External Advisors (EAs) assist Deaneries/LETBs (and where appropriate HEE Local Offices) with the quality management of Local Education Providers (LEPs), when invited as part of Deanery/LETB led teams, to sample visit Local Education Providers and sit on Deaneries/LETBs Annual Record of Competency Progression (ARCP) panels. In addition, the JRCPTB also provides External Advisors for Penultimate Year Assessments to also review the progress of individual trainees.
The Role of the External Advisor
The role of the External Advisor is to provide impartial advice and scrutiny of all processes of delivery, assessment and evaluation of specialty training according to the GMC Quality Framework (QF).
External Advisors should participate in the ARCP process but they are not expected to attend every ARCP. It is a Gold Guide requirement that an External Advisor (EA) reviews 10% of all ARCP outcomes, including the evidence supporting these and any recommendations from the panel about concerns over progress (ARCP outcomes 2, 3 and 4). It may be possible to undertake some of the outcome reviews remotely but this should be combined with sufficient direct contact to enable the EA to comment on the processes of delivery, assessment and evaluation of specialty training.
The EA should ensure that the ARCP process is consistent and appropriate for the specialty and may provide advice to the ARCP panel on decision outcomes when unsatisfactory outcomes are discussed, and contribute to the advice given to individual trainees.
The EA will produce a short report on the ARCP process within two weeks of attending an ARCP panel. Ideally they should have discussed any concerns to be raised within the report with the TPD at the time of the ARCP. EAs would not be expected to report on individual trainees, although following their discussions with trainees they may report back on specific issues relevant to the programme. Serious concerns (for example pertaining to patient safety) should be referred promptly and directly to the postgraduate dean outside of the normal reporting mechanisms.
Local Education Provider visits
If the visit has been triggered as a result of a serious issue, the host Deanery/LETB (or where appropriate HEE Local Office) should provide details of the issues identified. The EA should contribute to the planning of the targeted visit, for instance by suggesting key personnel for the team to meet. Any concerns the EA may have about the organisation of the visit should be raised with the Postgraduate Dean and highlighted in the team’s visit report. The EA will contribute to the Visit Team report, and will not produce a separate JRCPTB report.