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IPDS: the initial professional
development scheme
21st January 2011

Paul McMenamin
IPDS Assessor

Introduction and Outline

• Introduction to IPDS
• Planning and Evidence
• Reflection
• General Reflection and Learning Points
• The Assessment
• Questions, AOCB and Plenary

IPDS: an introduction

The road to becoming a CPFA…
                         Where does IPDS fit
                           •Not just about
                           academic learning
                           •Practical training and
                           •Sound application of
                           techniques in a variety of
                           •Make sound
                           •Take responsibility for
                           own work

The relevance of IPDS to you today…

  •Recalling the experience
  •Gathering Evidence
  •Ensuring breadth of experience
  •Formalising the planning process
  •Demonstrating application of learning

IPDS – So what exactly is the point?

• CIPFA Statement of Expertise (see next slide)
• International Federation of Accountants
• IES 7 – Ongoing Development
• IES 5 – Practical Experience
   •Professional Knowledge
   •Professional Skills
   •Professional Attitudes

IPDS – Key Features

• Your experience to date
• Your learning achieved
• Your organisation
• Your planning skills
• Your future development plans
• Your professional competence

Being a Public Sector Finance Professional

• What is a professional?
• Expectations on us as professionals
• Professional responsibilities
• The role of CPD

The IPDS Portfolio
• The log of workplace experience
• Selection of 3 core professional experiences
• Selection of professional competence experiences
    •Oral presentation
    •Iterative process
    •Long-term process

• Demonstration of planning skills
• Demonstration of reflective thinking and learning from experience
• General reflective thought
• Future learning and development goals
• Completed CPD Learning and Development Plan - NEW

The log of workplace experience

• Minimum length
• Minimum breadth
   •Leadership and Strategic Management
   •Strategic and Operational Financial Management
   •Financial and Performance Reporting
   •Governance, Ethics and Values
   •Audit and Accountability
   •Partnership and Stakeholder Relations
   •Change, Risk and Project Management
   •Procurement and Contract Management

Activity Selection

• Personal development needs
• Organisational needs
• Should be natural for you to undertake them
• 6 separate activities?
• IPDS plan

Activity Selection

• Personal development needs
• Organisational needs
• Should be natural for you to undertake them
• 6 separate activities?
• IPDS plan

Example professional level activities

•   Financial Assessment for Grant Applications
•   Evaluation of Provision of Budgetary Control Information
•   Role as part of system implementation project team
•   A Systems Review
•   Planning and Conducting an Audit
•   Collection and Analysis of data for BV or Use of Resources Assessment
•   Appraisal of an Audit Plan
•   Attend and Appraise the success of a budget consultation meeting
•   Appraisal of Accounts
•   Preparing the budget
•   Monthly Budget Monitoring
•   Review of Governance Arrangements
•   Review of Grant Payment Systems
•   Review of an organisation‟s ethical stance

Example oral activity

•   Presentation on System Requirements
•   Presentation at a “Presentation Skills” course
•   Trainee Induction
•   Presentation on new CIPFA Syllabus
•   Assist in Financial Management Training
•   Teaching Departmental Staff to use FIS
•   Presentation on IPDS
•   Other

Example iterative process

•   Lead role in Budget Revision Process
•   An audit and its report content
•   Financial Planning Model
•   Completion of Accounts
•   Agreeing an action plan
•   Agreeing audit report recommendations
•   Agreeing audit action priorities
•   Agreeing a plan

Iterate – “to say or do again”

Less about technical ability and more about responding to feedback

Example long-term activity

•   Treasurer of Voluntary Organisation
•   Maintaining the CIPFA logbook
•   Planning studies around key workplace pressures such as final accounts
•   Monitor an Action Plan
•   Longer-term audits
•   Managing a client account
•   Managing the development of an individual
•   Implementing a system

• Completion of IPDS is no longer appropriate as a LT activity

IPDS: planning and application


• For each professional level activity and FTPC activity you are required
• Additionally, you must submit an overall reflection, set of learning goals
  and your CPD Learning and Development Plan

Planning and Application (Keynote Slide 1)

   All about context and forethought you applied prior to undertaking
   the activity
   •Why you undertook the activity
   •Why you included it in your portfolio
   •What you did to plan for undertaking the activity
   •Your role in the task
   •Who else was involved and how
   •Timescale for completion


• Why undertaken and Why Included

• “As part of my role as Systems Development Accountant…”
    •“Due to absence of the service accountant, our mutual manager
    asked me to deputise…”
    •“One of the key responsibilities of the FOI departmental contact is

    •“This was one of the few non-audit activities I undertook this year…”
    •“I felt this activity fitted very neatly under the description “Financial
    and Performance Reporting because…”
    •“I included this activity as it was one of the most uncomfortable and
    negative experiences I have experienced in my career so far and as a
    result I thought it might provide some excellent learning outcomes”.


