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The process for assessing and confirming the progress of specialty registrars is known as the Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP).

Assessment of progress through specialty training is carried out by the ARCP panel which reviews the registrar's evidence for this progress.

‘Progress' means the continued acquisition of public health learning outcomes throughout training. Evidence for this is demonstrated by the passing of FPH examinations and successful in-work and real-time assessments of competencies.

The ARCP panel provides a formal process which uses the evidence gathered by the registrars relating to their progress. It is normally undertaken annually for all registrars and it enables the registrar, the Postgraduate Dean and employers to document that competencies required are being gained at an appropriate rate and through appropriate experience.

All assessments must be consistent with the requirements of The Gold Guide'

The ARCP also provides a formal process whereby more specific and targeted help can be provided for registrars who are experiencing difficulty. In these cases the panel can recommend, for example, additional training time, a period of focused training or that training be repeated in a particular area of work. Occasionally, after other forms of support have not proved successful, it may be concluded that public health is not the specialty in which an individual is most suited and training should be discontinued.

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ARCP panel

The public health ARCP panel will normally consist of the following:

  • Faculty Adviser or Deputy.
  • Training Programme Director or Deputy.
  • Representation from Academic Department.
  • Chair of the Regional Specialist Training Committee /Education and Training Committee.
  • External Assessor.
  • Lay member.
  • Representative of the Post Graduate Medical Dean.
  • Health Protection Specialist.

The Role of the ARCP panel

The ARCP panel has two objectives:

  • To consider and approve the adequacy of the evidence and documentation provided by the registrar,
  • provided that adequate documentation has been presented, to make a judgement about the registrar’s suitability to progress to the next stage of training or confirm training has been satisfactorily been completed.

Quality Monitoring of ARCP Panels

ARCP Panels are subject to external assessment by the appropriate regulator. The Faculty of Public Health's (FPH) involvement is outlined here.

Joint AoMRC and COPMED/COGPED Training Advisory Group (JACTAG) have also produced a document which provides guidance and models of external advice.

Completion of Training

The ARCP panel also determines whether a registrar has completed training satisfactorily and makes a recommendation to FPH for the issue of a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

This is then referred onwards to the General Medical Council (GMC) or the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) that make the ultimate decisions.

Training Programme Directors receive key information on the quality of placements and the training programme from registrars in order to monitor and deliver high quality training. To assist in this process registrars are asked to complete the Training Programme Feedback Form on completion of each placement and return it as directed by their Training Programme Director. This information will be used to improve the standards of training via Deanery quality management and quality control processes. Further information about the purpose and use of the forms can be found in the. Guidance on Use.

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Documentation needed for an ARCP Review

Registrars are required to provide a portfolio of evidence to reflect what they have been doing and the learning outcomes that have achieved during the period for which they are being assessed.

Registrars are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the detailed generic guidance in section 7 of the Gold Guide. Registrars should present the documents listed in Section 1 of the FPH Guidance for Creating and maintaining a Professional Learning Portfolio for their ARCP.

FPH has developed an electronic portfolio to help with the collation of evidence that contributes to the ARCP process.

Standard documentation which is considered by the ARCP panel at each review include the following documents:

  • Updated Registration Form R.
  • Conditions for joining training.
  • Training record form.
  • Supporting letters.
  • Summary forms form previous educational and annual review (ARCP).
  • Annual learning agreement.
  • Learning outcome sign off sheets.
  • Workplace assessment forms.
  • Educational supervisor report.
  • Academic Supervisor report.
  • Form 4.

These documents should be circulated at least two weeks prior to the ARCP panel members convene. The panel will review the evidence provided and reach a view about a registrar’s progress in training.

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ARCP outcomes

There are a number of forms used in the ARCP process.

The ARCP forms are a generic document for all specialties as set out in The Gold Guide

Instructions for completion are incorporated within the forms themselves. Completed originals of these forms will be held by the Postgraduate Dean along with the forms for all the other specialties. Copies are required by the FPH Education and Training department as part of the evidence needed to recommend the award of the CCT on completion of training.

Note: some Deaneries have produced their own versions of these forms. Check with the regional training administrator for copies of these forms.

Recommended Outcomes from ARCP Review Panel

The panel can recommend one of the following outcomes for each registrar:

  • ARCP 1 - Satisfactory progress - achieving competencies at an expected rate.
  • ARCP 2 - Development of specific competencies required - additional training time not required.
  • ARCP 3 - Inadequate progress by the trainee - additional training time required.
  • ARCP 4 - Released from training programme with or without specified competencies.
  • ARCP 5 - Incomplete evidence presented - additional training time may be required.
  • ARCP 6 - Recommendation for completion of training - gained all required competencies; will be recommended as having completed the training programme and for award of a CCT or CESR.
  • ARCP 7 - Outcome for fixed-term specialty trainee (FTSTAs) or LATs.
  • ARCP 8 - Out of programme for research, approved clinical training or a career break (OOPR/OOPT/OOPC).
  • ARCP 9 - Outcome for doctors undertaking top-up training in a training post.

ARCP Form [word]

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A registrar has a right to appeal if he/she receives an outcome resulting in a recommendation for:

  • an extension of the indicative time to complete the training programme, or
  • to leave the training programme with identified competencies achieved, but without completion of the programme.

Appeals should be made in writing to the Postgraduate Dean within 10 working days of the registrar being notified of the panel’s decision.

For more information regarding ARCP process please refer to the Department of Health’s A Guide to Specialty Training in the UK - The Gold Guide.

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