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The Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP)

Purpose of the ARCP (adapted from the Gold Guide)

The ARCP is a formal Deanery/Local Offices process which scrutinises each surgical trainee’s suitability to progress to the next stage of, or complete, the training programme. It follows on from the appraisal process and bases its recommendations on the evidence that has been gathered in the trainee’s learning portfolio during the period between ARCP reviews. The ARCP records that the required curriculum competences and experience are being acquired, and that this is at an appropriate rate. It also provides a coherent record of a trainee’s progress. The ARCP is not in itself an assessment exercise of clinical or professional competence.

The ARCP should normally be undertaken on at least an annual basis for all trainees in surgical training. Some deaneries/LETBs plan to arrange two ARCPs each year in the early years of training. An ARCP panel may be convened more frequently if there is a need to deal with progression issues outside the normal schedule.

The surgical Specialty Advisory Committees (SACs) use the opportunity afforded, through their regional liaison member on the panel, to monitor the quality of training being delivered by the programme and/or its components.

Further information on this process can be found in the Gold Guide.

Preparation for the ARCP

The trainee’s learning portfolio provides the evidence of progress. It is the trainee’s responsibility to ensure that the documentary evidence is complete in good time for the ARCP.

The SAC representatives on ARCP panels will monitor trainees’ progress throughout their training to assess whether they are on course to obtain certification or a Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration via a Combine Programme or CESR(CP). Particular attention will be paid in the final two years of training to ensure that any remedial action can be taken, if necessary, to enable individual trainees to successfully complete their training.

The ARCP panel

Please note that during the time of the panel meeting, members of an ARCP panel will have access to the portfolios of the trainees they review. Panel members are appointed by the Deanery/Local Offices and are likely to include the following:

  • Postgraduate Dean/Associate Director/Associate Dean
  • Training Programme Director
  • Chair of the Specialty Training Committee
  • College/Faculty representatives (e.g. liaison member from the surgical specialty SAC)
  • Assigned Educational Supervisors (who have not been directly responsible for the trainee’s placements)
  • Associate Directors/Deans
  • Academic representatives (for academic programmes, who have not been directly responsible for the trainee’s placements)
  • A representative from an employing authority
  • Lay/patient representative
  • External trainer
  • Representative from an employing organisation.

ARCP outcomes

The ARCP panel will make one of the following recommendations about each trainee based on the evidence put before them:

    Satisfactory Progress

  1. Achieving progress and competences at the expected rate

  2. Unsatisfactory progress

  3. Development of specific competences required – additional training time not required
  4. Inadequate progress by the trainee – additional training time required
  5. Released from training programme with or without specified competences

  6. Insufficient evidence

  7. Incomplete evidence presented – additional training time may be required

  8. Recommendation for completion of the training programme (core or higher)

  9. Gained all required competences for the programme

(Similar outcomes are made for those in Locum Appointment for Training (LAT), Fixed-term Specialty Training Appointment (FTSTA), Out of programme (OOP) and Top-up training).

ARCP Checklist (these areas of the portfolio should be completed in advance of the panel meeting).