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

Advisory Appointment Committees (AACs) and College Assessors

Information for trusts and appointing bodies

Advisory Appointments Committees (AACs)

An Advisory Appointments Committee (AAC) is a legally constituted 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 external College Assessor; and
  • 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 to 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 are employing doctors.

The College plays a vital role in this recruitment and selection process through the provision of an independent, external College Assessor, who sits as a full AAC panel member. The College Assessor’s role is to provide the trust with an impartial opinion on the suitability of candidates. Their input is designed to maintain standards of practice in the profession as well as enabling a reliable and constructive assessment of the training and experience of a candidate. 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 accordance with the NHS (Appointment of Consultants) Regulations, amended in January 2005, NHS trusts should consult the College Regional Advisor with regard to the job description and person specification prior to advertisement. This is to ensure that proper consideration has been given to all areas of the appointment in relation to the facilities provided, including clinical, research, teaching and managerial responsibilities, and ensure a satisfactory balance has been achieved.


Organising an Advisory Appointments Committee

An AAC is held by the appointing body once the Regional Advisor has commented on and agreed the job description, and the post has been advertised.

Once a College Assessor has been identified to attend an AAC, the recruiting trust should notify the College with the details of the interview as soon as possible, via the workforce helpdesk. This enables the College to send assessors the appropriate paperwork in advance of the AAC.


How to find a College Assessor

The contact details of all approved, trained College Assessors can be found on a secure section of the College website. Trusts can access this with a username and password, which permits them to search by specialty and region. If your trust requires access to the secure pages of the website to identify a College Assessor, please contact the workforce helpdesk

Trusts should ask a College Assessor if they are available to attend an interview a minimum of six weeks prior to the AAC or, if possible, at the beginning of the recruitment process.

It is important to remember that, in order to fulfil their role as an external Assessor, the College representative must not be an employee of the recruiting trust. It is also essential that the College Assessor specialises in the specialty of psychiatry the interview is for.

If you are experiencing difficulties finding an Assessor, please contact the College who will be able to advise you further.


Information for College Assessors

Training for College Assessors

The College is keen to recruit additional College Assessors to attend AAC panels support trusts in their recruitment. The College holds regular training days for existing and potential College Assessors and the next training events are scheduled for:

  • Friday 11 May 2018 (Newcastle)
  • Tuesday 16 October 2018 (London)

The training days are open to all existing, new and prospective College Assessors, though we are particularly keen to train new College Assessors. If you are interested in becoming a College Assessor, or wish to attend 'top-up' training, please email the workforce helpdesk for further information and to book a place. The training is free to attend and the College will pay reasonable travel expenses.


How to become a College Assessor

  • The College Assessor job description can be accessed here.
  • An applicant to be a College Assessor is required to forward a copy of their CV to the Division Manager, so that they can be nominated by either their local Regional Advisor, the Chair of their Division or the Chair of their Faculty. Details for the Division Managers and other posts in the Division can be found on the College website. Nominations are then ratified by the College's Education and Training Committee (ETC) which sits three times per year.
  • College Assessors are then required to attend a training day, which are generally held twice a year.
  • Once ETC approval and College Assessor training has been completed, contact details for the new College Assessor will be put on a secure page of the College website. Trusts can access this page (with a unique username and password) when they require a College Assessor to attend an AAC panel and approach representatives directly.


Further information and resources


Contact information

Workforce Helpdesk

Training and Workforce Team

Professional Standards Department

Royal College of Psychiatrists

21 Prescot Street

London, E1 8BB

Tel:   020 3701 2616
Fax:  020 3701 2761



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