Standards Council Standards Mark


For organisations who offer CLD learning to staff

The Standards Council Standards Mark (SCSM) is the route offered for organisations who offer CLD learning to staff: from the smallest voluntary sector project to local authorities and national agencies. The SCSM process looks at the whole range of learning opportunities offered, not one specific programme, as well as the learning culture of the organisation.

The CLD Standards Council created the SCSM in response to feedback from a changing, growing and developing sector.


  • Provides national recognition of CLD learning opportunities for practitioners with strong focus on the values, principles, competences and Code of Ethics for CLD
  • Celebrates success and promotes good practice and impact
  • Establishes a developmental framework using peer moderation to enhance learning opportunities for CLD practitioners

The SCSM is designed to support employers to:

  • Ensure that their organisation becomes a learning community for the entire workforce
  • Develop and implement a CPD policy
  • Provide continuous leadership and support for CPD opportunities
  • Strengthen and extend local partnerships
  • Encourage sharing of impact and learning from good practice

Our vision for all CLD practitioners is that their participation in continuous professional development activities will be a central and established part of their practice.

The SCSM will nurture a culture of learning in our sector in order that individual practitioner’s engagement with professional learning will contribute to the development of the whole profession. Through this they will demonstrate and enhance their commitment to a culture of learning:

  • Where learning is celebrated, recognised and encouraged
  • Where learning is reflected on and shared
  • Where challenge is relished and embraced
  • Where critical reflection is embedded in practice
  • Where individuals can explore learning related to their role throughout their careers

This culture is underpinned by the values and competences of CLD and commitment to our Code of Ethics.

The SCSM does not replace the existing routes available for approval of individual learning programmes. For example, a provider may offer the PDA in Youth Work, approved using the Developmental process, and also be awarded the SCSM.

The Guidelines

You can download the Guidelines for Standards Council Standards Mark here.

The Guidelines set out the principles and values underpinning the process as well as guiding providers through the construction of the written submission.

The Submission

The Approval Officer will liaise with the learning provider and offer advice on the submission document. The length of the document will vary depending on the provider.

All submissions must clearly demonstrate quality approaches in the three Domains: Planning, Delivery and Review, and the learning provider must consider the best evidence of the Core Standards within these areas.  The evidence should already be available to the provider and should not require the provider to write a whole new set of documents for this submission.

The Guidelines give some exemplars but learning providers must supply their own specific evidence for each of the Core Standards. The evidence provided should be CLD focused and be proportionate, appropriate, relevant and contextualised.  It is important that the evidence supplied is current and still in use.

The virtual panel

The panel will consider the submission individually and raise any questions via the Approval Officer.  The Approval Officer will collate these questions and present them to the learning provider with a deadline for response.

Once the panel are satisfied they have enough information to make a decision, the Approval Officer will arrange for a teleconference to allow them to share their views and reach their final decision.


The SCSM award process is completed twice a year.  Once a learning provider has expressed their interest in applying for SCSM, the Approval Officer will:

  • advise them of the next available award date;
  • agree a visit to discuss the process and agree timescales;
  • support them to put together the relevant documentation, and
  • provide reminders of key deadlines.

For example, when SCSM award date is June:

  • Send formal notice of application to Approval Officer in January
  • Work on submission with guidance from Approval Officer from February – April
  • Final submission to Approval Officer in May

The Approval Officer

The Approval Officer’s role is to support and guide learning providers through the process. They co-ordinate the process and liaise between the learning provider, the virtual panel and the Approval Committee.

The Approval Officer will be on hand to answer any questions you have; provide further information and guidance on the process; advise on the written submission and support you in the Approval process.