informed and well-considered decisions, to learn lessons from past decisions and to share best practice
  • Influences corporate judgement through strong personal and professional ethics
  • Communicates effectively and works constructively with others
  • Networks to establish coalitions and alliances for mutual support
  • Leads by example, demonstrating personal commitment to professional ethics and values, and challenging inappropriate behaviours when encountered

Improves results

  • Strives to optimise the part they play in delivering, and facilitating delivery by others of, organisational objectives
  • Contributes to strategic planning and, in doing so. is alert to, and actively takes steps to ensure understanding of, key priorities, objectives and success criteria
  • Is commercially aware and understands how the organisation creates value
  • Anticipates organisational change, customer needs and changes in the competitive landscape and responds appropriately
  • Promotes the immediate and long term value of corporate responsibility and ensures decisions and actions within their own sphere of responsibility do not result in unnecessary negative impacts on wider stakeholder interests

Maximises resources

  • Aligns interests, facilitates dialogue and gathers relevant information for effective organisational and group dynamics
  • Coaches, develops and motivates others to achieve their full potential, putting thought into finding opportunities to nurture and develop the talents of others and actively seeking learning opportunities to stretch and develop their own knowledge, skills and experience
  • Monitors and reappraises progress, reallocates resource and keeps the team on track
  • Rationalises complex issues and finds ways to deliver timely solutions
  • Identifies and makes effective use of all available resources including financial and intellectual

Adds value

  • Combines intelligence and practical skills to make innovative judgements and reflective practice
  • Drives improved working practices, embraces change and encourages others to generate new ideas and new ways of doing things which deliver efficiencies, value for money and improved outcomes
  • Adopts new technology to improve capacity or effectiveness


ICSA provide in-house training opportunities and accept approved external training by providers who meet our quality standards.

Required CPD hours
Use this table to determine how much CPD you're required to undertake.

CPD hours
Membership typeTotal CPD hoursFormal CPDEither formal or informal CPD
Chartered member 20 hours Minimum 5 hours Maximum 15 hours
Member in public practice 35 hours Minimum 10 hours Maximum 25 hours

For members in public practice, the CPD year runs from the date on your ICSA practicing certificate.

You MUST use the ICSA CPD log to record CPD hours and need to submit documentary evidence of CPD hours for monitoring, along with your practicing certificate applications.

Formal and informal CPD
Formal CPD entails participation in organised activities that have appropriate content for chartered secretaries and where attendance can be evidenced. For example, attendance at a relevant half day course or seminar might constitute 4-5 hours formal CPD. Informal CPD involves activities the individual undertakes themselves, including experiential and workplace learning, reading and research. For example, reading Governance and Compliance magazine for half an hour each month would equate to 6 hours of informal CPD over the year. Find out more about what constitutes formal and informal CPD.

Recording your CPD activity
We require CPD activity to be logged and evidence provided. For formal CPD, it might be anything including attendance lists, confirmation emails, receipts and copies of teaching materials or agendas. It is often easier to evidence formal than informal CPD activity, but you can complete a self-evaluation sheet to help you evidence informal CPD. Find out how to evidence your CPD hours.

ICSA audits CPD with a selection of members are chosen at random for a check on CPD activity every year.

CPD exceptions
All chartered members are eligible for CPD with the following exceptions:

CPD exemptions
Fully retired and 60 years old or over

If you've been granted the retired subscription fee or you're a life member, you are automatically exempt and need take no further action.
Fully retired and under 60 years old You can apply for full exemption from CPD.

Partially retired and working part time You can apply for exemption from CPD.

On maternity/paternity leave

Providing you are on leave for at least eight months of the CPD year, you can apply for full exemption.
Not currently in paid employment/looking after children full time/full time carer You can apply for full exemption.


If you’ve been unemployed for eight months or more of the CPD year you may apply for full exemption.
Just elected to membership

If you're elected to membership part way through the subscription/CPD year, you won’t need to undertake mandatory CPD until the next full year of membership.

If any of the above circumstances apply, to discuss possible exemptions please contact us

Students and ICSA graduates don’t have to fulfil the CPD requirement, but it’s good practice to get into the habit, so we provide the logging function for students and graduates too.


Frequently Asked Questions
What is CPD?

Continuing professional development, or CPD is the maintenance, enhancement and continuous improvement of knowledge, skills and abilities.

Who needs to undertake CPD?

All chartered ICSA members and members in public practice must undertake the mandatory completion of CPD.

How many hours of CPD must I undertake?

20 hours of CPD must be undertaken for chartered members. Of this total, five hours must be formal CPD with the remaining 15 hours being formal or informal.
Members in public practice are required to complete 35 hours of CPD, 10 hours of which must be formal CPD.

How many hours of CPD do I have to complete?

Members are to undertake a minimum of 20 hours of CPD each year with a minimum of five hours constituting ‘formal’ CPD and the remaining 15 hours being formal or informal.
If practicing in the public sector, you must undertake 35 hours of CPD, 10 of which must be formal.

What constitutes formal and informal CPD? 

The main difference between formal and informal CPD is that formal CPD is something you attend or actively participate in – a formally arranged event, generally with an agenda.
Informal CPD is generally done on your own, or with just a few colleagues. Read our examples of formal and informal CPD.