• What was done? (As part of the Planning Process)

    •All considerations prior to doing anything
    •How identified what information would be required
    •How identified which officers would need contacted
    •How tasks were planned and prioritised
    •How any key risks / dependencies were identified and what these

• What was done? (In Application)

    •What were the key steps in carrying out the activity


   •Your role in the task

   •Needs to be explicitly defined
   •What you did – they key tasks
   •What you did – the final outcome
   •What you did – it‟s meaning

   Remember! Keep the focus on you and your role.

• Who else was involved?

   •In the planning process (Planning)
       •Your manager? (delegation / defining spec / objectives / scope /
       •Clients? (defining spec / objectives / scope / etc)
       •Internal Colleagues & Peers? (Advice / Research / etc)
       •External Colleagues & Peers? (Advice / Research / etc)

   •In the doing process (Application)
       •Your manager? (advice / feedback / comments / instruction /
       •Clients? (feedback / information / interview / comments / etc)

   •All pertinent and relevant to each step of the planning and physical
   doing processes


• Timescale for Completion etc

    •Planning timescale for completion
    •How timescale was set
    •Dependencies (if not mentioned before)
    •Windows of opportunity


• Practical Example
• Word Count

IPDS: evidence

Evidence (Keynote Slide 2)

• Evidence must clearly demonstrate
   •The activity has been undertaken
   •Your role and the extent of your personal involvement
   •The outcome of the activity
• For FTPC activities, must meet the additional requirements outlined
   •Oral – 3 people or more / pre-planned
   •Iterative – 1 or more iteration
   •Long-Term – 3 months or more timeframe


• Undertaken
   •Email correspondence
   •Extracts of notes, working papers, etc
   •Evidence of work being devolved
   •Evidence of planning process / plan
   •Extract from log
   •Statement from employer


• Roll and personal involvement
   •Extract of audit working papers
   •Significant email correspondence
   •Extract of final report / presentation where involvement is shown
   •Extract of brief
   •Extract of plan or programme


• Outcome
   •Final report extract
   •Feedback (feedback sheets, emails, etc)
   •Outcome appears on an agenda (e.g. presentation, report) or minute
   of meeting
   •Audiovisual recording
   •Agreed note of discussion / meeting


• Written documents
   •Business reason
   •IPDS reason
• Other types of evidence

Evidence Summary

•   Quality, not quantity
•   It‟s all about you
•   Extracts are acceptable
•   Don‟t rely on log or a statement from your employer
•   Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it
•   Confidentiality will be respected

IPDS: reflection

Why the requirement for Reflection?

• Statement of Expertise
    •the importance of reflection in professional development
• Donald Schon
    •Defining characteristics of a professional
• Mentoring / Critical Friend
• Experience

The benefits

•   to encourage recognition of what has been learnt and how
•   to develop and use different styles of learning
•   to (positively) influence later learning
•   to encourage the adoption of effective learning strategies
•   to relate and ‘cross reference’ learning from different contexts
•   to aid the transfer of learning to different situations/contexts


•   Develop knowledge, skills and understanding
•   Integrate theory with practice
•   Learn from Practice
•   Develop critical thinking
•   Challenge practice
•   Identify (and solve) problems
•   Evaluate
•   Increase motivation
•   Facilitate change
•   Make better decisions
•   Take charge of own learning
•   Plan
•   Understand feelings
•   Develop the skills needed for lifelong learning


• Promotes a deeper approach to learning
• Surface, Strategic and Deep Approaches
• Based on “improving own learning and performance” – a much-valued
• E.g. Time Management
• Setting Personal and Professional Targets
• Acting on advice and feedback
• Reviewing own performance
• Using the benefit of hindsight

Reflective Writing

• a piece of writing where:-

    •you and your learning are the focus
    •you seek to analyse and understand a particular experience or
    •you seek to recognise and understand any learning that has taken
    •you may wish to analyse your own experience and responses to the
    •you recognise your learning achievements

4 stages of Reflection

• returning to the experience

• attending to feelings

• re-evaluating the experience

• identifying learning points

Return to the experience
   Recall all that happened and in what order.
   “After my first week in the division, Fran asked me to create the audit plan in draft and
   provided me with the previous year‟s plan. On discussion, it appeared that risk assessment
   had never been an issue in creating the audit plan, but Fran agreed that this was a good
   idea for the future and suggested that I run with it and see how it went.”

