Gearing up for Annual Returns

Carolyn Neal, BFC Co-ordinator
Carolyn Neal, BFC    Co-ordinator

It’s that time of year again when NCT practitioners – myself included – are all asked to complete their Annual Return. It’s a simple questionnaire each practitioner completes every spring that helps provide information to NCT about their practice. This, coupled with specific feedback shared by parents attending courses, helps NCT ensure they offer the right support to practitioners as well as continue to offer high quality services to parents in the first 1,000 days.

I am NCT’s Breastfeeding Counsellor Co-ordinator. The first one in fact since NCT created the role in 2013. I qualified as a Breastfeeding Counsellor (BFC) back in 2005 after having three children. I then went on to develop my NCT career as a Supervisor and a BFC Assessor.

I love to visit mums and new babies and help them with breastfeeding and I also facilitate a couple of breastfeeding sessions a month in my local areas of Selby, York and Leeds. I have five BFCs that I support directly through supervision and I do about 10 assessments a year, travelling round the country to observe and support other BFCs.

Each of my NCT roles are very rewarding – it is a privilege to support so many wonderful women who give up so much of their time and energy voluntarily to support mothers and babies.

I completed my return recently as a practitioner. I found the online questionnaire quick and easy to do – the process has been simplified for practitioners a lot over the past couple of years as NCT now makes use of data already collected so practitioners don’t have to provide this themselves. As a Co-ordinator, Annual Returns time is always a challenge – we have many hundreds of practitioners and we need to make decisions about their Licences to Practice in time for renewal in August. And of course, as an individual practitioner this time can feel a bit daunting. But there’s lots of support available to get you through.

Here are some tips to help you make the process of Annual Returns go more smoothly:

  • Now is a good time for you to check you have met all the requirements
  • Get in touch with your specialist Co-ordinator early if you think there will be a problem
  • You may have time to get in an observation of another practitioner, or a last supervision session or a holistic CPD application
  • Don’t forget the 3-yearly requirements – an observation, a national event and an assessment
  • Plan ahead for your CPD – our Regional Practitioner Forums have proved very popular and some study days get booked up early so check the Study Days System early in the year
  • Make sure you complete your Annual Return by midnight on 30 April

And finally, good luck to all practitioners with your Annual Returns. Remember, we’re here to help so do get in touch!


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