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.

Please use our JD portal button to submit all NEW (and expired) JDs for approval in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as we no longer accept these by direct email. For queries on whether your JD needs approval please email us.

See our full guidance on 'How to use the JD portal'.

Note: All JDs submissions are required to be accompanied by a fully completed JD checklist and need to include page or section numbers corresponding to where the item is within the job description. Any documents for upload need to be in Microsoft Word DOCX format 

Once your JD is approved it will be stamped with our RCPsych approval stamp to identify that it has met our standards for approval and added to our list of all approved JDs.

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 30 working days from submission of each version. This is a guide and will depend on the availability of the College members who are involved in the review process, the number of versions under review or amendments required.

By completing the checklist alongside your JD it is more likely to be approved within the above time frame.

Our JD checking process:


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.

Please also see supporting recruitment in Wales.

If during the preparation of your JD you have any queries 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?

Check this regional list to find the correct office to submit your JD documents for approval.

Guidance on SPA : DCC

The College recommends that a role of 4 PA would be the shortest feasible contract per week in which the minimum requirement for CPD SPA can be met. This would have a 2.5 DCC : 1.5 SPA split. 

There may be some roles with fewer PAs, such as academic or network director roles which we may assess on a case-by-case basis.

If there are extra responsibilities, such as supervision, within the role, more than 1.5 SPAs would be required, as clinical / psychiatric supervision requires at least one hour of dedicated time per week, per trainee. 

The table below shows our guidance, which will be assessed in line with all responsibilities of a role. 


Total PA





Specialty Doctor

Specialist Grade


7.5 England

7.5 NI

7 Wales

2.5 England

2.5 NI

3 Wales

Person specifications

CCT requirements

If the post holder is required to be included on the specialist register, then the person specification should state that a CCT or a CCT equivalent in psychiatry is included as an essential criterion.

A specific specialty psychiatric CCT should not be stated as an essential criterion on Consultant JDs, employers can assess candidates’ skills, knowledge and experience in psychiatric specialties in their application and at interview. 

MRCPsych requirements

MRCPsych should not be stated as an essential criterion as there are two routes to becoming a consultant, getting a CCT or applying for Article 14 (4) of the GMC's specialist register with evidence of relevant training and experience. Therefore, MRCPsych should be added to the desirable column where appropriate. 

  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. Read our guidance on how to submit via the JD submission portal.
  4. Submit both the above checklist and your completed JD (plus related person specification and associated documents, if separate), which all need to be in Word docx format, via our JD submission portal.

Please note: In line with our automation process, we cannot accept a JD for approval via direct email or without a completed checklist including page or section numbers.

If you have a query, please contact your regional office contact.

Once your JD has been submitted via the portal you will receive a unique JD identification number. Further information can be found on our guidance platform.

We will automatically receive your JD documents from the portal, check these and if all in order, we will commence our two stage checking process. If however your uploaded documents are missing sections we will liaise with you via email for updates and this will delay the checking process.

  1. Stage 1 – Your JD is checked by a College/Regional Specialty Representative (RSR) who may approve or recommend changes.
  2. Stage 2 – For transparency, your JD will be sent to Regional Advisor (RA) who will either confirm approval or recommend changes to the JD, in line with the College's supporting documents.

Unapproved JDs will be returned to you via email for amendments to be made and should be re-submitted to us via email and will subsequently be re-checked by the RA in line with the Checklist recommendations and again either approve or recommend further changes until approval is confirmed.

Once your JD is approved we will issue a College approval letter. Additionally your JD will be clearly marked with our approval stamp, to indicate to potential applicants that your JD has met our standards.

  • 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 college assessor database (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.
  • We keep a list of approved job descriptions submitted from 1 Jan 2022 in England and Wales (plus Northern Ireland approvals from 1 Aug 2023).

Why is the portal not accepting our uploaded documents?

Check the form for any red-flagged omissions or errors.

