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PRA Scheme: Information for advisers

The Professional Registration Adviser (PRA) Scheme has been established to assist members with their application for professional registration.


The IOP recognises that applicants who do not have access to in-house support, or a mentoring programme, face a larger barrier to achieving professional registration. Therefore, we would like to invite our community of members who hold a professional registration and meet the requirements to support this scheme. 

In recognition of the diverse paths and sectors our members work in, the IOP offers seven registrations (CPhys, CEng, CSci, IEng, RSci, EngTech and RSciTech), and through the scheme, will provide support to members who apply for any of the registrations listed above. 

What is a PRA?

A PRA is a volunteer who holds a professional registration and serves as a professional registration panellist. They will have detailed knowledge of the requirements and routes to professional registration. 

What does a PRA do?

Unlike traditional mentoring schemes, the role of a PRA will be to provide point-in-time advice and guidance by answering questions specifically relating to members’ applications for professional registration. If a member wishes to have subsequent PRA meetings, this can be organised, but it is unlikely that they will be paired with the same PRA again.  
 
Below are examples of questions that applicants might want to discuss with PRAs: 

  • Have I used the right level of examples for my professional development and then built upon those appropriately for my responsible experience? 
  • Have I demonstrated enough breadth and depth of knowledge and skills in relation to the competencies? 
  • What examples should I provide for my continuing professional development (CPD) statement? 
  • Have I chosen the correct examples for my equivalence report, if applicable? 
  • Is my application ready for initial review? 
  • Can I have advice on how to make sure my application is confidential whilst providing sufficient details? 

The IOP’s professional registration team can also support applicants by answering questions, such as:  

  • Can I discuss which professional registration is right for me? 
  • What is the difference between professional development and responsible experience? 
  • What are the different options to demonstrate equivalency, which can include the core of physics and equivalency report? 
  • How do I identify supporters and prepare them for supporting my application? 
     

Becoming a Professional Registration Adviser (PRA)

To become a PRA, you will need to hold either CPhys, CEng, CSci, IEng, RSci, EngTech and RSciTech, and you will also need to serve as an assessor for the IOP’s professional registration panels. Ideally, PRAs will agree to undertake this role for a minimum of two years.

Text reads: Process for being a Professional Registration Adviser. 1-Familiarise yourself with the scheme. 2-Confirm your interest via email. 3-Undertake relevant training. 4-Prepare for meeting with applicant. 5-Provide feedback.

How to apply

To apply to become a PRA, please contact the professional registration team with the following information:   

  • Confirmation that you serve on a professional registration panel and the registration(s) you hold 
  • If relevant, the name of your current employer and sector 
  • A preferred email address that we will share with applicants 

This information will be used to ensure you meet the criteria. If you meet the criteria, the submitted information will be kept on our membership database and will be used by IOP staff to avoid pairing you with someone who might have a conflict of interest, or you cannot be paired with for confidentiality reasons. If you do not meet the requirements for the PRA Scheme, we will not store your information. 
 
Contact the professional registration team at [email protected] and include ‘PRA’ in the subject line.  

Training requirements  

Once you have registered, you will be invited to attend an introductory session and complete the following training courses and any panellist courses, as and when invited. 

  • Delivering constructive feedback 
  • Unconscious bias 
  • Diversity and equality 
  • Data Protection Act 

These resources can be accessed via the Career Development Hub (when in the home page, select PRA training). Completing the courses will enable you to become a PRA. It will also count towards your training as a panel member, and can count towards your CPD. The CPD questions can be found in the My CPD tool, in the Career Development Hub. 

Policies and procedures 

As part of the Professional Registration Adviser Scheme process, PRAs are required to read and sign the IOP volunteer agreement and comply with the following policies and procedures: 

  • IOP Code of Conduct 
  • IOP Volunteer agreement 
  • Data Protection Policy   
  • Anti-Corruption and Bribery Policy 
  • Gifts and Hospitality Policy 
  • Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy 
  • Whistleblowing Policy   
  • Working with Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy and Procedures  

Handling personal data

To ensure the IOP meets its legal obligations in respect of data protection legislation, volunteers who handle the personal data of members must adhere to the following: 

  • Process personal data only to the extent necessary to provide the volunteering service to IOP;
  • Ensure devices have security measures like encryption in place to protect against unauthorised or unlawful processing, accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to personal data.
  • Ensure that IOP data protection training is undertaken before the handling of member personal data and that such training is repeated at least annually;
  • Assist IOP in responding to any request relating to the handling of member personal data  by contacting IOP’s compliance and data protection manager at [email protected].
  • Notify IOP without undue delay (and in any event within 24 hours) on becoming aware of a personal data breach, including all information that IOP requires by contacting IOP’s compliance and data protection manager at [email protected].

What happens before and after meeting with an applicant

In order to prepare for your meeting, the applicant will send you the relevant documents. These documents are confidential and you are expected to handle them in adherence with the IOP’s Data Protection Policy.   

Following your meeting with an applicant, you are required to dispose of or permanently delete all the documents you have received. 
 
You will receive a short feedback form that you are required to complete. Your feedback is designed to help us evaluate what works well, and review how we can further improve our processes and behaviours to ensure you and others have a positive experience.  

Addressing concerns 

If you have concerns about the meeting, please send an email to [email protected] and we will contact you to talk about your experience. This will help us to make an informed decision as to the right course of action, if any. 

FAQs

Who will organise my meeting with applicants?

Applicants will arrange the meeting, but a registration officer will be in touch, in the first instance, to check if you are free to offer support. The registration officer will then send an introductory email to both you and the applicant, and the applicant will then contact you to arrange a suitable time to meet.  

What paperwork do I need in advance of the meeting?

You will receive the applicant’s CV, application form, and organisational chart, if relevant. If the information is sensitive they have been advised to anonymise or make confidential where appropriate. We have suggested that applicants send you the relevant documents one week before you meet.  

What happens if there is a conflict of interest?

Measures have been put in place to avoid any conflict of interest, but if this occurs, please let us know and we will find another PRA for the applicant.  

How often will I be expected to meet with applicants?

In appreciation of your time, we will try to avoid paring you with more than three applicants per year. 

Can I act as a supporter for applicants?

No, as ideally, supporters will be those that have supervised the work of the applicants in a work based environment.  

Will I be invited to participate in the review panel?

All of the work of the PRA is to prepare the applicant to reach this milestone, so you won’t need to attend any review panel meetings. Should you be inadvertently invited to join a panel to assess someone that you supported in your role as PRA, please do let us know.