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Recertification and Audit

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.

General recertification audit tips

The following are generalised recertification audit tips for all practitioners.

- Please ensure the correct Scope of Practice is recorded within your recertification plan. Please click here for more information.
-There are three Scopes of Practice which psychotherapists can be registered in. Please ensure that the correct Scope of Practice is identified on each recertification plan.
-Each plan covers the APC year 1st October-30th September. Please ensure dates recorded reflect the practising year, and are accurate and clear.
-The recertification plan refers to personal development of psychotherapy and cultural competence and standards of practice.
-There is only one template for the Recertification Plan which is on the Board website. Current and future plans should be on this template. Please delete any copies you have of the old template.
-All recertification plans must include your practitioner number and the date the plans were sighted by your supervisor. It is expected that the final sighting would be close to the APC renewal supervisor sign off.
-Please follow the directions on the template and put the correct/relevant information in the appropriate columns.
-Please include a rationale for the areas identified for growth, development and improvement.
-Recertification plans should be typewritten to meet Board 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, thoroughly reviewing one clinical competency, one cultural competency and one ethical standard of practice can be sufficient.
-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 sufficient as the auditor can ask for more information if needed.
-Please do not use identifiable names within the body of the plan; e.g. client or supervisor name, 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 ensure reflections relate specifically to a named competency or standard of practice
-Cultural competence is wider than bicultural competence and can include:
Distinctive groups and organisations;
Migrant experience;
Political beliefs;
Religion and/or spiritual beliefs;
Sexual orientation;
Social economic status etc.


All psychotherapists are required to use this Board Recertification Plan Template. Click here to download the document.

Example of Recertification Plan
The Board has developed a recertification plan exemplar which you may find useful. 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. 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 Exemptions / Audit Extention Requests

If you wish to apply for exemption from an audit, for health or other extenuating circumstances, please contact the Board's Registrar by the date specified in your audit letter.

Exemptions will need to be in writing and outline your rationale and specific circumstances. Exemptions will be considered by the Registrar as soon as practicable.

If you wish to apply for an extension to the timeframe you have been asked to submit your recertification plans, for health or other extenuating circumstances, please contact the Board's Registrar.

Extensions will need to be in writing and outline your rationale and specific circumstances. Extensions will be considered by the Registrar as soon as practicable.

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.

Appendix 3: Audit Policy 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 recertification plan forms and supporting evidence if relevant, in case an audit is requested.

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

    Psychotherapist Core Clinical Competencies
    Click here to download the document.

    Standards of Ethical Conduct
    Click here to download the document.