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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Advisory Appointment Committees (AACs) and College Assessors

Information for trusts and appointing bodies

Advisory Appointments Committees (AACs)

An Advisory Appointments Committee (AAC) is a legally constituted interview panel set up by the appointing body or trust and should include the following people:

  • The Chief Executive of the appointing body;
  • The Medical Director of the appointing body;
  • A consultant employed by the appointing body and from the relevant specialty;
  • A university representative (if required);
  • A lay member, normally the Chair;
  • An external College Assessor; and
  • Any other additional members considered appropriate by the trust.

The function of an AAC is to decide which applicants are suitable for a post and to recommend these names to the recruiting trust. This applies equally to consultant and specialty doctor appointments. The AAC provides a quality assurance process of shortlisted doctors for NHS patients and trusts when they are employing doctors.

The College plays a vital role in this recruitment and selection process through the provision of an independent, external College Assessor, who sits as a full AAC panel member.  The College Assessor’s role is to provide the trust with an impartial opinion on the suitability of candidates. Their input is designed to maintain standards of practice in the profession as well as enabling a reliable and constructive assessment of the training and experience of a candidate. As a core member of the AAC, the College Assessor should be involved in all stages of the process, including shortlisting.

In order that the most suitable candidate is identified for the post, the nominated College Assessor should ensure that the applicants are eligible for appointment in terms of inclusion on the Specialist Register. Additionally, they should encourage trusts to provide mentorship for newly qualified consultants.

 

Appointment criteria for consultants

Since 1 January 1997, inclusion on the GMC’s Specialist Register is a legal requirement for doctors who wish to take up a consultant appointment in the NHS. This is with the exception of Specialist Registrars who are able to apply for consultant posts if the expected date of the award of their CCT falls no more than 6 months after the date of interview. It is important to not discriminate against doctors who do not hold either MRCPsych or a CCT, but have obtained Specialist Registration via other routes.
 
 

Consultant job descriptions

In accordance with the NHS (Appointment of Consultants) Regulations, amended in January 2005, trusts should consult the Regional Advisor with regard to the job description and person specification prior to advertisement. This is to ensure that proper consideration has been given to all areas of the appointment in relation to the facilities provided, including clinical, research, teaching and managerial responsibilities, and ensure a satisfactory balance has been achieved.
 
 

Organising an Advisory Appointments Committee

An AAC is held by the appointing body once the Regional Advisor has commented on and agreed the job description, and the post has been advertised.
 
Once a College Assessor has been identified to attend an AAC, the recruiting trust should notify the College with the details of the interview as soon as possible, via the workforce helpdesk. This is important to ensure accurate records are maintained, which is fundamental to workforce monitoring, as well as enabling the College to send Assessors the appropriate paperwork in advance of the AAC.
 
 

How to find a College Assessor

The contact details of all approved, trained College Assessors can be found on a secure section of the College website. Trusts can access this with a username and password, which permits them to search by specialty and region. If your trust requires access to the secure pages of the website to identify an College Assessor, please contact the workforce helpdesk
 
Trusts should ask an College Assessor if they are available to attend an interview at least six weeks prior to the AAC or, if possible, at the beginning of the recruitment process.
 
It is important to remember that, in order to fulfil their role as an external Assessor, the College representative must not be an employee of the recruiting trust. It is also essential that the College Assessor specialises in the specialty of psychiatry the interview is for.
 
If you are experiencing difficulties finding an Assessor, please contact the College who will be able to advise you further.
 

Information for College Assessors

Training for College Assessors

The College is recruiting additional College Assessors to sit on AAC panels. Several training days have been held in 2014 (now all completed or fully booked) and further events will be scheduled for 2015. The training days are open to all existing, new and prospective College Assessors. If you are interested in becoming a College assessor, or wish to attend 'top-up' training, please email the workforce helpdesk for further information.

 

How to become a College Assessor

  • The College Assessor job description can be accessed here.
  • An applicant to be a College Assessor is required to forward a copy of their CV to the Division Manager, so that they can be nominated by either their local Regional Advisor, the Chair of their Division or the Chair of their Faculty. Details for the Division Managers and other posts in the Division can be found on the College website. Confirmation of this nomination should then be sent to the workforce helpdesk.
  • The applicant’s name will be put forward to the Education and Training Committee (ETC) for endorsement. This committee sits three times per year.
  • Once ETC approval and College Assessor training has been completed, contact details for the new College Assessor will be put on a secure page of the College website. Trusts can access this page (with a unique username and password) when they require a College Assessor to attend an AAC panel and approach assessors directly.
  • College Assessors are required to undergo diversity / equal opportunities training and confirm to the College that such training has been completed. The training would be expected to take place in the trust or deanery of the College Assessor.
 

Feedback

Following an AAC, all College Assessors are required to complete a feedback form for the College and the Regional Advisor. The workforce helpdesk will provide you with the appropriate paperwork prior to the AAC panel. This is invaluable for monitoring the recruitment of psychiatrists in the NHS and helps the College understand which areas face particular challenges in recruiting psychiatrists.
 

Further information and resources

 

Contact information

Training and Workforce
Professional Standards
Royal College of Psychiatrists
21 Prescot Street
London, E1 8BB
Tel:   020 3701 2616
Fax:  020 3701 2761
 
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