Please ensure that all JD documents are saved in Microsoft Word .docX format and that the file size does not exceed 10 Mb in size. Avoid long file names and PDFs where possible.

Do we have to complete a checklist and submit it with every JD approval?

Yes – we only accept new JD submissions accompanied by a completed checklist (please ensure all grey sections are filled in, including page or section numbers, which relate to items in the JD), as it contains all the data we require and will assist you to ensure all the information needed for swift approval is in your JD.

Our name is not on the portal list – how can we submit our JD?

Please email the JD team who will be able to add your details to our list in order that you can submit them via the portal.

What is the guidance for SPA/DCC for a 10 PA full-time post?

The College fundamentally believes that professional activities are vital to delivering safe and effective practice.

These are the minimum expected standards for a full-time (10 programmed activities) post for RCPsych approval:

Consultant (England & Northern Ireland)7.5 DCC / 2.5 SPA
Consultant (Wales)7.0 DCC/ 3.0 SPA
Senior SAS8 DCC / 2 SPA

Less than full-time posts should reflect pro-rata clinical care/SPA time allocation. A minimum of 1.5 SPAs is needed for appraisal and revalidation. (See JD writing tips for information on less than full-time posts)

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.

Can a trainee act up as a Consultant into vacant approved roles?

Trainees who are within one year of their anticipated completion of training date may be eligible to ‘Act up’ as consultants, usually for a fixed-term period of three months and up to a maximum of six months (This is based upon a whole time equivalent). “Acting up” provides trainees with the experience of navigating the transition from junior doctor to consultant, whilst maintaining the supervision associated with being a trainee. Please see further guidance on criteria and eligibility.

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.

If an approved post becomes vacant again or we did not manage to appoint, do we have to get it re-checked?

If the post remains unchanged, and is within two years of approval, it does not need to be re-approved (unless the College have issued updated guidance within that period). We appreciate some of the employer information, management or team names may have changed and for these type of updates we would not need to re-approve the job.

If the post has developed and changed extensively (eg number of PAs/changes to DCC:SPA/clinical duties/supervisory requirements/on call admin support/referral numbers and so on) within the two years and is vacant, we would like to re-approve this for you and issue you with an up-to-date stamped JD and approval letter.

If in doubt please email the JD Approvals Team.

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

Due to the changing shape of the workforce at present, we would like to restart the checking process if one 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.

How long do job approvals last?

Approved jobs last for two years if the content remains unchanged (see FAQ's above).

Can we see a list of approved job descriptions?

Yes, we have a list showing approved job descriptions submitted from 1 Jan 2022 onwards for England and Wales (and from 1 August 2023 for Northern Ireland). For approvals prior to this date please contact our JD team

Can we go to an interview without a job being approved?

According to guidelines, your job should have Royal College approval and therefore you should not be appointing people 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 exemplars and guidelines. Submit to us in plenty of time in order that you can advertise an approved post, as we hear from many members who are apprehensive about applying for or starting an unapproved post.

How do we find a College Assessor for our Panel?

Please see our AAC pages.

We can’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.

I am a College member and I have a query with my own post which was approved by the College – who can help?

Once a JD has been approved and we are satisfied it meets agreed standards, the RCPsych does not have a role in addressing individual concerns about JDs – any concerns should therefore initially be raised with your employer.

Our web pages also offer more information on College support available including the Psychiatrists' Support Service.

How do I know if my post has been approved by the College?

We have a list showing approved job descriptions submitted from 1 Jan 2022 onwards for England and Wales (and from 1 August 2023 for Northern Ireland). For further queries please contact your medical staffing teams who should be able to provide you with an approval number.  


Information for Scotland

For Scotland please find information on the Scottish Academy pages.


Summary – How to submit your JD

  1. Create your JD documents in Word doc.x format
  2. Download and complete the checklist to accompany your JD
  3. Submit your JD and completed checklist via the JD portal

For any queries please see our FAQs above, email us or phone 0208 618 4298

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry