Table of Contents

  1. Schedule for the ARCP Process
  2. Main Summer Panels
  3. Location
  4. Giving Feedback on Educational Supervisors’ Reports
  5. ARCP Outcomes
  6. Possible outcomes from ARCP Panel
  7. Hallmarks of good practice in information recording in the ePortfolio
  8. Other issues to consider when looking at the e-portfolio
  9. Information for Panel Chairs
  10. Panel Assessment Criteria
  11. Learning Log recommendations


1. Schedule for the ARCP Process 

  • ARCP Panels are held monthly except in August. They are required to have a minimum of 3 members. This consists of a chair, and at least two other APD/TPDs and usually at least one lay advisor. Panellists for central panels will normally meet at Deanery House. For some panels, the panellists will communicate virtually by e-mail, followed by a phone conference to discuss the outcomes.
  • Dates of all panels for 2017 are on the website.  
  • There are two types of ARCP panels:
  • The main summer panels. They are usually held in June and July and are a 2 stage process. These panels will mainly review the eportfolios of ST1, ST2 and ST3 trainees whose review dates are ‘in sync’ with their training programme (i.e. those that work full time and have not taken any breaks).
  • The ‘mini’ panels. These are held every month (with the exception of August) and, due to the smaller number of assessments, they are a single stage process. These panels review the eportfolios of trainees who are ‘out of sync’ (i.e. those who work LTFT or have had a break in their training programme).

 Trainees and Supervisors are asked to ensure that all mandatory assessments, clinical supervisor and educational supervisor reports are completed by seven working days before the summer panels and two working days before the mini panels. 


2. Main Summer Panels

  • For the summer panels, each GP Speciality Training Programme team is responsible for Stage 1 Assessment of all the eportfolios of trainees due to come to the panel. They then return the outcomes of this assessment on the supplied spreadsheet to the GP Support Manager, Severn GP School, by the Monday 2 days before the panel. (see Appendix A – Stage 1 assessment guidance)
  • For the summer Stage 2 Assessment, all panel members convene at 08:30 on the day of the panel. Each panel will have at least one lay member and the Chair will be the APD for Assessment or the Head of School. All panel members should have access to a lap top.
  • Timetable for the day for Stage 2 summer panels:


08.30am - Welcome and introductions

Trainees’ portfolios are divided into those that have passed the Stage 1 process and those that need further scrutiny.

09.15am – Stage 2 portfolio assessment

The Chair allocates trainees that have not passed Stage 1 from each patch to a pair of panel members from a different patch. Before starting detailed scrutiny, the pair check whether missing data for all their trainees has been updated/completed.  Where ESRs have not yet been submitted, then the chair should be notified immediately. They will e-mail the relevant ES.



The chair will review all those portfolios that have successfully passed the stage 1 panel for final ratification.



The allocated panel pair then undertake further scrutiny of those portfolios that have not passed the Stage 1 process:

  • Consider concerns/issues raised by the Stage 1 panel.
  • Don’t forget to read the comments on previous ARCP outcome forms if relevant – the Support Manager will have highlighted on the spreadsheet if there are comments to consider.
  • It is not necessary for Stage 2 panel members to assess the ESR against the Feedback Criteria as this is done at local programme level. 
  • For those trainees that have been assessed as having no problems in the Stage 1 panel, have a Satisfactory ES outcome, BUT do not have an evidence-based ESR, then the pair will examine the primary eportfolio evidence to see if the ES judgement is justified and then flag for further discussion with the full panel.

For those cases that have been assessed in Stage 1 panel as having problems either with minimum evidence, supervisor comments, or any other concerns, then the pair will examine the portfolio in detail to consider the ARCP outcome.

1.00pm – Lunch break


1.30pm – Stage 2 assessment discussion

  • The whole panel runs through all trainees to determine Outcomes. Those that are judged by the pair as likely to have an unsatisfactory outcome and those with non evidence-based ESRs will be discussed by the whole panel to achieve consensus.



