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CPD Scheme - Guidelines (Last updated: October 2016)

(To download the full text version (PDF format) of the CPD Scheme - Guidelines, please click here)

Section
1.   Introduction

2.  
Aims
3.  
CPD Points
4.   
Core and Non-core Subjects
5.  
Learning Modes
6.  
Endorsement of CPD Activities
7.  
CPD Period and CPD Attainment Target
8.  
Record-Keeping
9.  
Certificate of Attainment, CPD Attainment Symbol, CPD Mark for Estate Agencies and 
      Premium CPD Attainment Symbols

10.
Attendance Requirements
11.
CPD Information and Enquiries
List of Annexes
Table
 

     
    1.  Introduction 
       
    1.1
    The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Scheme was launched in May 2005, on a voluntary basis.  Under the CPD Scheme, practitioners (including estate agents and salespersons) are encouraged to earn a certain number of CPD points every year in the spirit of life-long learning.
       
    1.2
    The Estate Agents Authority (“EAA”) reviews the Scheme from time to time, with a view to determining whether the Scheme should be made mandatory, and, if so, how and when this should be implemented.
       
    1.3 The EAA provides certain learning activities for practitioners, including, for example, seminars and on-line learning activities.  Activities may also be offered by approved providers, including training institutions, trade associations, estate agencies, etc.


    2.  Aims 
       
    2.1
    To further the competence of practitioners and keep their professional knowledge up to date in order to enhance the trade’s continuing contribution to Hong Kong’s economic development.

    2.2
    To strengthen public confidence and consumer protection through building a culture of professionalism and encouraging adherence to ‘best practice’ among practitioners.

    2.3
    To assist practitioners in their quest for continuous learning, personal satisfaction and career development.


    3.  CPD Points 
       
    3.1
    CPD points would be assigned to  CPD activities based on the nature of the activity and the input required from the learner.  Generally, one CPD point will be awarded for each hour of activity undertaken.


    4.  Core and Non-core Subjects 
       
    4.1
    Generally speaking, areas related to estate agency law and practice, compliance or supervisory issues are core subjects.  Those conducive to raising the general standard of practitioners are non-core subjects.
       
    4.2 The following is a broad classification: 
       

    Core (C) Subjects

    Non-core (N) Subjects

    (C1) Estate Agents Ordinance and EAA guidelines

    (N1) Marketing skills and techniques

    (C2) Other legal and practical knowledge relating to estate agency work*

    (N2) Business management in general

    (C3) Professional ethics

    (N3) Finance and accounting knowledge

    (C4) Management, supervision, governance and due diligence of estate agency business

    (N4) Estate agency practice in other jurisdictions

    (C5) Surveying, property / facilities management and town planning

    (N5) Information technology

     

    (N6) Socio-economic issues

     

    (N7) Language skills

     

    (N8) Other knowledge conducive to raising standards of estate agency practitioners**

     * such as conveyancing, tenancy, land search, discrimination legislation, labour legislation, Buildings Ordinance, Residential Properties (First-hand Sales) Ordinance and Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance
     ** such as environmental protection, sustainable development, interior design, occupational safety, behavioural aspects, statistics and data analysis


    5.  Learning Modes 
       
    5.1

    CPD points can be earned through various modes of learning.  To foster balanced development and to facilitate interaction between trainers and fellow learners, practitioners are encouraged to diversify the learning activities they undertake.  Certain modes may therefore be capped in terms of the number of CPD points that can be earned over a 12-month CPD period (see Section 7).  The main learning modes are as follows:

       

    Activity Mode

    Details

    CPD Points

    Core /Non-core

    Points Cap

    Seminar / Lecture

    Conventional classroom seminar / lecture.

    1 per contact hour

    Case
    by case

    Nil

    EAA e-Quiz

    A case study on a topical issue conducted online by the EAA.   Advance registration required.(Annex A)

    1 per e-Quiz

    Core

    4

    Web-based Distance Learning

    Self-paced Internet learning packages.

    1 per contact hour

    Case
    by case

    Nil*

    Multi-session Training Activities

    Generally refers to a structured series of training sessions with a total duration longer than 10 hours (e.g. Skills Upgrading Scheme Plus courses described in Annex B).   

    1 per contact hour

    Case
    by case

    Nil

    Award-bearing Course  A structured series of classroom sessions that would culminate in the academic award of a certificate, diploma, sub-degree or degree.  1 per contact hour

    Case
    by case 

    Nil 

    Teaching Approved CPD Course/ Conducting Approved CPD Activity

    EAA clearance required.
    (Application form please click here)

    2 per session

    Case
    by case

    6

    Pro bono Work

    Activities conducive to raising the standard or status of the profession such as:

    • EAA committee work
    • Attendance at public education/ promotion programmes.