   The role you played in the experience.
   The role of any other participants.
    “Several times I attempted to discuss the plan with other members of the audit team, but
   at each attempt, I was thwarted. The availability of other staff meant that to a large
   degree I was left to my own devices.”
   Any factors that influenced, either positively or negatively, your learning or your effective
   completion of the task.

   “The first surprise was that risk assessment had not been taken into account in previous
   plans, which I had fully intended to use as a model. Hence I had to work out the entire
   process from scratch.”

   Any feelings that you experienced during the process.
   “This was challenging especially as I got little help from the rest of the team.”

Attend to feelings

   •Positive feelings encourage you (to learning, performance, etc)
   •Negative feelings may act as a barrier (to learning, performance, etc)
   •Take time to explore feelings reactions
   •Seek encouragement from positives
   •Look to eliminate debilitating effects of negative feelings in future
   •Don‟t ignore the problem
   •Be objective

   “On reflection, this activity has taught me much about dealing with the feelings and
   insecurities of staff.”

Re-evaluate the experience

• Take time to re-evaluate what happened
• Identify what you have learned
• Record under the „Learning‟ section

• Reflect on Ethical Issue(s)
    •Challenge your behaviour
    •Question your professionalism

Identifying Learning

•   What have you learned?
•   How was this learning achieved?
•   What effect has this had on overall professional practice?
•   What effect has this had on overall professional development?
•   How will the whole experience support your future development?

Identifying Learning
Re-examine your experience and compare it with what you hoped to
“Risk assessment is far more complex than I imagined.”

Identify your new learning.
“If I were to carry out this task again, I would make it a consultative document, and spend time
    discussing it with the Chief Auditor and staff.”

Try to relate what you have just learned to your previous
“In academic work, it always appeared to be an analytical process of applying weightings and
   probabilities – but in reality, I had to create those weightings and probabilities.”

Identifying the factors, positive and negative, that affected your
  performance and how you could control these in the future.
“My broad attempts to complete the tasks verbally at the meeting were met by cries of alarm
  from the staff, with hindsight I can understand their concern.”

Identifying Learning

• Ask yourself…

   •Have I learned anything new?
   •How did this learning take place?
   •How does this new learning relate to my previous knowledge?
   •Were there any factors, positive or negative, that affected my learning?
   •Could I control these factors in the future?
   •How far has this learning enabled me to achieve an identified goal?
   •What effect has this learning had on how I do my work and professional
   •Has this reflection helped me to identify any further learning I need to

Reflection Summary

• It is about you, how you felt, what you did well and less well, and what
  you have learnt.

• There should be „I‟ and „Me‟

• Explore your feelings

• Be honest about what was happening

• Look at both positives and negatives

• DO NOT just describe what happened!


  My manager, Mr Smith, invited me electronically to a meeting as I
  needed to completely rework my model service budget for the coming
  year. I was extremely upset at this idea, as I had put a lot of effort into
  preparing what I thought was the final draft over the last 3 months. I
  was surprised he had emailed me now, for it had been 2 weeks since I
  had given him the version and was bitterly disappointed that when he
  did respond, he did it in such an impersonal manner. I was confused.
  What did he want that I hadn‟t done already? I emailed him back my
  views in no uncertain terms. When I spoke to my manager, however, I
  felt a lot happier and even a little foolish. The reasons for the revisions
  were made clear to me – the politicians wanted a reduction in proposed
  council tax levels as well as there being a change in the general RPI.
  On reflection, I should have waited until the meeting until he had a
  chance to explain the background to me. With the benefit of hindsight,
  I had been a little rash and next time, I guess I should count to 10
  before firing off such a strongly worded reply.

Reflection (Keynote Slide 3)

• Feelings
• Why Feelings
• Impact of Feelings
   •On you, your performance, your objectivity, your learning, etc
• Learning Outcomes
• Learning Points



        •Positive and negative feelings which activity generated before
        undertaking it, during completing aspects of it and now that it is over.

