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The Professional Learning Framework (PDF) provides an infrastructure that brings together business support professionals and their organisations to ensure that professional development activities are planned, supported and reviewed in a structured way.

The framework will involve HR professionals and line managers in the ongoing development of staff and contractors. Individuals will develop their skills and knowledge against the standards of professional competence that are relevant to their role. Business support professionals will chose those standards relevant to their role and expectations in conjunction with others in their organisation.The Professional Learning Framework will enable individuals to agree meaningful Professional Development Plans that are tailored to their individual and organisational needs. The Professional Development Framework will require Business Support staff and contractors to update their Professional Development Plans on a quarterly basis as a minimum, and that these amendments are agreed with the organisation.In addition, the Professional Development Framework will require Business Support staff and contractors to update their Professional Development Journal on a quarterly basis as a minimum.

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This is a document that quantifies and analyses the professional development activities undertaken in the previous quarter. The analysis includes an investigation into the impact of such activities on themselves and their organisation.The Professional Development Framework focuses on continuous professional development. This is an ongoing process of formal and/or informal learning and development that is planned, recorded and reviewed. The BLU definition states that “CPD is about committing yourself to doing things better, knowing more and being prepared for the future.” CPD is the underpinning feature of the Professional Development Framework of the BLU.

Development activities, wherever possible will be mapped to the standards of professional competence.Also, as part of the framework, individuals will have the opportunity to be assessed against the standards of professional competence. It will also allow for individuals to receive formal recognition of achievement from the BLU and relevant external bodies. The Professional Development Framework allows for individual’s professional development plans and journals to be aggregated at an organisational (BLO) level and at a regional level. Through the work of the Standards Support Team, the framework will enable local and regional plans and reviews to be recorded and discussed with relevant stakeholders. These plans and reviews will also be articulated at a national level.

The local plans and journals will be important to regional stakeholders in identifying specific regional needs and requirements and how responses may be made at that level. The regional plans will also be aggregated at a national level to help the BLU and SBS respond to the different needs of the regions. As well as involving individuals, line managers and HR staff, the framework will also involve key regional stakeholders such as RDA’s and LSC s. It brings together all levels in a structured and coordinated way and is driven by the support and assessment activities carried out by the BLU Standards Support TeamWhat is the purpose of the Standards of Professional Competence? As previously mentioned, the CPD activities undertaken by business support professionals will be mapped as far as possible to the standards of professional competence. Assessment activities carried out will also be made against these standards.

Occupational standards have been used for over five years in the business support and information sector. The current set of standards adopted by the Small Business Service i.e. the Standards of Professional Competence are aimed at those customer facing staff and contractors providing Business Link branded services. These standards were introduced in September 2001 and have been widely used and accepted by Business Links and their staff and contractors.

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