Advisory Appointment Committees (AACs) and College
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, as set out in the
NHS Good Practice Guidance (2005):
- The Chief Executive of the appointing body;
- The Medical Director of the appointing body;
- A consultant employed by the appointing body and from the
- A university representative (if required);
- A lay member (often the Chair of the recruiting trust);
- An external College Assessor; and
- Any other additional members considered appropriate by the
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
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.
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
via the workforce helpdesk
enables 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
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 a College Assessor,
please contact the workforce
Trusts should ask a College Assessor if they are available to
attend an interview a minimum of 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
Information for College Assessors
Training for College Assessors
The College has an ongoing recruitment
drive to secure additional College Assessors to sit on AAC
panels and has held a series of induction and training
days over the past two years. College Assessors training
days for 2016 are as follows:
- Friday 16 September in Manchester.
- Wednesday 9 November 2016 in London. For all training dates,
please contact the workforce helpdesk for
further details and to reserve a place.
The training days are open to all existing, new and
prospective College Assessors, though we are particularly keen on
getting new College Assessors trained and ratified. If you are
interested in becoming a College Assessor, or wish to attend
'top-up' training, please email the workforce helpdesk for
further information and to book a place. The training is free to
attend and the College will pay reasonable travel expenses.
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. Nominations are then ratified by the
College's Education and Training Committee (ETC)
which sits three times per year.
- College Assessors are then required to attend a
training day, which are generally held twice a year. The
training days scheduled for 2016 are 16 September
(Manchester) and 9 November (London).
- 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.
Further information and resources
Training and Workforce Team
Professional Standards Department
Royal College of Psychiatrists
21 Prescot Street
London, E1 8BB
Tel: 020 3701 2616
Fax: 020 3701 2761