Specialty ARCP (Annual Review of Competence Progression)

ARCP (Annual Review of Competence Progression)

Your educational progression will be reviewed annually at an ARCP, which will assess you against the minimum standards required by the Matrix. Although ARCPs cannot be precisely 12 months apart, they should take place within three months of this annual interval.

The Faculty runs ARCPs for the CSRH Training Programme. For most other larger specialties, ARCPs are run by the Deaneries or by Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs).

The ARCP is a formal meeting with at least three panel members, although there are often many more. The panel must include either your Postgraduate Dean (or deputy) or a Training Programme Director. It may also include the chair of the Specialty Advisory Committee, an Educational Supervisor and a lay representative. Educational Supervisors consider ARCPs to be good learning experiences so a panel will often include one or two additional members. Your own Educational Supervisor will never sit on your panel.

ARCP panels usually aim to rely entirely on the Educational Supervisor's report to reach its recommendation. If panel members are concerned or need some clarification, however, they can access your e-Portfolio. After the panel, its Chair will write to your Dean and recommend an ARCP outcome, copying in you and your Educational Supervisor.

Which trainees must attend the ARCP in person?

We give all trainees the option to attend the ARCP themselves, but we require personal attendance from:

  • all trainees who are at a way-point i.e. making the transition between basic and intermediate training (ST3/4), intermediate and advanced training (ST5/6), or completing the programme (finishing ST6) 
  • any trainee with an Educational Supervisor’s report that suggests that there have been difficulties – these may be caused by a trainee’s own problems and/or problems with the programme.

Your LETB/Deanery will cover your travel expenses when you attend your ARCP panel.

How ARCP process relates to revalidation

For information on how revalidation affects the ARCP process, please visit the revalidation for trainees section of the RCOG website.

ARCP outcomes

The ARCP panel will recommend one of several outcomes. These are described in the Gold Guide. This also contains information about the general principles and regulations that underpin the ARCP process.

To find out about the ARCP appeals and complaints process, please contact your LETB/Deanery.

ARCP: Preparing for the ARCP

This checklist will help you prepare for your ARCP. 

  • Make sure you understand the expected standards for your training year, as described in the Matrix. This will help you make satisfactory progress.
  • You and your Educational Supervisor must meet the relevant submission dates and deadlines, so make sure to note them down. 
  • Familiarise yourself with the Educational Supervisor’s (ES) report. To prepare for your end-of-year meeting with your Educational Supervisor, you will need to fill out parts of this document. Your Educational Supervisor will then complete the remaining sections and share these with you before your ARCP. Help yourself by knowing what sections you need to complete yourself and collect the necessary information during the year, rather than rushing to do so in the weeks before your ARCP. 
  • Meet your Educational Supervisor and complete the ES report together. This records your educational achievements and the competencies that you have gained that year. 
  • Your Educational Supervisor will complete the structured reference section of the report and generate the summary of your Multisource Feedback (i.e.TO2 forms . [LINK to..]). This is a summary of your TO1 (team observation) forms.
  • Your Educational Supervisor must record all leave that you have taken within the ES report. You can read more about this here. [LINK to Absence from work and Time out of Training]
  • Please remember to complete the Trainee Evaluation Form in your e-Portfolio.

Advice on ARCP outcomes

FSRH has produced the following advice for your possible ARCP outcomes, as they relate to expected benchmarks as laid out in the Matrix.

We have drawn up this specific guidance for ARCP panels assessing trainees who have not met the required standards to ensure consistency. The guidance can also help you anticipate your own outcome by assessing your evidence-based progress against the Matrix.

If you achieve all the standards for your year then you should receive an ARCP outcome 1. If you do not, the Panel should not recommend an outcome 1. Instead, it will recommend a different outcome, and may be advised and supported by your Deanery.

An ARCP outcome 2 will let your Postgraduate Dean ensure that your next attachment can give you the training you need. You should not regard an outcome 2 as a failure, but rather as a chance to receive the necessary education and training to achieve the expected standard. An outcome 2 does not alter your CCT date.

An ARCP outcome 3 will let you obtain specific competencies and give you extra training time. Please note that the Gold Guide limits this extra time to one year, unless there are truly exceptional circumstances.

An ARCP outcome 5 is reserved for the very few cases where the panel has not received enough evidence to reach an informed conclusion. In such cases, the panel should review its outcome 5 recommendation once it has enough information and then issue a new recommendation. This should take place within a short space of time – around two weeks.

ARCP outcomes at key way-points

The CSRH curriculum contains key way-points when trainees move from basic to intermediate level training (ST3-4) and from intermediate to advanced level training (ST5-6). The ARCP process is particularly important at these way-points, so it is essential that you provide the necessary evidence to show that you have achieved the required competencies. Failure to achieve them usually results in an outcome 3.

At end of ST3, you should have passed MFSRH part 1, completed the basic logbook competencies and have taken the WPBAs listed in the Matrix.

If you have achieved the competencies but fail the MFSRH Part 1, you may be allowed to do clinical work under the educational plan you will receive after your outcome 3. This outcome will require your Educational Supervisor to advise the ARCP Panel that you possess the necessary clinical skills. This advice should be recorded in the ES report.

At end of ST5, you need to must have passed MFSRH part 2 and have all the WPBAs listed in the Matrix to show that you have the competencies and skills required to move to ST6.

Using the Matrix to screen for developing issues

The Matrix is a useful tool for benchmarking trainees objectively. This table provides advice for the ARCP outcome for each of the standards it lists.

An ARCP outcome 2 or 3 should result in an educational plan. This needs to have SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) targets, which should be assessed at a follow-up ARCP. The original ARCP panel should take advice from the local Deanery to determine the timeframe to achieve these targets.

You can download the table here. 

ARCP Panel Timing

For organisational reasons, sometimes ARCP panels are convened before the end of the training year. In these situations, a trainee may not have achieved all the Matrix objectives but is expected to do so by the end of the training year. In such cases, the ARCP Panel should recommend an outcome 2, which can be changed to an outcome 1 later on if the trainee submits the remaining evidence in time. If it is clear that the trainee will not achieve the required objectives, the Panel should recommend an outcome 3. This is particularly important at the key way-points of ST3-4 and ST5-6.

Training evaluation form (TEF)

The TEF is compulsory. It allows you to give direct feedback on your training, thereby enabling us to monitor and improve its quality. You will also be asked to give feedback via the national GMC survey; because trainee numbers are small, the GMC does not share localised reports of your feedback.

The ARCP Panel will read your TEF and may discuss it with you at your ARCP. This is your chance to give both general and detailed feedback on your training experience and, with the Panel, to consider how best to address any issues. This information is confidential outside the ARCP process, but may be collated anonymously to review aspects of the training programme overall.

Certification of training & specialist registration

Subject to a satisfactory final ARCP, you will receive an outcome 6. The Faculty will then make a recommendation to the GMC that you have completed your training and are eligible for the award of the CCT or CESR(CP).

For more information about the CCT/CESR(CP) routes to registration, visit the General Medical Council website.