Advisory Appointment Committees and College Assessors
An Advisory Appointments Committee (AAC) is a legally formed 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 relevant specialty
- A lay member (often the Chair of the recruiting trust)
- An independent College Assessor
- 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 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’re employing doctors.
We play a vital role in this process by providing an, external College Assessor, who sits as a full AAC panel member. The College Assessor provides the trust with an impartial opinion on the suitability of candidates; 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 line with the NHS (Appointment of Consultants) Regulations, amended in January 2005, NHS trusts should consult the College Regional Advisor about job descriptions and person specifications prior to advertising a role.
This is to make sure that proper consideration has been given to all areas of the appointment, including the facilities provided and any clinical, research, teaching and managerial responsibilities.
Please see our Job Description Approval guidance for further information including copies of our exemplars and supporting documents.
Organising an Advisory Appointments Committee
An AAC is held by the appointing body once the Regional Advisor has agreed the job description and the post has been advertised.
Once a College Assessor has been identified to attend an AAC, the recruiting body needs to notify the Workforce team with the details of the interview as soon as possible.
This allows us to send assessors the appropriate paperwork in advance of the AAC.
How can I find a College Assessor?
Trusts can access contact details of all approved, trained College Assessors.
Step 1: We have re-launched the College assessors search website, and changed your trust's login credentials. Please email us at email@example.com to receive your new credentials.
Step 2: Once you have your credentials, access the College assessors search.
We recommend that you ask a College Assessor if they’re free to come to an interview at least six weeks before the AAC or, if possible at the beginning of the recruitment process.
It’s important to remember that the College representative can’t be an employee of the recruiting trust.
It’s also important that the Assessor specialises in the same specialty the interview is for.
If you’re need help finding an Assessor, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re keen to recruit more College Assessors (both consultants and SAS Doctors) to support trusts in their recruitment process.
We hold regular training days for existing and potential College Assessors.
Training dates for 2023
Dates for College Assessor training this year:
- Monday 15 May 2023
These training days are open to all existing, new and prospective College Assessors.
We are keen to recruit and train more College Assessors; if you’re interested in becoming a College Assessor, whether you are a consultant or a SAS Doctor, or wish to attend top-up training, please email us for further information and to book a place.
How to become a College Assessor
To become a College Assessor you need to send a copy of your CV to the Division Manager.
You’ll then be nominated by either your local Regional Advisor, Chair of your Devolved Nation, Division Faculty.
See details for Devolved Nations, Division Managers and other posts.
Nominations are then ratified by our Education and Training Committee (ETC) which sits three times per year.
Once ETC approval and College Assessor training has been completed, your details will be put on the secure College Assessors' search page.
Trusts can access this page when they require a College Assessor to attend an AAC panel and approach representatives directly.
Further information and resources
Term of office:
Medical staffing/human resources department of NHS trusts, College regional advisors and deputy regional advisors and College workforce staff.
At least two AACs per year.
- The College Assessor is a core and independent member of an Advisory Appointments Committee (AAC)
- The College Assessor provides a reliable and constructive assessment of the training, qualifications and experience of a candidate to make sure they have the skills and knowledge to meet the expertise of the post
- The College Assessor also gives an impartial opinion at the interview and makes sure the standards of practice in psychiatry are maintained.
To attend Advisory Appointment Committees on behalf of the College for the appointment of consultants, specialist psychiatrists, specialty doctors.
- Being involved in short listing applicants who meet the required standard for the post and excluding those who don’t
- For consultant AAC panels, making sure all candidates are registered on the GMC’s specialist register or are trainees within six months of getting their CCT
- For specialist AAC panels, ensuring the relevant experience and skills of the candidates
- Making sure the appointments process is conducted fairly and equal opportunity policy is maintained
- Along with other members of the AAC, identifying the most suitable candidate(s) for the post and making a recommendation to the employer
- Advising employers to identify an appropriate mentor for the candidate taking up their first substantive consultant, specialist or specialty doctor post
- Completing a feedback form to be returned to the workforce team after the AAC panel has taken place.
College Assessors will:
- Have a keen interest in maintaining standards of consultant, specialist and specialty doctor psychiatrists
- Be willing to express an impartial opinion to make sure the right doctor is appointed to the right post
- Have a licence to practice in the UK
- Be a current member, specialist associate or affiliate of the College and be able to represent the views of the College
- Be a good verbal communicator
- Have access to a working email account
- Have the capacity to attend at least two AACs per year.
Write to us
Workforce Team, Training and Workforce, Professional Standards,
Royal College of Psychiatrists, 21 Prescot Street London, E1 8BB.
020 3701 2525.