  • For those trainees with an unsatisfactory outcome – the panel will agree which competencies need development, and the justifications for that outcome will be added to the ARCP form.


4.30pm - Close



  • For the other panels, because of the smaller number of trainees, there will not be a stage 1 local panel. The panellists will meet for a period of 1-2 hours to go through the portfolios and agree an outcome.
  • Trainees will be notified of the panel outcome via the ePortfolio which will usually be within 1 week of the panel.


3. Location 

Health Education England, working across the south west, Deanery House, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucestershire Road, Hambrook, Bristol BS16 1GW Tel: 01454 252661


4. Giving Feedback on Educational Supervisors’ Reports 

The school of primary care aims to give feedback to all Educational Supervisors every three years and more frequently to those in need of development. Feedback will be given on three areas:

  • How well are the competency judgments referenced to evidence?
  • How helpful are the suggested actions for the next stage of training/after CCT?
  • How constructive are feedback comments in the learning log?

Feedback will be given at Summer and monthly panels

  • For Summer panels, the GP Support managers will notify programme managers via the Stage 1 spreadsheets which ESRs require feedback.
  • Stage 1 panel reviewers may also choose to give feedback on other ESRs that they feel are significantly in need of development – in such cases they should indicate on the spreadsheet that feedback has been done.
  • For monthly panels, feedback will be given for all ESRs unless one has been done for that ES within the last three years.
  • Reviewers should agree feedback against the three quality areas by circling the relevant statements. More than one statement may be circled per feedback area.
  • Should the reviewer feel that there is significant improvement required in the ESR, then they should circle to reassess the ESR after 1yr, otherwise review should be after 3 years.
  • For the summer panels, the programme managers should scan the forms and send out to the relevant ES.  Please copy in GP Support so that they can record that feedback has been given.
  • For Monthly panels, GP Support will send scanned copies of feedback direct to Programme managers for onward distribution to the ES.


5. ARCP Outcomes 

Paragraph 7.50 of the Gold Guide says the following about the ARCP process:

“The panel has two objectives:

  1. to consider and approve the adequacy of the evidence and documentation provided by the trainee, which at a minimum must consist of a review of the trainee’s portfolio through a structured report from the educational supervisor, documenting assessments (as required by the specialty curriculum) and achievements. The panel should provide comment and feedback where applicable on the quality of the structured educational supervisor’s report or assessor’s documentation; 
  2. provided that adequate documentation has been presented, to make a judgement about the trainee’s suitability to progress to the next stage of training or confirm training has been satisfactorily been completed.”


6. Possible Outcomes from ARCP Panel

Satisfactory Progress
1. Achieving progress and competences at the expected rate

Unsatisfactory or insufficient evidence (trainee must meet with panel)
2. Development of specific competences required – additional training time not required
3. Inadequate progress by the trainee – additional training time required
4. Released from training programme with or without specified competences
    Released from academic programme
5. Incomplete evidence presented – additional training time may be required

Recommendation for completion of training
6. Gained all required competences

Outcomes for trainees out of programme or not in run-through training
7. Fixed-term specialty outcome – see form for supplementary documentation for trainees with this outcome
8. Out of programme experience for approved clinical experience, research of career break
9. Top-up training (outcome should be indicated in one of the areas above).


7. Hallmarks of good practice in information recording in the ePortfolio 

(courtesy of the RCGP WPBA Standards group)

A log entry should ideally show:

  • some evidence of critical thinking and analysis, describing own thought processes
  • some self-awareness demonstrating openness and honesty about performance and some consideration of feelings generated
  • some evidence of learning, appropriately describing what needs to be learned, why and how
  • appropriate linkage to curriculum
  • demonstration of behaviour that allows linkage to one or more competency areas.


