Competence Audits for Regulatory Body Management

Mandatory Continuing Competence

We’ve recently been posting about different topics relevant to Continuing Competence and how it is important and mandatory for professionals to continue their education regularly in order to benefit and protect the public the most. Other than marking exams, how do Colleges know their members are competent?

CCP Audits at random selection

Like in monetary situations, Colleges enforce continuing competence by performing an audit on a certain percentage of members on a regular basis. Members may be selected at random, and they are usually audited on their claims of continuing competence from the year before, so any information is not editable. Members can also be audited in consecutive years, but many regulatory bodies have business rules that help prevent sequential audits.

Since many Colleges may audit multiple things (professional liability insurance, continuing competence, criminal record checks, practice hours), they will often either combine audits or will ensure that registrants don’t get selected for multiple audits per year – again using business rules.

Directed Audits

The directed audit feature of the association management software may be used when a member has had challenges in providing documentation in previous audits, when there are discipline cases pending or if there are other concerns about the members’ competence to practice. This allows the College to randomly sample the membership but still have some control over the audit sample.

Best Practices for Audit Sampling Rules

There are an infinite number of business rules for  that a regulatory body may implement in their association management system, however here are a few examples of best practices that many regulatory bodies follow when generating their audit samples.

Example 1

This regulatory body does not try to audit all members and tries to ensure that they don’t audit people every year, ensuring that they are more likely to get a wider sample.

  • Member must have a current practicing license
  • Member must not have an existing audit of any kind for the current or last registration year
  • Member also must not have been a student during any part of the renewal year.

Example 2

In this example the regulatory body does not try to audit every member within a certain cycle – they just do 2 competence audits each year. About 5% of their members are assigned a document (full) audit and up to 15% are assigned a questionnaire (simple) audit.

  • Member must be part of the “Active” or “Limited” (conditional) register
  • Must have been in that state for the past 2 years consecutively
  • Member must not have been audited in the last 4 years
  • Members home address must be in Canada

Example 3

This group audits their full Practicing register every 4 years by choosing 25% of their membership each year. The last year in the cycle tends to have a few more than the others because of all the new members added over the previous three years.

  • Member must be part of the “Practicing” register
  • Must have no current Continuing Competence audit (other types like practice hour or liability insurance audits are fine)
  • Member has not been audited in the current 4-year cycle.

Example 4

In this example, this group does not have a predefined audit cycle and does not try to audit every single member.  They simply audit a certain percentage of their members every year.

  • Members must be on the “Practicing” register as of the certain date (usually the effective date of the Practicing license
  • Members must have never been audited or have successfully passed their previous audit.
  • Members must not have been audited in the past 5 years.

Members who failed their previous audit or renewed late are automatically added to the audit each year.

What Do My Registrants Need to Know?

Usually, once the audit sample has been created and verified (it’s always good to make sure that you didn’t audit a non-practicing member!!), the regulatory body will send the members a notification outlining the steps. Using an email template, the regulatory body can then send a notification to members.  The notification should outline the process, any critical deadlines and as well any penalties for non-compliance. It may also be a good time to include links to the any legislative documents like your by-laws, etc where these requirements are defined. This information is always good to publish so that members can be reminded of Jurisprudence requirements.

When responding to the audit, the process for registrants may vary depending on the audit type. For continuing competence, many regulatory bodies use two audit types – a questionnaire audit or a document audit. We’ll talk more about these two different audit types in upcoming blog posts but for both, the registrant usually must supply some type of proof of their compliance with the continuing competence requirements of the College. In a questionnaire audit, they fill out a questionnaire about the learning that they did. In a document audit usually the registrant must supply a copy (or the original) of their portfolio for review.

Some association management software applications will allow members to keep their continuing competence portfolio online – thus making the review process very simple. Registrants can upload their documents into their profile allowing College staff to review and approve them.

Failed Audits

If a member does not pass the audit or fails to provide the right documents in the specified time period, they will usually be sent a reminder notification using email templates in the system. College staff may be notified of the incomplete or tardy response by having a task assigned to their queue by the task management system. This way, no registrants audits can fall through the cracks!

If a registrant fails to complete their audit in a timely manner, then the regulatory body may sanction that member in any number of ways depending on the bylaws of the body including:

  • suspension of the member’s license,
  • filing a complaint, or
  • charge additional fees.

Association Management Software

The right association management software makes auditing members quick and painless – even more importantly, the right software allows the regulatory body to complete the audit process in a consistent and transparent manner – so that all members are judged by the same ruler. Using AMS, Colleges should be able to store exam documents, grades, assessments, and anything else continuing competence related. This way, when the time comes, members can be notified about the audit, as well as surveillance the status of the audit on his or her profile after they have submitted the requirements.

If you’re looking to procure new association management software, we highly recommend using our Software Procurement Checklist! This checklist lets you compare any and all association management or license management software in one booklet.