    EAA clearance required.
    (Application form please click here)

    2 per session

    Case
    by case

    6

    Publication

    The published work should be solely that of the author and serve to advance professional knowledge.  

    EAA clearance required.
    (Application form please click here)

    2 per publication

    Case
    by case

    6

    *until further review

    5.2 [This paragraph is deleted]
       

    5.3

    For the Certificate of Attainment award (see Section 9), the following limitations apply in calculating CPD points:
       
     a. To encourage practitioners to diversify their mode of learning, certain modes may be capped.  For example, the cap for the EAA e-Quiz is four CPD points per 12-month CPD period.  Therefore, even if a participant completes more than four e-Quizzes (one CPD point each) during a 12-month CPD period, only four CPD points can be earned.  For the capped value of different modes of learning, please refer to the table in Clause 5.1 above. 
       
     b. An activity repeated within a CPD period will not count the second time.
       
     c. Where “EAA clearance required” is specified for a particular activity mode, no CPD points can be earned without written approval from the EAA.
       
     d. In calculating the CPD attainment target for each CPD period, the points earned in compliance with with conditions attached to licences will be excluded.
       
    5.4 Since life-long learning is a worthy goal in itself, licensees are encouraged to undertake CPD activities beyond the CPD Attainment Target stipulated.



    6.  Endorsement of CPD Activities 
       
    (a) Recognized CPD Activities
     
    6.1

    Except as mentioned in Clauses 6.6 and 6.7 below, all activities need the endorsement of the EAA’s Professional Development Committee (“the Committee”) in order to be recognised under the CPD Scheme.  All activities by the EAA have already had the Committee’s prior endorsement.  For the activities listed below which are provided by the institutions specified and fall within the 13 study areas as set out in Clause 4.2 above, activity providers should submit applications to the EAA for endorsement:

       
     a. [This paragraph is deleted]
       
     b. Activities by Endorsed Training Institutions as set out in Annex C;
       
     c. Activities by activity providers (other than (b)) who have over five years’ experience in conducting CPD activities for the estate agency trade or other professions.  To be qualified, the activity provider must:
       
      (1)  have over five years’ experience in conducting CPD activities for other professions; or
       
      (2)  have over five years’ experience in conducting CPD activities for the estate agency trade that have been assessed by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (“HKCAAVQ”); or
       
      (3)  have over five years’ experience in conducting CPD activities for the estate agency trade and gone through the Initial Evaluation of the HKCAAVQ under the four-stage quality assurance of the Qualifications Framework.
       
     d. [This paragraph is deleted]
       
     e. Skills Upgrading Scheme Plus courses for the estate agency trade by the Employees Retraining Board (see Annex B);
       
     f. Any other activity the Committee from time to time considers worth incorporating into the CPD Scheme;
       
     g. Professional ethics seminars by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC);
       
     h. Protection of personal data seminars by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong;
       
     i. Courses leading to certificates, diplomas, sub-degrees or degrees (“Award-bearing courses”) by Endorsed Training Institutions, or, by Endorsed Training Institutions jointly with overseas educational institutions (effective from the CPD period commencing 1 October 2013 and ending 30 September 2014); and
       
     j.  Reimbursable courses under the Continuing Education Fund approved by the Government of HKSAR.
       
    6.2  [This paragraph is deleted]
       
    6.3

    Activities other than those mentioned in Clause 6.1 above should be assessed by the Assessment Panel of the Committee (see Annex D(1) for assessment details for seminars and multi-session training activities and Annex D(2) for e-learning or other web-based activities) in order to be recognised by the Committee as CPD activities.  All activity providers must observe the requirements set out under the Assessment Procedures in Annex D and submit an application to the EAA for endorsement (Application Form see Annex E).  Notwithstanding the endorsement of the Committee as mentioned in Clause 6.1, all activity providers must observe the requirements set out under the Assessment Procedures in Annex D.  For activities that do not require the Assessment Panel's assessment, the provider may make necessary adjustments to these requirements but must submit an application to the Committee for endorsement (Application Form see Annex E).  All CPD activities endorsed by the Committee (“recognised CPD activities”) will be posted on the EAA website.  The details provided include:

       
     a. Title of the activity
       
     b. CPD point(s)
       
     c. Mode of learning
       
     d. Whether core or non-core subjects
       
     e. Fee
       
    6.4

    If the EAA considers that a recognised activity (and/or activity provider) is not meeting the requirements of the CPD Scheme, the Authority reserves the right to withdraw the relevant endorsement by giving reasonable notice to the activity provider concerned.

