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Recertification and Audit
 

Background

Under Section 41 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA) the Board is required to set or recognise a recertification programme. The recertification programme is a mechanism to ensure that psychotherapists are maintaining their competence to practise within their registered scope.

Participation in the Board's recertification programme is mandatory and applies to all psychotherapists holding a current Annual Practising Certificate (APC). A Recertification Plan requires engagement in Continued Professional Development (CPD). Psychotherapists are required to identify areas for professional development relevant to their current practice. The appropriateness of activity undertaken is up to each psychotherapist in consultation with their supervisor.

Recertification Plans are audited, which enables the Board to measure engagement in CPD. Psychotherapists can expect to be audited at least once every 5 years, and any psychotherapist who currently holds an APC may be selected to participate in a recertification audit.

As psychotherapists are chosen at random for audit it is possible a practitioner may be chosen more than once over a 5 year period.

The Board regards the recertification plan document as a living document which may be changed in response to new understanding.

The audit process is intended to be supportive and where appropriate provide feedback to assist psychotherapists in using their Recertification Plan as an effective professional development tool.

Template
 

All psychotherapists are required to use this Board Recertification Plan template, click here to download the document.

Recertification Process
 

Click here to see a flow chart of the recertification process.


Engagement in the Board's Recertification Programme requires two (2) steps:

1. A Recertification Plan (a working document outlining continued professional development). Please note that completion of the Board's template is mandatory, but any additional material is optional.

2. Supervisor Attestation (this is part of the APC renewal form).

Practitioner Recertification Plan
All practitioners holding a current APC are expected to engage in continued professional development, and self-reflection of their current level of competency. Self-reflection should be aimed at identifying areas of growth, development, and improvement.

Practitioners are required to complete the template provided, relating to the core clinical competencies, cultural competencies, and ethical and legal practice, as noted on the left-hand column of the template.

The template should be completed in such a way as to indicate that the core clinical competencies, cultural competencies, and ethical and legal practice issues have been reviewed and considered. However, it is expected that particular emphasis will be given to those areas seen as most focal to the practitioner's continuing professional development needs. The reasons for the choice of focal issues should be indicated.

Practitioners should record these areas of development, their intended developmental plan, and review their progress throughout the year. The Board regards the recertification plan document as a living document which may be changed in response to new understandings.

Continuing professional development activities, such as attendance at a course of study, attendance and presentations at conferences, attendance at workshops, reading material or other media, additional supervision, peer group discussion, clinical presentations to peers or colleagues, or personal psychotherapy, may be incorporated into the self-reflection as appropriate. In such cases there should be adequate specificity; for example authors, titles, dates, etc.

Some practitioners may feel that the template does not allow for an adequate representation of their style of professional development. They are invited to supplement the completed template with additional notes or other illustrative means relevant to their self-reflection. For example, describing the process they have undertaken to gain insight, or describing what helped them become aware of the areas of continuing professional development that needed attending to, or how their insight is being integrated into practice.


Supervisor Attestation
The Board understands clinical supervision to be a central component of psychotherapists' professional development. It is acknowledged that practitioners may choose to use peers or additional supervisors to assist in their self-reflection.

The practitioner's primary clinical supervisor is asked to sign an attestation which confirms that:
* They have sighted and discussed their supervisee's areas for growth, development and/or improvement (the Recertification plan);
* They are satisfied to the best of their knowledge, that the continuing professional development activities outlined are appropriate for maintaining competence in their scope, practice area, and level of experience;
* They confirm that their supervisee has attended and participated in regular supervision and that to the best of their knowledge the supervisee understands and adheres to the Board's Core Clinical Competencies, Cultural Competencies and Standards of Ethical Conduct.

This attestation is signed as part of the APC renewal process.

Audit process
 

While recertification is the primary means by which the Board promotes the on-going competence of practitioners, an audit is seen as the most effective way the Board can ensure that practitioners are actively involved in meaningful self-reflection of their clinical practice, and identifying issues for further professional development.

Selection of practitioners for audit will be random.

Practitioners will only need to supply the Board with their Recertification Plan (and any supporting documentation they wish) if they are selected for audit. The Registrar will contact practitioners selected for audit.

Please note that recertification will not include auditing of client files.

Appendix 2: The checklist used by Recertification Auditors Click here to download the document.

Useful Information
 

All psychotherapists holding an APC must engage in the Board's Recertification Programme. This means:

  • filling out the Recertification Plan template (this is a working document)
  • discussing their on-going professional development with their supervisor
  • keeping the Recertification Plan form and supporting evidence if relevant, in case an audit is requested.



    Psychotherapists Standards of Cultural Competence
    Click here to download the file.

    Psychotherapist Core Clinical Competencies
    Click here to download the document.

    Standards of Ethical Conduct
    Click here to download the file.

  • General recertification audit tips
     

    The following are generalised recertification audit tips for all practitioners. The Board acknowledges there were some particularly well written and thoughtful plans submitted. Please note that the recertification plan refers to personal development of psychotherapy competence and standards of practice.

    * Please use the APC year (1 October to 30 September) for your recertification plans, not the calendar year.

    * There is now only one template for the Recertification Plan which is on the Board website. Current and future plans should be on this template.

    * All recertification plans must include your practitioner number and the date the plans were sighted by your supervisor.

    * Please follow the directions on the template and put the correct/relevant information in the appropriate columns.

    * Recertification plans should be typewritten to meet the Board's legibility requirements.

    * Recertification plans should be checked for typos, grammar and spelling. Errors can misrepresent the writer's intention.

    * There is no requirement to cover all the competencies, as reviewing one clinical competency or one standard of practice thoroughly can be enough.

    * Recertification plans should highlight how the identified areas for further development have been attended to in addition to discussing or addressing it in supervision. The identified areas should be derived from your self-reflection.

    * The Recertification Plan need not be a long document; a summary is enough as the auditor can ask for more information if needed.

    * Please don't use identifiable names within the body of the plan. eg client or supervisor name, and avoid using acronyms for the first citing of a place of work or modality or treatment option as not all auditors will be aware of what is being referred to.

    * Please be specific when providing examples of continuing professional development and include a date, name of presenter/author.

    * Please make sure reflections relate specifically to a named competency or standard of practice.

    * Cultural competence is wider than bicultural competence and can include:
    Age;
    Disability;
    Distinctive groups and organisations;
    Ethnicity;
    Gender;
    Migrant experience;
    Occupation;
    Political beliefs;
    Religion and/or spiritual beliefs;
    Sexual orientation;
    Social economic status etc.