An approach to gathering evidence for KSF


07 / 04 / 2009

  • The organisation
  • SHA Region
  • What we did and why
  • How we did it
  • The results and next steps
  • Further information and contact details
  • The trust has undertaken a series of practical workshops which provided guidance for staff on the mapping of evidence against standards and how to get the most out of evidence. 

    The organisation

    South West London and St. Georges Mental Health NHS Trust employs around 2,700 staff and provides local and national mental health services to a population of about 1 million across five London boroughs.

    SHA region


    What we did and why

    The KSF introduced a need for practitioners to demonstrate evidence that they have the appropriate knowledge and skills to fulfil their jobs as part of the development review. Alongside this, allied health practitioners registered with the HPC and nurses registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) also have to produce evidence of their continuing professional development (CPD).   This led to staff feeling confused and anxious about how to collect evidence and whether it could be integrated into one system.

    In 2007, the Government published its proposals for the revalidation of health professionals in the White Paper ‘Trust, Assurance and Safety’.  It suggested that  within the NHS in England information gathered under the KSF should be used as far as possible as the basis of revalidation (page 39; paragraph. 2.34) This reinforced the importance of using the KSF as the way of collecting evidence.

    The occupational therapy service developed an integrated, flexible and time efficient system to support staff with the collection, recording and presentation of evidence, backed up by a sample portfolio and personal statements. These were rolled out through practical workshops and have been adapted for other staff groups locally and beyond. 

    How we did it

    The initial project started with the development of a professional Continuous Professional Development (CPD) portfolio which included guidance on:

    • CPD
    • an expanded CV
    • appraisal documentation
    • templates for evidence, for example, a record of a study visit.

    In 2003 with the introduction of the KSF, the portfolio was amended to include a KSF outline and record of progress. KSF awareness training and a briefing pack were given to all occupational therapy and physiotherapy staff at this stage.

    In 2006 the portfolio was further adapted to reflect the HPCs standards for CPD. This was a necessary step in order to prepare staff should they be asked to complete a HPC CPD profile as part of the 2009 audit for occupational therapists to remain registered to practice.
    All portfolio formats were made available on the trust’s intranet.

    In late 2006 a local audit of allied health professionals revealed that although staff  were aware of the CPD expectations of their professional bodies, the KSF and the HPC:

    • there was no consistency in the way they were evidencing their learning
    • portfolios had been developed containing either insufficient evidence or duplication of work
    • the majority of evidence had not been mapped i.e. linked to either the KSF outlines or the HPC standards
    • there was a lot of anxiety and staff clearly identified time, competing priorities,  and struggling with the language of the KSF as the main the barriers to creating adequate portfolios.

    To address these issues staff were invited to attend reflective practice workshops, given guidance on the mapping of evidence against standards and were shown how to get the most out of a piece of evidence. The message was also emphasised that the majority of evidence would come from everyday practice and that  portfolio development should not be a ‘paper chase’. 

    Cross referencing evidence into a KSF record of progress was also included which facilitated the auditing of portfolios and formulation of personal development plans at development reviews.  Everyone received a copy of an integrated portfolio, the ‘Jigsaw Book’ illustrating a completed KSF record and an HPC CPD audit profile.  The profile uses AfC language and fully integrates both the KSF and preceptorship into the process so that staff at all stages of their career use the same system.

    The results and next steps

    The trust has also helped others who were finding it a challenge, especially when KSF gateways became functional in trusts and the HPC commenced their rolling programme of CPD audits for allied health professionals in 2008.

    They have shared their work through conferences, professional publications and has facilitated over 20 workshops around the country with both allied health professionals and nursing teams.
    Evaluation forms from both local and national workshops indicate that the training provides an effective and simple approach to finding, reporting and evidencing practice and helps participants to understand how the KSF, preceptorship, HPC and CPD link together.

    A recent re-audit of allied health professionals demonstrated that they found the integrated approach to evidence both appealing and achievable. 

    The outcomes so far have included a significant increase in the number of employees including ‘everyday evidence’ and mapping evidence to the KSF and other required standards (HPC, NMC) in their portfolios. 

    The trust is now working with HR managers to look at how the lessons learned can be used to develop evidence systems for non-registered groups of staff.

    Further information and contact details

    Jane Smith, occupational therapy training coordinator, South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust  - 020 8682 6362 

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