Job description approval process

The information included on this page will guide you to a successful approval of your job description (JD) in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

After submitting your checklist and completing the JD approval procedure your approved job descriptions will be stamped with a Royal College of Psychiatrists approval stamp to identify that it has met our standards for approval. 

About the approval process

We can assist you to approve the following psychiatry posts:

  • Permanent (substantive) Consultant 
  • Fixed-term cover posts of 12 months or longer
  • Academic posts that contain an element of psychiatry clinical work
  • Specialty Doctor 
  • Specialist Grade Doctor (Senior SAS)
  • Military

Currently, we do not approve Locum posts.

Please note that educational bodies may not send trainees to unapproved consultant posts.

For Scotland please find information on the Scottish Academy pages.


Like you, we are maintaining standards in our profession, and therefore the approval process is thorough and takes around 30 days from submission of each version. This guide will depend on the availability of the College members who are involved in the review process and the number of versions under review.

JDs that are completed alongside the checklist are more likely to be approved within this time frame.

Our JD checking process:

Job Description Checking Process August 2021



Please read the relevant exemplar templates and guidance documents below. These include all the necessary information we need in our JDs for Royal College approval.

If during the preparation of your JD you have any query on any aspect of the role please contact our Divisions and Devolved Nations Job Description Coordinator, who can put you in direct contact with someone who can help you.

Finished your JD?

Don’t forget to check: 

  • Is it an interesting job?
  • Are the roles and responsibilities clear and easy to understand?
  • Are the benefits of working in your organisation easy to find?
  • Is the typeface/font consistent throughout the document and accessible to all? 
  • Would you apply for it? If not, why not?

1.  Download the RCPsych JD Checklist.

2.  Complete all grey sections of the Checklist and add page numbers for the itemised criteria to ensure you have included everything we require in your JD for a speedy RCPsych stamped approval.

3.  Submit both the above Checklist and your completed JD in Word format  (plus related person specification and associated documents, if separate).

Browse UK regions for regional office contact details for submission of your JD.   


    We will check your documents and send you an email confirming your JD unique reference number for use in all future correspondence.

    Your JD will be sent to a Regional Specialty Representative (RSR) for the first check who may approve or recommend changes.

    For transparency, your JD will be sent to Regional Advisor (RA) for a second check and who will either confirm approval or recommend changes to the JD, in line with the College's supporting documents.

    Hopefully, if you have followed the stages above your JD will be approved and we will issue you a College approval letter. Your JD will also be clearly marked with our approval stamp, to indicate to potential applicants that your JD has met our standards.

    If however there are minor changes, your JD will be returned to you for amendment. Once we receive an updated version your JD will be submitted to an RA who will re-check in line with the Checklist recommendations and again either approve or recommend further changes as per stage 4 above.

    You can now advertise your vacancy and organise your interviews. 

    You will also need to choose a College Assessor to help you on your Panel.  Please use your employer unique login for our portal (if you do not know your login please email the Workforce Team).

    For full information please see our AAC guidance

    Your approved JD will be valid for 24 months.  

    My JD is urgent how can it be approved quickly?

    As we all know, it takes time to appoint a Consultant/Specialty Doctor, plus get  Royal College approval of your JD, so please start planning for your vacancy or new post as soon as you are aware of this. 

    We do appreciate that sometimes things can become urgent and therefore if the hold-up is with the RCPsych please contact your local job description mailbox and we will do our best to get the JD expedited for you. 

    We do not agree with the College recommendations for amendment?

    We aim to assist you in your approval and in line with our guidance documentation, hopefully, the requirement for safe practice is clear.  However as new roles develop and if you wish to discuss certain elements of the JD, please contact your local office who can liaise with the RSRs/RAs or central College to discuss your individual requirements. 

    We cannot appoint a candidate for our post and it’s costing us money?

    We are happy to check your JD again and give suggestions on perhaps why it is not attracting candidates.

    The post becomes vacant again do we have to get it re-checked?

    If the post remains unchanged and is within 2 years of approval it does not need to be re-approved (unless the College have issued updated guidance within that period).

    If the post has developed and changed extensively within the two years and becomes vacant, however, we would like to re-approve this for you and issue you with an up-to-date approval stamp.

    The job was put on hold by us before approval and is still logged for review at RCpsych- how long can it be in process before we have to re-submit it from scratch?

    Due to the changing shape of workforce at present we would like to re-start the checking process if 1 year has passed since the JD was sent back to you for amendment, as often things would have changed within the job role or team within the 12 months.

    Can we go to interview without a job being approved?

    According to guidelines your job should have Royal College Approval and therefore you should not be appointing to unapproved jobs.  

    Once you know you have a vacancy or you have the go ahead for a new post please plan your job using our guidelines, and commence the approval process with us in order that you can advertise an approved post.

    How do we find a College Assessor for our Panel?

    Please see our AAC pages.

    We cann’t get a College Assessor for our Panel?

    Please liaise with our Workforce Team who can give you further advice. 

    What shall I do if I have been asked to be a College Assessor and the JD for the post is not approved?

    Please liaise with our Workforce Team who can give you further advice. 

    Information for Scotland

    For Scotland please find information on the Scottish Academy pages.

    Summary - How to submit your JD

    1. Create your JD in Word format
    2. Download and complete the checklist to accompany your JD 
    3. Send in your JD and completed checklist and await your unique reference number

    For any queries please email us at divisionsadmin@rcpsych.ac.uk or phone 0208 618 4298 (8am-3.30pm).

    Get in contact to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry