ARCP stands for Annual Review of Competence Progression
The ARCP is a formal process that reviews evidence presented by the trainee and their educational supervisor relating to the trainee’s progress since their last ARCP. This review looks at the amount and quality of the evidence to determine whether a trainee should move on to the next part of their training, or whether additional training experience or time is required. A full explanation of its purpose can be found in the Gold Guide v8.
The ARCP panel has an important role, which its composition should reflect. It should consist of at least three panel members appointed by the training committee or an equivalent group of which one must be either the Postgraduate Dean (or their nominated deputy), the Head of School or a TPD.. A proportion of ARCP panels may also have a lay representative and an RCOA representative present.
ARCP Outcomes are reached after a panel has reviewed the evidence supplied by the trainee, contained within their training portfolio, the Lifelong Learning platform (LLP). Since ARCPs are conducted without the trainee present (in absentia), it is essential that the training portfolio is up to date and contains all the evidence required by the ARCP panel linked to your Educational Supervisor's Structured Report (ESSR). You can ensure you have provided all required evidence by following the National ARCP checklist produced by the RCOA which all rotations in London.
The Panel will also review evidence submitted by the trainee for revalidation which includes their FORM R. Please see the section on FORM R below.
Please note that if you are a Dual Trainee, you will have an ARCP in both specialties and will be awarded two outcomes, one for each speciality.
Further details about ARCP outcomes can be found from page 70 to 74 of the Gold Guide.
In April 2020, in response to the impact that the COVID Pandemic might have on trainee progression, the concept of a “no fault” ARCP outcome was introduced. This reflected that a trainee’s progress overall was satisfactory but because of COVID (an external factor outside of their control) competencies/capabilities could not be acquired and trainees needed educational support and for some, that included additional training time.
At the same time, assessment requirements at critical progression points (e.g.,exams) were delayed or cancelled due to COVID. Colleges and Faculties reviewed curriculum requirements, amended assessments, and made derogations to reduce the disruption to training and progression due to COVID. This together with the COVID Outcome options enabled trainees to progress through the training pathway as scheduled and where they could not (for external reasons) additional training was offered.
Details of the COVID outcomes can be found within the Gold Guide - COVID Outcomes
When an outcome is not issued:
There are circumstances when the ARCP panel will not issue an outcome, such as when the trainee is absent on statutory leave (e.g., maternity/paternity/adoption or sick leave) or where training has been paused. In these cases, the panel will record the reasons for this. (Refer to N codes, GG8 Appendix 3)
If it is determined a trainee is likely to receive an outcome 2, 3 or 4 (or COVID outcome 10.2), the trainee will be contacted by a panel member (most likely their TPD), to be given feedback. The purpose of this discussion is to help the trainee understand the reason(s) for the outcome, to give them an opportunity to ask questions, for the TPD/Supervisor to offer support, and to ensure the trainee has a clear, well-supported action plan, going forwards.
What can I do in the event of a concern about the outcome?
A trainee may request a review of an Outcome 2 or appeal an Outcome 3 or 4. There are time limits and requirements for embarking on these processes, so it is recommended that trainees read the appropriate part of the Gold Guide early on if they are concerned.
ARCP Outcome 5s may arise for three distinct reasons.
- Commonly, a trainee receives an Outcome 5 because they have not presented sufficient evidence to the panel for an assessment to be made, or if a trainee has not submitted a Form R (Part B). This situation should be entirely avoidable if the trainee maintains their portfolio and prepares in a timely manner, meeting their ES and using the ARCP checklist. An Outcome 5 in this circumstance reflects poorly on the trainee.
- A trainee may be issued an Outcome 5 because they have an outstanding module/HALO to complete before they progress to the next level of training, and they are still undertaking that module at the time of the ARCP. It may be possible to issue an Outcome 1 in this circumstance provided that the module supervisor (via the ESSR report) indicates that the trainee is progressing satisfactorily in the module and is expected to complete it in a timely manner. However, if this is not clear in the ESSR then the panel will have no choice but to issue an Outcome 5 pending completion of the module. In this circumstance, the Outcome 5 does not reflect poorly on the trainee who is otherwise well-prepared for the ARCP.
- Due to the timing of ARCPs and RCOA examinations, the trainee may be waiting for the results of an examination they need to have passed before moving on to the next stage of training. If the trainee is at a critical progression point, then an outcome 5 will be issued until the result of the exam.
An outcome 5 is not a final outcome and the timeframe for which missing evidence needs to be submitted will be stated on the outcome form. The outcome form will also state what the final outcome will be if the missing evidence is submitted within the time frame and is correct. If evidence is still missing after the deadline, then an Outcome 2 or 3 will be issued.
For trainees that are out of programme:
If your OOP has not been recognised for training, the panel still needs to receive a Supervisor’s report from the trainee indicating what the trainee is doing during their OOP time, together with their FORM R. An Outcome 8 will be issued if all information is there and correct.
If the trainee is out of programme on a training placement (OOPT or OOPR) that has been prospectively approved by the GMC and that will contribute to the competences/capabilities of the trainee’s programme, an Outcome 8 will not be used. Instead, a routine assessment of progression should be made and an Outcome 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 should be awarded.
Good preparation is key to a successful ARCP. The steps to achieving this are detailed below.
STEP 1: Following every ARCP, review the outcome form, make a note of any training recommendations or SMART targets made by the panel and whether the panel have recommended you for an ARCP sooner than the following year
STEP 2: Inform your ES of the when your next ARCP is due to take place at your initial review. Run through the RCOA National ARCP Checklist together so you can plan what you need to do.
STEP 3: Meet with your ES throughout the year and ensure meetings are documented in your LLP
STEP 4: Plan your MSF’s early
STEP 5: Arrange to meet with your ES in advance to prepare the Educational Supervisors Summary Report (ESSR). Complete your FORM R (part B) and link this to your ESSR prior to ES sign off.
STEP 6: Remember to allow time for final ESSR sign off by your College Tutor
The Form R is a self-declaration form completed by trainee doctors.
Until January 2014, trainees were asked to complete an Enhanced Form R for the purposes of registration and revalidation. To avoid duplication and minimise the amount of unnecessary form filling for trainees, this combined form has now been made into two separate parts, Part A and Part B, so that both parts don’t always have to be completed when only one is needed.
The Form R (Part A) asks for personal and contact information that is used to maintain our database. It is requested from you by the HEE London and KSS HET Team at registration. You are then required to submit Part B only annually to maintain accuracy of data. A request for this will be sent to you by the member of the HET Workforce Team who deals with your specialty, and any queries about it should be submitted via the PGMDE Support Portal.
The Form R (Part B) asks for information about your recent scope of practice, time out of training, and declarations relating to revalidation. Trainees must declare their full scope of practice i.e., anywhere they have undertaken a role as a licensed doctor (voluntary or paid)
This information informs the ARCP Panel to comment on your fitness to practice, which in turn informs the Dean’s recommendation to the GMC about your revalidation.
Further guidance on completion of Time Out Of Training (TOOT) on Form R is available here.
If your FORM R is missing or the information is incorrect, you will be awarded an outcome 5.