Supporting recruitment in Wales

Here you'll find information to assist the recruitment of psychiatrists in Wales, including templates and documentation to support the development and approval of posts, as well as the process for undertaking appointing panels.

Approval process and template job descriptions

There is an agreed process for reviewing and approving consultant and specialty doctor job descriptions (JDs).

The information below will guide you to a successful approval of your consultant and specialty doctor job descriptions in Wales. Please use our 'exemplar' consultant /specialty doctor job descriptions to develop JDs for a quicker more efficient approval.

Once prepared, new JD submissions should be uploaded, a fully completed JD checklist including page or section numbers, via our JD portal button as we no longer accept these by direct email.

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

Please note: any queries or version amendments to a JD currently in process with us should continue to be emailed directly to us at and not uploaded to the portal.

Once your JD is approved it will be stamped with our RCPsych approval stamp to identify that it has met our standards for approval.

Exemplars and process documents:

More information including FAQs and guidance documents can be found on our central College JD information pages.

Welsh language standards statutory duties

Organisations across the public sector have a duty to comply with the Welsh Language Measure (Wales) 2011. Section 26 of the Measure allows Welsh Ministers to impose standards of conduct that relate to the Welsh language.

These standards have been specified in regulations – the Welsh Language Standards Regulations (No. 7) 2018 apply to NHS Wales Health Boards and the Welsh Language Standards Regulations (No. 1) 2015 apply to local authorities (and therefore to social services departments).

Rather than including standards relating to conducting meetings which relate to an individual’s well-being in Welsh, Welsh Ministers included alternative standards in the health sector’s regulations following consultation on the draft regulations. These standards (110 and 110A) relate to planning to increase a body’s ability to offer to carry out clinical consultations in Welsh.

The Commissioner imposed a duty on all NHS Wales health boards to comply with standard 110 which means that they must publish a plan for each 5 year period setting out:

  • the extent to which they are able to offer to carry out a clinical consultation in Welsh
  • the actions they intend to take to increase their ability to offer to carry out a clinical consultation in Welsh
  • a timetable for the actions that they have detailed

The further duty imposed through standard 110A means that an assessment must be undertaken three years after publication, of the extent to which they have complied with the plan.

NHS Wales health boards have a statutory duty to comply with standards 96 and 116 of the Welsh Language Standards (No. 7) Regulations 2018 which means that all NHS Wales health boards must assess their employees’ Welsh language skills and, following the assessments, keep a record of the number of employees who have Welsh language skills.

All health boards should therefore know how many consultant psychiatrists they employ who have Welsh language skills, as well as their skill levels where known.

NHS Wales health boards have a statutory duty to comply with standards 106 and 106A of the Welsh Language Standards (No. 7) Regulations 2018 which means that they must assess the need for Welsh language skills when assessing the requirements for a new or vacant post.

They must categorise the post as one where the Welsh language is essential, desirable, where Welsh language skills need to be learnt when appointed, or, where Welsh language skills are not necessary. Bodies must specify the relevant skill requirements in the job advertisement if they have chosen one of the first three categories.

NHS Wales health boards and trusts have a statutory duty to comply with standard 70 of the Welsh Language Standards (No. 7) Regulations 2018 which means that when they formulate a new policy, or review or revise an existing policy, they must consider how the policy could be formulated (or how an existing policy could be changed) so that the policy decision would have positive effects on opportunities for persons to use the Welsh language. Welsh Ministers have a duty to act in the same way and to comply with standard 89 of the Welsh Language Standards (No. 1) Regulations 2015.

The relevant regulations define a ‘policy decision’ as ‘any decision made by a body about the exercise of its functions or about the conduct of its business or other undertaking, and they list some examples amongst other things: decisions about strategies or strategic plans and internal structures.

The policy making standards provide requirements for considering and changing the effect of policy decisions on the Welsh language - that is not limited to identifying and mitigating the risks of discriminating against Welsh speakers. The standards have been designed to ensure that decisions made by bodies contribute to the strategic aim of increasing the use of the Welsh language and not treating the Welsh language less favourably than the English language.

The Welsh language standards therefore require Welsh Ministers, when developing the national clinical plan for specialist health services (see 1.8), to consider how it can be developed so that the decision has positive effects on opportunities for persons to use the Welsh language.

AACs 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 (PDF) (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 appointing body)
  • An independent College Assessor
  • Any other additional members considered appropriate by the appointing body.

The function of an AAC is to decide which applicants are suitable for a post and recommend these names to the recruiting Health Board. 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 appointing body 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, Health Boards 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.

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?

Health Boards 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 workforce 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 Health Board.

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

We’re keen to recruit more College Assessors to support trusts in their recruitment process.

We hold regular training days for existing and potential College Assessors.

Training dates for 2020

If you’re interested in becoming a College Assessor, 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


Working with

Medical staffing/human resources department of Health Boards, College regional advisors and occasionally deputy regional advisors and College workforce staff.

Time commitment

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.

Job purpose

To attend Advisory Appointment Committees on behalf of the College for the appointment of consultants and specialty doctors.

This includes:

  • 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
  • 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 Health Board
  • Advising Health Boards to identify an appropriate mentor for the candidate taking up their first substantive consultant post
  • Completing a feedback form to be returned to the us after the AAC panel has taken place

Person specification

College Assessors will:

  • Have a keen interest in maintaining standards of consultant and other career grade psychiatrists
  • Be willing to express an impartial opinion to make sure the right doctor is appointed to the right post
  • Be on the GMC's specialist register with a licence to practice in the UK
  • Be full, current members of the College and be able to represent the views of the College
  • Have held a substantive consultant post for at least three years
  • 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.

Call us

020 3701 2525.

Email us

Support through COVID-19

Despite the current situation, the College can still help you with finding College Assessors for interview panels and reviewing job descriptions. 

College Assessors can attend panels remotely and carry out the same function that they normally would. The College Assessor database can still be used to find College Assessors but if any Health Board has difficulty finding one, they should email where they can be provided with assistance.

If any clinician would like to become a College Assessor, please email your division manager with the request and email to sign up to a remote College Assessor Training session.

Please see our full College guidance pages on the job description approval process.

For queries please email us at

We are aware that in many institutions, SPA time is being cut for the duration of the pandemic and regional representatives may not have as much time to dedicate to job description approval. We are also aware that institutions may need to make a number of emergency appointments to cover roles that become available. 

Given this, we are asking those who approve job descriptions to continue to normal timeframes. However, we understand that work pressures may cause the process to be extended.

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry