Professional Development Plan (PDP)

A Guide to Completing Your Professional Development Plan (PDP)

What is Professional Development Planning?

All SPS staff members are expected to take an active role in developing themselves professionally on a continuous basis. You are encouraged to consider both your short to medium term development needs and your longer term career aspirations. You may, for example, want to consider how you can develop yourself further in your current role, or perhaps you have ambitions to move to a different part of the organisation at the same grade or are seeking promotion. Where possible, the organisation will ensure that you are supported to enhance your existing skills and develop new ones in your career with us.

Whilst your professional development planning conversation forms part of the performance management process, your PDP does not have an end point as such. It is your responsibility to keep it up to date and have regular discussions with your manager about your current and future development needs. When having these discussions you should consider in advance the sort of development activities you feel could support you in meeting your development needs. Your manager will discuss these with you and may also offer some alternative suggestions which are practical to both yourself and the office. 

As a ‘continuous’ plan, the timing of the conversations is not linked to the performance management year. We suggest that your conversation should take place over the summer months with your PDP being submitted to your Office Head, who has responsibility to collate the plans and report on themes/topics which they think might be a useful focus for the Corporate Learning and Development Plan.

Your Office Head should then forward all PDPs for their office with the above themes/topics to the Learning and Development Mailbox, by 14th November at the latest.  

We need to ensure that we capture organisational development needs so that we can respond positively to these, for example, through the Corporate Learning and Development Programme. Submitting PDPs is part of this process which is why this deadline is important. This will enable the HR Office to consider any trends in organisation wide staff development needs when agreeing priorities with Leadership Group in January of each year. 

The Professional Development Plan

The plan is divided into 2 sections:

Section A

In this section, you should capture your more immediate development needs either for your current role or, perhaps if you have ambitions to move to another role. Consider what development activities should enable you to be successful in achieving your shorter term goals.

Section B

This section should reflect your medium to longer term requirements; these could relate to your current role, perhaps enhancing your skills in a particular aspect of your role or potentially moving to a different position. It may be that you are seeking to try a different sort of job at the same grade in another part of the organisation or seeking promotion. Remember there are a number of ways you can learn. These include:

• On the job learning
• Internal/external courses or workshops
• Conferences
• Work shadowing
• Secondments (internal and external to the SPS)
• Use of Learning Centre resources
• e-learning
• Project working (within and outwith your own work area)
• Coaching or mentoring


Your discussions with your line manager should be on-going so that you both review your plan regularly. However, if you would like any further advice about completing the plan or your professional development possibilities please contact the HR Enquiry Service and we will arrange for someone from the HR Office to speak to you.