The following table provides a framework for assessing reflection in the eportfolio:

Needs Further Development                     Satisfactory                                                        Excellent

Information Provided - Entirely descriptive e.g. lists of learning events/ certificates of attendance with no evidence of reflection

Limited use of other sources of information to put the event into context

Demonstrates well developed analysis and critical thinking e.g. using the evidence base to justify or change behaviour

Critical Analysis - No evidence of analysis (i.e. an attempt to make sense of thoughts, perceptions and emotions)

Some evidence of critical thinking and analysis, describing own thought processes

Shows insight, seeing performance in relation to what might be expected of doctors

Self Awareness - No self awareness

Some self awareness, demonstrating openness & honesty about performance and some consideration of feelings generated

Consideration of the thoughts and feelings of others as well as him/herself

Evidence of Learning  - No evidence of learning( i.e. clarification of what needs to be learned & why)

Some evidence of learning, appropriately describing what needs to be learned, why & how.  Uses a range of sources to clarify thoughts & feelings

Good evidence of learning, with critical assessment, prioritisation and planning of learning

8. Other issues to consider when looking at the e-portfolio:

1. Educators Notes. These may contain extra, miscellaneous information that may be pertinent to the ARCP decision taken.

2. Assessments. These include: WPBA assessment tools, naturally occurring evidence (Audits; SEAs; Journal Clubs; Projects; Research; Log Entries), PDP, MSF,PSQ.  Consider issues such as:

  • Quality of ES/CS feedback; is it addressed in the learning log?
  • Is the PDP SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timebound (rather than a repeat of the log); have any of the outcomes been achieved?
  • Are the assessments spread evenly over the training period; what grade was the assessor; are there a range of assessors (particularly in hospital posts); do the tick boxes match the free text?

3. Achievements.  See the learning log entries for items such as courses, certificates and e-learning.

4. Learning log.  Consider the below points:

  • Check that the learner has a mix of personal reflective learning, such as clinical encounters as well as formal teaching sessions (see learning log recommendations)
  • Clinical encounters. Are trainees learning from their patients? Will the learning plan address the identified needs? Are the curriculum areas highlighted the correct ones? (If the learner has wrongly linked curriculum areas then you will need to go to curriculum coverage and look at the linked log entries, particularly for areas where there are few entries, in order to ensure that those that are there are accurate).
  • Do the log entries go beyond simple description and into reflection and developing learning needs and action plans for achieving these?
  • Has the Educational Supervisor commented on the trainee’s entries? Do they promote learning?
  • Professional conversations.  Any highlighted problems, including any interventions that may have been from the Programme Directors?
  • Note that the school of primary care has recommended a minimum number of learning log entries. Trainees who have not achieved this recommendations will need further panel discussion to consider if there is either evidence of failing to progress in one or more competencies, or if there is insufficient evidence to judge progress (Outcome 5). Note, that failure to have met the learning log recommendations is not in itself evidence of poor progress or engagement if the evidence for the relevant competencies can be found elsewhere in the eportfolio.

5. Clinical Supervisor’s report.  Are there any concerns not picked up by the Educational Supervisor?

6. Are there any other concerns [apparent to you] that have not been picked up elsewhere?

7. Check there is eportfolio evidence of learning for all posts, especially short posts (under 3 months, but at least 2 months long). Suitable evidence would be some WPBAs and entries within the learning log.


9. Information for Panel Chairs 

The panel chair will lead all discussions where there is disagreement about the panel outcome and/or where an unsatisfactory outcome is being considered. The chair will normally be the APD for Assessment, or another APD in his absence. For Stage 1 panels, the chair will normally be the Programme APD. The chair who has been involved in the original panel discussion will sign off the ARCP form electronically after it has been prepared by the GP Support Manager.

The overall regulations for GP Speciality training can be found in the Reference Guide for Postgraduate Specialty training in the UK (the Gold Guide)


If there are any questions about this guide or the ARCP Panel process, then please contact the APD for Assessment 


10. Panel Assessment criteria

Appendix A RCGP eportfolio Assessment Process and Panel Criteria 

 [KM(ESW1]Update link with JE email address.