We will introduce a new continuing competence review framework to support members

There are several pieces of news I would like to share with you this month, the first concerning our plans to modernise continuing professional development (CPD) to make it individual, flexible and easier for members to follow.

We recognise that people's CPD needs change as their careers advance and we want members to regard their ongoing professional development as a personal investment, not an obligation.

This is why we have decided to replace the hours-based model with a new continuing competence review (CCR) framework that will require each member to target areas for development, create an individual action plan and assess the impact of the activity that they undertake.

ICSA has, for some time, aimed to help members move more easily between one level of achievement and the next. CCR is one of the many ways in which we intend to help members take the necessary steps in order to grow.

Flexible and self-directed, the CCR framework will place responsibility on the individual member for setting their personal development plan; tailoring activities to reflect the needs of their job, their career level and their professional aspirations; and measuring what they have achieved in following their plan.

It will not prescribe a set number of development hours that must be completed.

The appropriate amount of development activity undertaken will be a matter for individual judgment. CCR is due to be introduced in August 2018 and will run alongside the membership year as it currently does.

By the end of each CCR cycle, members should be able to identify the knowledge or understanding they have acquired and how it has made a difference to their professional development.

I hope that you will find the new ICSA model supportive, empowering, worthwhile and user-friendly. More information will be released once details about the new scheme have been finalised.

"A major change concerns the emphasis placed on the essential relationship that a chartered secretary has with their client"

The second piece of news I wanted to share with you concerns revisions to the ICSA Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct.

The code comprises four core principles to which all Fellows, Associates, graduates, students and, in due course, affiliate members registered with the UKRIAT Division must adhere. It is being revised to reflect the changes to continuing professional development mentioned above.

A major change concerns the emphasis placed on the essential relationship that a chartered secretary has with their client.

By providing that an employer is also a client, we are reflecting the position taken by other mainstream professions in relation to their members working in-house and it is hoped that this will enhance the status of chartered secretaries who practice in employed roles.

Second, the code is being updated to reflect the fact there is a new obligation for graduates to pursue professional development. A high standard of service or professional competence should be delivered throughout one's working life and this sentiment is as relevant to newly qualified individuals as it is to seasoned professionals.

Third, a definition of 'integrity' has been included to clarify the standard of conduct expected of chartered members, graduates, students and affiliate members.

Integrity is of paramount importance in the world of governance, where company secretaries and other governance professionals are expected to be honest; to have and adhere to strong ethical principles; and to be impartial, independent and informed.

Finally, the code will ensure that affiliate members who join ICSA under the recent byelaw changes are made fully subject to its provisions and to the new continuing competence review regime.

On the subject of affiliate membership, we are looking forward to introducing the new class of membership, likely from August 2018. This is designed to recognise the achievement, value and capability of those who have successfully completed one of our short course qualifications or Part One of the ICSA qualifying programme.

This new membership category reflects the changing nature of governance and the increased demand for suitably qualified practitioners across all sectors.

As the leading institute for governance, we have broadened our qualification, events and training programmes to meet this demand. It is now only natural that we offer a broader category of membership to the growing and increasingly diverse governance community too.

Although new affiliate members will not be chartered, they will benefit from enhanced professional recognition of their abilities and the right to use the post nominals CIS (Affiliated).

They will also have the opportunity to play an active part in the ICSA community through our branches and network events in the UK and across the world. We hope to be writing to all eligible alumni with more details in June.

Simon Osborne FCIS is CEO of ICSA: The Governance Institute