        •Before: e.g. Nerves, Excitement, Surprise, Delight, etc

        •During: e.g. Upset, Pleasure, Challenged, Distraught, Frustrated,
        Motivated, De-motivated, Pressurised, etc

        •After: e.g. Pride, Pleasure, Annoyed, Resolute, etc


• Why Feelings?
   Essential that you identify not just what feelings were generated but why you
   consider these feelings arose in order that you can demonstrate that you are
   not only aware of them, but that you recognise that they had an impact on
   you, your performance and most importantly, your learning.


• Learning Outcomes
   What you learned from undertaking the activity
       “On Reflection”
       “With the benefit of hindsight”
       “Next Time”

• Learning Goals
   Specific actions which you need to undertake to improve performance in
   Might even include training requirements
   Separate identification at foot of commentary useful

Reflection Hints and Tips

•   Terminology…
•   Identify Learning
•   What approach did I take?
•   Evaluate achievements against objectives
•   +ve and –ve factors / boosts and hindrances
•   Good aspects and bad aspects
•   Ethical factors
•   Impact of factors
•   Personalise
•   Effect on personal development
•   What now?


• Practical Example
• Word Count
    •Reflection 500 words
    •Learning 300 – 500 words

General Reflection

• Same as activity reflection
   •Longer (c. 1000 words)
   •Whole development process experienced to date
   •Complete only after all other tasks
   •Covers key elements of training & development
      •How theory learned influenced practice
      •Link academia to workplace to academia
      •Positive and negative influences on learning
      •Altered perception of role of CIPFA professional
      •How learning has improved / become more effective
      •Different approach in future?
      •Ethical Dilemma
      •… and much more…

General Learning Goals - Example

• For example only
• Can be textual, tabular, etc
• Word Count 500-750

CPD Learning and Development Plan

•   New for late 2010
•   Appendix F of the Guide
•   You are expected to complete Level 2
•   Development needs
•   CPD activities you require to undertake to meet those needs
•   Complete a Learning and Development record as you go along thereon

• Assessed for accuracy and completeness

IPDS: the assessment

The portfolio
• Title page – name / candidate number
• Contents
• 6 evidenced activities
    •Front sheet
    •Planning & Application
    •Evidence (referenced to appendices)
    •Employer‟s validation and report form
• General overall Reflection
• Future Learning & Career Goals
• Completed CPD Learning and Development Plan
• Appendices (of Evidence)
• Appendices
    •Workplace Experience summary form
    •Validated Log of Workplace Experience

Assessment Principles

•   Assess learning, not technical aspects
•   Supportive assessment
•   Transparent
•   Robust and consistent
•   Minimum time delay post examinations
•   Prepare candidates for CPD

Stages of Assessment

•   1    Stage 1 – Completeness Check
•   2    Stage 2 – Logged Experience Checked
•   3    Stage 3 – Qualitative Assessment of 3 Professional Activities, 3
•   4     FTPC Activities, and Overall Reflection
•   5    Stage 4 – Review of „Future Learning Goals‟
•   6    Stage 5 – Review of CPD Learning and Development Plan
         Stage 6 – Recommend

         NB: There is no longer the compulsory requirement to attend

Assessment Criteria

• Outcomes
• Assessment scoring
   •See Descriptors

Assessment Process

• Review portfolio against guide checklist
• 2 copies of portfolio
• Submitted at or after attempting FTPC examinations
• 1 assessor
• No automatic interview NEW
    •Informal discussion
    •Focus on between 3 and all activities
    •Expand on what‟s in portfolio
    •Professional style
    •Supportive / coaching collegiate style
• Feedback

Reporting to Candidates

• IPDS 2
• IPDS 3

Employer Considerations

•   Evolution into new qualification, new syllabus and IPDS
•   Placement Planning
•   Level of Support
•   Evidence
•   Mentoring
•   Reviewing Portfolios
•   Time Dedication
•   Validation of Log of Workplace Experience
•   Management Roles in Activities
•   Delegation
•   Others…?

The Oral Presentation

• Research
• Preparation
    AV Aids
• Deliver
• Reflect
    Incl. Feedback

Summary of Pitfalls
   Incomplete – Not 400 days, not at least 4x20 days
   Iterative Process not actually Iterative
   Planning nothing more than description of main steps in process
   Insufficient volume of evidence
   Loads of evidence, but little support…
   Feelings Lacking / Impersonal Reflection
   Reflection biased to negative experiences
   Reflection ignores uncomfortable experiences
   Descriptive „Reflection‟
   Quality of proof / inconsistent style between activities
   Poor quality CPD Learning and Development Plan
   Failure to meet minimum word count
   Inadequate identification of Learning
   Learning outcomes not clearly identified

The End