       
    6.5
    [This paragraph is deleted]
       
    (b)  Non-recognised CPD Activities
       
    6.6 Licensees may find some activities which are not recognised under the CPD Scheme meeting their training needs. To facilitate licensees’ learning, effective from the CPD period commencing 1 October 2013 and ending 30 September 2014, an individual licensee undertaking non-recognised CPD activities may claim CPD points subject to the following conditions:
       
     a. The course undertaken should be one of the award-bearing courses as defined in Clause 6.1(i) above; 
       
     b. The course should be organised by the Endorsed Training Institutions as set out in Annex C, either solely or jointly with overseas educational institutions; 
       
     c. The course should fall within the 13 subjects as provided in Clause 4.2 above; and
       
     d. Prior approval should be sought from the EAA before CPD points could be earned (applications could be submitted before, during, or after completion of the course)(Application Form see Annex M).
       
     (c) Activities Offered or Accredited by Other Professional Bodies
       
     6.7 Licensees may claim CPD points by participating in activities offered or accredited by the Endorsed Professional Bodies as set out in Annex N, effective from the CPD period commencing 1 October 2015 and ending 30 September 2016, subject to the following conditions:
       
     a. The activity should fall within the 13 subjects as provided in Clause 4.2 above;
       
     b. The learning mode of the activity should fall within the modes specified in Clause 5.1 above;
       
     c. The activity should be verifiable i.e. attendance records or proofs of completion issued by the Endorsed Professional Bodies or the activity providers are available.  Acceptable evidence of attendance includes a certificate of attendance issued by the relevant professional bodies or the activity providers, a confirmation letter stating the number of learning hours issued by the relevant professional bodies or the activity providers or any similar formal written confirmation; and
       
     d. Prior approval should be sought from the EAA before CPD points could be earned (applications could be submitted before, during, or after the attendance) (Application Form see Annex O).
       
     (d)  Post-event Recognition of CPD Activities
       
     6.8  To ease the time pressure faced by activity providers in applying for recognition of activity, with effect from 1 October 2016 , activity providers may submit application to the EAA for endorsement of activity to be recognised under the CPD Scheme after the activity is held, subject to the following conditions:   
       
     a. Activity providers should submit application to the EAA for endorsement and provide supporting materials which are relevant and available, such as course outlines, training materials or handouts, credentials of instructors and activity-end feedback forms collected from participants within two months after the completion of the activity (Application Form see Annex E); 
       
     b. During the promotion of the activity, activity provider should state clearly that the CPD points for the activity are under application or would be applied for; and
       
     c. Activity providers will receive a letter of assessment outcome.  Upon receipt of the notice of recognition of the activity, activity providers should submit the attendance records of the participants to the EAA within seven working days.  They are required to submit computer-readable attendance records in the format specified by the EAA.



    7. CPD Period and CPD Attainment Target
       
    (a)  CPD Period 
       
    7.1
    Although the CPD Scheme is being implemented on a voluntary basis initially, the CPD period has been defined to facilitate implementation of a mandatory scheme in the long run.
       
    7.2
    The CPD period for all licensees ends on a fixed date.  Each CPD period shall be a 12-month period commencing on 1 October each year and ending on 30 September the following year, irrespective of the length and expiry dates of the licences.  The CPD attainment target for a CPD period is 12 CPD points, with at least six points from core subjects.  If a licensee does not hold a valid licence throughout the whole 12-month CPD period (e.g. new licensee or licensee who renews his licence sometime after its expiry), his CPD attainment target for that CPD period will be adjusted on a pro-rata basis (see Annex G).
       
    7.3
    [This paragraph is deleted]
       
    7.4
    [This paragraph is deleted]
       
    7.5
    For an activity straddling two CPD periods, CPD points will only be earned on the day of completion, except for award-bearing courses as described in Clause 7.13 below.
       
       
    (b)  Carrying Forward of Excess CPD Points from One CPD Period to the Next
       
    7.6  To afford licensees flexibility in planning their time on work and study, starting from the CPD period commencing 1 October 2013 and ending 30 September 2014, the CPD points accumulated in excess of the CPD attainment target in one CPD period could be carried forward to the next immediately succeeding CPD period (“next CPD period”), up to a certain limit as specified in Clauses 7.7 to 7.10 below. 
       
