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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness



Information for Appraisers and Trust Appraisal Leads (FAQ)

This page answers the questions asked most frequently by appraisers of those participating in ACP 360.  Please submit any other questions or comments using the contact details at the end of this page.




How have the ACP 360 results been gathered?

The report is based on questionnaire returns from the participant, a number of colleagues and service users.  The participant was asked to involve a sufficient number of colleagues (a recommended minimum of 13 returns) and of service users (a recommended minimum number of 25 returns) to obtain valid and reliable results. The participant and their colleagues complete an online questionnaire and the service users post them in paper form.  We do not know the identity of the colleagues or service users.

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How are colleague assessors selected?

Guidance selection of colleague assessors can be found on the page: Colleague Assessors.

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How and when will I receive the ACP 360 report?

The psychiatrist being assessed should receive a report within 8 weeks of starting the ACP 360 process. He/she should add the ACP 360 report to their appraisal folder and provide this to their appraiser in good time and at least a week before the appraisal meeting.

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What should I do prior to the appraisal meeting?

The appraiser should take time to read through the ACP 360 report and note any domains in which the appraisee is scoring significantly outside the norms of the benchmark data.  Where there are extreme scores, it is important to check the number of returns for the items in that domain.  The appraiser may form some preliminary thoughts.  However, interpretation of the results is a joint process between appraiser and appraisee. Remember that a score of 4 means that performance has been assessed as being moderately high (good) on the behaviour(s) covered by that item or domain. Any score of 4 or above that means that patients and colleagues have high regard for the psychiatrist concerned.

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How should I discuss the report in the appraisal meeting?

It is important to remember that some appraisees will be very anxious about this, particularly if they have never participated in multi-source feedback before. The process is intended to be formative and the discussion should be positive. Its purpose is to help the participant to identify his or her strengths and areas that he or she might wish to work on as part of their personal and professional development.  The appraiser should stress the fact that ACP 360 is designed to encourage personal development, not to single out poor practice.  The ACP 360 assessment report should be considered as one part of the wider appraisal process and should not be considered in isolation. Items or domains where the number of colleague raters is below 13 or of patient raters is below 25 should be treated cautiously.

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How should I deliver the results of the free text comments?

The free-text comments can complement the numerical feedback in the main report by giving the participant further insight into their strengths and areas for development. The experience from other multi-source feedback tools which use free text is that people find this component of the assessment valuable and encouraging.  The option of including free-text comments is only open to participants who have a designated appraiser to receive the results.  Your job is to share the feedback with the appraisee in a supportive manner. Trusts which have chosen to make this option available to psychiatrists are strongly advised to ensure that those giving the feedback have had the necessary training.

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What else should I be encouraging the appraisee to do?

We recommend that you encourage the appraisee to develop an action plan to address any issues that have been identified by the ACP 360 process. This should focus on two or three main areas rather than trying to encompass every aspect of the report. This action planning might be part of the appraisee’s wider personal development plan agreed with you as their appraiser and/or with the appraisee’s peer group.  You might encourage the appraisee to take some issues into the job planning process with their clinical manager. For example, if it is agreed during the appraisal discussion that an unduly heavy workload is a factor affecting their results.


We recommend that the appraisee makes a diary note to review their action plan and progress 6 months after appraisal.  The action plan can then be further reviewed at the next appraisal meeting.

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How often should psychiatrists undertake ACP 360?

You should discuss this with the appraisee, as needs may vary. As a guide, we recommend that psychiatrists undertake ACP 360 every 3 years.  The GMC will probably set a minimum frequency for participation for the purposes of relicensing and recertification.

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