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

College Assessors & Advisory Appointment Committees

IMPORTANT: Training for College Assessors

Several training events have been scheduled throughout the year for College Assessors. The training events are open to all existing, new and prospective College Assessors. The remaining events for 2014, which will run for most of the day, will be held on:

  • Friday 12 September 2014 (London)
  • Wednesday 1 October (Blagdon, near Bristol)

To register your interest, please email the workforce helpdesk with your preference(s). Places will be provided on a first come, first served basis, but we are keen to attract new College Assessors and widen the pool of College representatives available to trusts. Please note there are very few spaces left, particularly the London event. Reasonable expenses will be met for members attending the training.

Further information on becoming a College Assessor can be found below, but the process is managed locally via the divisional chairs, and then approved by the Education, Training and Standards Committee. This committee next meets on 3 October 2014. 


Advisory Appointments Committees

An Advisory Appointments Committee (AAC) is a legally constituted interview panel.  It is established by the appointing body and should include the following persons:

  • 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 University representative (if required)
  • A lay member, normally the Chair
  • A College Assessor
  • Any other additional members considered appropriate by the Trust

The function of an AAC is to decide the applicants suitable for the post and to recommend these names to the recruiting Trust. This applies equally to Consultant and Specialty Doctor appointments.

The College Assessor’s role in this process is to provide the trust with an impartial, external opinion as a representative of The Royal College of Psychiatrists. Their presence aims to maintain standards of practice in the profession as well as enables a reliable and constructive assessment of the training and experience of a candidate. As a core member of the AAC, the College Assessor must be involved in all stages of the process, including shortlisting.

In order that the most suitable candidate is identified for the post, the nominated College Assessor should ensure that the applicants are eligible for appointment in terms of inclusion on the Specialist Register.  Additionally, they should encourage Trusts to provide mentorship for newly qualified Consultants.


Appointment criteria for consultants

Since 1 January 1997, inclusion on the GMC’s Specialist Register is a legal requirement for doctors who wish to take up a consultant appointment in the NHS. This is with the exception of Specialist Registrars who are able to apply for consultant posts if the expected date of the award of their CCT falls no more than 6 months after the date of interview. It is important to not discriminate against doctors who do not hold either MRCPsych or a CCT, but have obtained Specialist Registration via other routes.

Consultant job descriptions

In accordance with the NHS (Appointment of Consultants) Regulations, amended in January 2005, the Trust should consult the Regional Advisor with regard to the job description and person specification prior to advertisement. This aims 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 a satisfactory balance has been achieved.

Organising an Advisory Appointments Committee

An AAC is arranged 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 for the AAC, the College should be notified of the details of the interview as soon as possible, via the workforce helpdesk. This is important to ensure accurate records are maintained, which is fundamental to workforce monitoring, as well as enabling 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 an College Assessor, please contact the workforce helpdesk
Trusts should ask an Assessor if they are available to attend an interview at least 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 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 happy to advise you further.


Following an AAC, all College Assessors must complete a feedback form for the College and the Regional Advisor, hence the importance of informing the College once an Assessor is identified. This is invaluable for monitoring the recruitment of psychiatrists in the NHS.

Further information and resources


How to become a College Assessor

  • The College Assessor job description can be accessed here.
  • The applicant is required to be nominated by their Regional Advisor, the Chair of their Division or the Chair of their Faculty. Details of these can be found on the College website. The nomination should be sent to the College, along with a copy of their CV.
  • The applicant’s name will be put forward to the Education, Training and Standards Committee for endorsement. This committee sits three times per year.
  • Once ETSC 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 username and password) when they require a College Assessor to attend an Advisory Appointments Committee and approach Assessors directly.
  • College Assessors are required to undergo diversity / equal opportunities training and confirm to the College that such training has been completed. The training would be expected to take place in the trust or deanery of the College Assessor.


Contact information

Training and Workforce
Professional Standards
Royal College of Psychiatrists
21 Prescot Street
London, E1 8BB
Tel:   020 3701 2616
Fax:  020 3701 2761
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