What work-based meetings can be accepted as formal CPD?

The general rule is that the meeting should be formal in nature. It should involve a group of people, work to a fixed agenda and involve some element of learning for you.
If you wish to have confirmation that any particular meeting or event can be considered towards your formal CPD please contact us

Are ICSA students and graduate members required to undertake CPD?

No, both students studying ICSA qualifications and ICSA graduates are not required to undertake CPD.
ICSA does however recommend that CSQS students and ICSA graduates get into the habit of undertaking CPD and a logging facility is available through MyICSA should they wish to use it.

How do I record my CPD?

You can log your CPD online using the CPD log in MyICSA or alternatively by another method of your choosing.
You can opt to use an employers CPD log, a CPD log used for another professional body or maintain your own personal record.
Regardless of the method you choose, you must be able to post or email a copy of the alternative log you are using if requested as part of ICSA's monitoring process.

Do I need to record my CPD?

Yes, you are required to keep a full record of your CPD, as ICSA undertakes monitoring of a random selection of members each year to ensure standards are being met.
As part of the monitoring process ICSA will ask for a copy of your CPD log and supporting documentary evidence. Your log and evidence must be kept for a period of three CPD years. Find out more about evidencing your CPD.

Do I need to inform ICSA if I am not using the CPD log through MyICSA?

Yes, you must confirm which CPD log you are using through MyICSA.

How do ICSA monitor CPD?

At the end of the subscription year, ICSA checks all members’ records to make sure that those required to complete CPD have done so, and have completed the declaration.
ICSA will then choose a random selection of members to submit their CPD records and evidence for analysis.

How do I provide evidence of my CPD?

CPD can be evidenced by providing anything from attendance lists, confirmation emails, copies of teaching materials or agendas.
Please visit https://www.icsa.org.uk/become-a-member/cpd/evidencing-your-cpd for more information on how to provide evidence of CPD.

What happens if I don’t undertake or record my CPD?

It is the members responsibility to ensure the CPD requirements are met to maintain professional membership.
If you have difficulty completing the requirements, please contact us

How do I declare my completed CPD for the current subscription year?

CPD declarations must be made through MyICSA.
For those using the online CPD log, they will be automatically taken to the declaration page once they have logged the total required hours.
Those using an alternative log must login to MyICSA and state the total amount of formal and informal CPD undertaken and make their declaration.

How long do I have to complete my CPD for the current subscription year and when must the declaration of my completed CPD be made by?

Chartered members must complete their CPD within the current subscription year (1 August - 31 July). All CPD declarations must be made no later than 31 July each year. Members in public practice must complete their 35 hours of CPD within 12 months of the date stated on their practicing certificate.

Are any exemptions available from undertaking CPD?

Yes, members can apply for either a full exemption from CPD or a reduction in their CPD requirement on a pro-rata basis should their circumstances meet the relevant eligibility criteria.
Members who are retired, unemployed, working part-time or on maternity/paternity leave for a period greater than eight months are typical examples of those who might be eligible for exemptions.

How do I apply for exemption from CPD?

Should you feel that your circumstances meet the eligibility criteria to be exempt from undertaking CPD, please contact us

Do training and events offered by ICSA count towards my CPD?

Yes, the attendance or completion of many of ICSA's training courses and events will count towards your CPD requirement and the hours awarded for each course or event are stated on the ICSA website.
Should you be unsure as to whether a particular course or event counts as CPD, please contact us

Does CPD count if it is gained using other training providers, or by attending non-ICSA events?

Yes, it is not mandatory for members to undertake CPD through ICSA training and events.
Members must however ensure that the CPD undertaken is relevant to the continuation of professional development as a chartered secretary in order for it to count towards their CPD requirement.

What happens if I become a registered member in public practice part way through the current subscription year?

For members in public practice, the CPD year runs from the date stated on the ICSA practicing certificate.
Members in public practice are required to complete the mandatory 35 hours of CPD within 12 months of the date on their ICSA practicing certificate.

What happens if I am both elected to chartered membership and become a member in public practice part way through the subscription year?

In this instance, you will not be permitted to wait until the next subscription year and will be required to undertake a total amount of 35 hours of CPD within 12 months from the date stated on your ICSA practicing certificate.

What happens if I am elected to chartered membership part way through the subscription year?

Newly elected chartered members will not be required to undertake mandatory CPD until the next full year of membership.

Where can I get advice on planning my CPD?

Your best starting point when planning your CPD is to discuss the requirements with your employer.
If you are not already attending relevant meetings, then it may be possible to arrange with your employer for you to do so. 


ICSA offers an online log in the MyICSA area, providing a secure place to record all CPD activity.

Log and declare your CPD

Whilst it’s not compulsory to use our log (you may already have one, or do a CPD log for another professional organisation) you might find it a handy tool to keep a record of your CPD activities as-you-go throughout the year.

You'll need to log in to MyICSA to access the CPD log. Not registered yet? Register for MyICSA.

If you have any questions or issues regarding your CPD declaration, please call our friendly Members & Students team on +44 (0)20 7580 4741 or contact us

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