    7.7  The maximum number of CPD points that could be carried over to the next CPD period is half of the CPD attainment target for that next period.  That is, a maximum of six CPD points accumulated in excess of the attainment target in one CPD period could be carried forward to the next immediately succeeding normal 12-month CPD period.  CPD points in excess of the “carry-forward” limit of the next CPD period will not be counted. 
       
    7.8  If a licensee does not hold a valid licence throughout the whole 12-month of the next CPD period, his CPD attainment target for that next CPD period will be adjusted on a pro-rata basis.  The maximum number of excess CPD points allowed to be carried over to the next CPD period will be half of the prorated CPD attainment target for that next period. 
       
    7.9  In the calculation of CPD points attained, only the CPD points earned in excess of the CPD attainment target for a CPD period, free from the limitations set out in Clause 5.3 above, could be carried over to the next CPD period. 
       
    7.10  As core subjects are highly relevant to the estate agency industry and in-depth understanding on core subjects would be essential to licensees, for the calculation of the CPD points attained, core points would be counted first towards the CPD attainment target.  The result would be that for any combination of core and non-core CPD points accumulated in excess of the CPD attainment target, non-core points would be carried forward before core points to the next CPD period. 
       
    7.11  In the calculation of the CPD attainment for the next CPD period, the CPD points carried forward from the previous CPD period will be counted first.  After the deduction of the carried forward points, should the CPD points earned in that next CPD period exceed the remaining CPD points required to achieve the CPD attainment target of that period, the CPD points in excess could then be carried forward to the immediately succeeding CPD period, in accordance with Clauses 7.7 to 7.10 above. 
       
    7.12  Illustrations are set out at Table 1
       
       
    (c)  CPD Points Earned by Undertaking Award-bearing Courses 
       
    7.13  Award-bearing courses are often of longer duration.  To truly reflect the time spent throughout the entire period of the programmes, CPD points earned through award-bearing courses (as described in Clauses 6.1(i) and 6.6) would be counted based on the number of classroom learning hours attended in each CPD period when the course is undertaken, rather than when the whole course is completed, subject to licensees’ compliance of the attendance requirements set by the relevant institutions and provisions of evidence of attendance to the EAA.  Such calculation applies to award-bearing courses undertaken in the CPD period commencing 1 October 2013 and ending 30 September 2014 and CPD periods thereafter. 
       
    7.14  Acceptable evidence of attendance includes a certificate of attendance issued by the relevant institution, a confirmation letter stating the number of learning hours issued by the Department Head of the relevant institution or any similar formal written confirmation. 
       



    8. Record-Keeping 
       
    8.1
    CPD-related matters will be posted on the EAA website for ease of access and greater accuracy.  Hyperlinks will be available on the website for accessing related sites.
       
    8.2
    Practitioners should visit the EAA website regularly to keep informed of the latest developments.  Practitioners may also obtain the information from the EAA Office.
       
    8.3
    As CPD points can be earned in a variety of ways and from different activity providers (the EAA being just one of them), the responsibility lies with practitioners to keep accurate records of all CPD activities undertaken: e.g. original certificate of attendance.  It is recommended that all CPD records be retained for at least five years.
       
    8.4
    After successful completion, all recognised CPD activities will be acknowledged by a certificate of attendance shown in Annex D(1) or certificate of completion shown in Annex D(2) .  Practitioners should keep the original certificate themselves.  Receipt of payment cannot by itself be proof of completion of an activity, as absence, lateness or other factors may render the activity invalid for CPD purposes.
       



    9.  Certificate of Attainment, CPD Attainment Symbol, CPD Mark for Estate Agencies and Premium CPD Attainment Symbols 
       
    9.1
    To encourage learning and help estate agency management encourage greater participation in the CPD Scheme, the EAA grants a number of awards.
       
    (a) Certificate of Attainment and CPD Attainment Symbol
       
    9.2
    Practitioners who have achieved the CPD attainment target for a CPD period will be presented with a Certificate of Attainment and a CPD Attainment Symbol in recognition of their self-enrichment efforts and support for the CPD Scheme. If necessary (such as loss of the Certificate of Attainment), practitioners may submit a Voluntary Declaration of CPD Attainment (Annex H) to the EAA for the EAA's endorsement of points earned.
       
    9.3
    The CPD Attainment Symbol will be printed on the estate agent card issued by the EAA upon licence renewal.  Awardees will also be entitled to print the CPD Attainment Symbol on their business cards.  The general conditions on the use of the CPD Attainment Symbol are in Annex I.
       
       
    (b) CPD Mark for Estate Agencies
       
    9.4
    As at the 1st day of October of each year, agency shops with 80% or more of their licensed employees (amongst them must be the branch manager*) having attained the CPD attainment target for their previous CPD period (80% criterion), will be presented with the CPD Mark for Estate Agencies (CPD Mark).  

    *The manager appointed for the purpose of s. 38 of the Estate Agents Ordinance.
       
    9.5
    The CPD Mark will be valid for one year, from 1 January to 31 December of the following year (the validity year).  The agency shops issued with the CPD Mark may, during the validity year, display the CPD Mark decal at their respective business addresses and print the CPD Mark on their pamphlets, brochures and documents, as well as on the business cards of their employees.
       
    9.6
    Agency shops fulfilling the 80% criterion may apply for the CPD Mark award through the submission of a Voluntary Declaration Form for CPD Mark for Estate Agencies (Annex J) to the EAA between 1 October and 1 November each year.  For details of the CPD Mark for Estate Agencies award scheme, please refer to the “Rules and Conditions for CPD Mark for Estate Agencies Award Scheme” (see Annex K).  The general conditions on the display or other use of CPD Mark decal and CPD Mark are in Annex L (To download the CPD Mark, please click here).
       
    9.7 [This paragraph is deleted]
       
    9.8
    The EAA may carry out random inspection of practitioners’ records to ascertain the accuracy of the information given in the declaration (including the Voluntary Declaration of CPD Attainment and the Voluntary Declaration Form for CPD Mark for Estate Agencies).  False declarations may result in disciplinary action.
       
    9.9
    To encourage wider participation in the CPD Scheme, the EAA provides various kinds of incentives or subsidies to both practitioners and activity providers from time to time, for example, the CPD training subsidy, reimbursement of assessment fee and venue rental subsidy, etc.
       
       
    (c)  Premium CPD Attainment Symbols 
       
    9.10  To recognise licensees’ continuous effort in enhancing their knowledge through participation in CPD activities, with effect from the CPD period commencing 1 October 2013 and ending 30 September 2014, premium CPD Symbols are to be presented to those licensees who have respectively achieved the CPD attainment target for three consecutive CPD periods and five consecutive CPD periods.  These premium Symbols, namely Silver Symbol for three consecutive CPD periods and Gold Symbol for five consecutive CPD periods, would be different from the standard Symbol for one CPD period. 
       
    9.11  For example, licensees achieving the CPD attainment target in CPD periods ending 30 September 2014, 2015 and 2016 will be presented with a Sliver Symbol.  Those Silver Symbol awardees further achieving the CPD attainment target in two subsequent CPD periods ending 30 September 2017 and 2018 will be presented with a Gold Symbol. 
       
    9.12  A certificate and small badge of the Silver Symbols and Gold Symbols are to be provided by the EAA upon achievement of the CPD attainment target for three consecutive CPD periods and five consecutive periods respectively.  Premium CPD Attainment Symbol will be printed on the estate agent card issued by the EAA upon licence renewal.  Awardees will also be entitled to print the Premium CPD Attainment Symbol on their business cards.  Awardees should note that no replacement for the certificate and/or small badge will be arranged once issued.  The general conditions on the use of Premium CPD Attainment Symbol are in Annex P. 
       



    10.  Attendance Requirements 
       
    10.1
    While the EAA has specified the procedure to be followed by participants in its approved activities (Annex D), other institutions/activity providers may have different house rules. Practitioners must comply with all applicable rules, which may include producing proof of identity for registering attendance, or stipulations about absence from the venue beyond an allowed time limit.  Breaches may result in a reduction in the number of CPD points earned or disqualification from the activity concerned.
       
    10.2
    Other misbehaviour, such as talking on a mobile phone during class, may also lead to disqualification.  Plagiarism may result in disqualification and disciplinary sanctions.
     



    11.  CPD Information and Enquiries 
       
    11.1
    These Guidelines are posted on the EAA website (www.eaa.org.hk) and updated regularly.  Please refer to the EAA website from time to time for supplements and updates, as well as for the latest CPD activities.
       
    11.2
    CPD activities may be time-sensitive, as some may be adopted at short notice, or the information may be so lengthy that it can only be cost-effectively provided via electronic means.  Practitioners are advised to take the initiative to visit the EAA website regularly for the latest CPD news.
       
    11.3 For questions on the CPD Scheme, please contact the EAA through its Hotline 2111 2777 (Continuing Professional Development Scheme) or by e-mail (eaatraining@eaa.org.hk).


List of Annexes:
Table:

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