AAC and job description review FAQs

This page answers questions you may have about:

Job Description Review

How does the JD review process work?

Here is how the JD review process works:

  • The recruiting organisation send the finalised job description to the AAC team.
  • The AAC team performs an initial review of the JD to ensure all required information is included. If this is satisfactory, the AAC team send the JD and prepared review form to the reviewer. If it is not, the AAC team will send the JD back to the recruiting organisation, with feedback on what is missing and/or requires review so it can be corrected; the recruiting organisation returns a revised copy, which is then sent on to the reviewer.
  • The reviewer reads and assesses the JD, completing the review form, which is sent back to the AAC Team.
  • If the reviewer has not approved the JD, the recruiting organisation is informed with the feedback from the reviewerso that the job description can be amended and sent for a second review.
  • When the reviewer approves the JD, the AAC team informs the recruiting organisation by sending an approval email which includes an AAC application form for the trust to fill out in order to begin the AAC process. 

For how long is JD approval valid?

Approval is valid for a 12 month period. This means you may advertise (and re-advertise, if necessary) for 12 months following receipt of the approval email from the RCR. 

If a JD's approval has just expired, what should I do?

The JD will need to be re-approved, so please send the JD document to aac@rcr.ac.uk and include the RCR JD reference number from the initial review. If it's been approved previously and there have not been any changes to it, please include this in your covering email, as this is likely to expedite the process. If it's been approved previously and it has been changed, please indicate what the changes are and on which pages they appear, so that the re-approval process is as efficient as possible. 

If there are major changes to a JD after it's approved, does it need to be reviewed again?

Yes, if there are major changes (such as changes to the PAs/job plan, the FT/LTFT status changes, the JD is majorly rewritten, etc.), it will need to be re-reviewed, so please send the revised document to aac@rcr.ac.uk, including the previous RCR JD reference number and the changes made. If you are not sure whether the changes are major, please contact the AAC team who can assist you.

If there are minor changes to a JD after it's approved, does it need to be reviewed again?

No, if there are minor changes (such as updates to current staff, equipment, etc.), the JD does not need to be re-reviewed. Please send an updated copy of the JD to the AAC team for our records, indicating the JD reference number. If you are not sure whether the changes are minor, please contact the AAC team who can assist you.

If I'm interested in becoming a Job Plan Advisor or Regional Specialty Advisor, who do I contact?

To register your interest in becoming a Job Plan advisor, please click here.

For further information on becoming an RSA, please click here for CR and here for CO.

Can I seek a second opinion and/or declare a conflict of interest when reviewing a job description?

Yes, forward the request for a second opinion to the AAC team who will re-direct the job description to another Job Plan Adviser.

Advisory Appointments Committees

What is an AAC?

An Advisory Appointments Committee (AAC) is an interview panel for a consultant or a specialty doctor in an NHS trust or UHB. Each Medical Royal College must nominate independent representatives from their membership to sit on NHS interviews within their specialty for non-training doctor posts in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Why is the AAC needed?

This system provides quality assurance of shortlisted doctors for NHS patients and for NHS trusts and UHBs when they are employing doctors. The system also lets the RCR do the following:

  • check that the appointee is qualified to train doctors for the future
  • track increasing or decreasing numbers of doctors
  • track increases or decreases in different types of posts
  • track where it may be difficult for NHS Trusts to attract new recruits

How do I get a list of potential reps for an upcoming AAC?

First, please check that the job description which the AAC panel is regarding has valid/current approval. If it has not been approved, start by sending it in for review to aac@rcr.ac.uk. If the approval is not within the last 12 months, please click here for next steps.

If the JD has been approved within the last 12 months, please complete and return the AAC application form to aac@rcr.ac.uk. Please ensure ALL FIELDS have been completed, as incomplete submissions may be sent back and cause delays in the process. If a field is not applicable to your panel, please enter "n/a". Once received, the AAC team will prepare a list of suitable reps and send it to you. 

Does my panel require a rep with the same subspecialty? Or can it be a general rep?

There are several CR subspecialties which require that the RCR AAC rep subspecialise in the same area as the panel's post: breast, interventional, paediatric, and neuroradiology. So, for example, if the panel is regarding an interventional radiology post, the AAC rep will need to subspecialise in interventional radiology in order to sit on the panel. If your panel is regarding any of these subspecialties, please be in touch as early as possible, as it can take additional time to find a suitable rep. 

If the post(s) your panel is interviewing are for CR subspecialties not mentioned above, or if it is a general post, then the AAC rep is not required to subspecialise in the same field, and a general rep may sit on the panel.

Can I contact a representative from a previous list sent by the RCR?

No - this is because rep availability is often highly specific, e.g. day of the week, morning vs afternoon, specific subspecialties, etc. 

I'm having trouble accessing the list sent by the AAC team...

The password often will not work if it is copied and pasted; please try typing in the password. If you continue to have trouble accessing the list, the issue is usually pop-up blockers on your system. Please consult with your IT department for assistance with this; or, if you can see the blockers appearing, click 'open' or 'allow'.

None of the representatives on the list sent by the AAC team is available - what should I do next?

Contact the AAC team so that we can send you an additional list and/or further options.

Can the recruiting organisation source their own representative? (i.e. not on the RCR list)

Yes, you are welcome to arrange your own representative, provided the person is external to the recruiting organisation, fits the criteria below and is registered as an AAC rep. If they are not yet registered as a representative, the AAC team can guide them through the process, which is quick and easy. Please contact the AAC team to confirm that the person you have confirmed is suitable and registered. 

What is the process to become an AAC representative? Does it take long?

It's quick and easy to become an AAC representative and we are always looking to increase the pool of registered representatives. The criteria for an AAC rep are as follows: 

  • Be a current Fellow of the College 
  • Have held a substantive consultant post in the NHS for at least two years and still be in active practice (or within six months of retirement)
  • Have the capacity to attend AACs at least twice a year
  • Have received appropriate training in fair and non-discriminatory interviewing and selection techniques and in the application of equal opportunities legislation within the previous three years (available online from the RCR)
  • Have a keen interest in maintaining high professional standards nationally
  • Be willing and able to express an impartial opinion on the relative merits of each candidate as requested by the panel chair

If you fulfill the above criteria, please watch the AAC training webinars (approximate viewing time is 15 minutes) found here. Next, complete the appropriate registration form: Clinical Oncology or Clinical Radiology. The AAC team will send you a confirmation email once your application form has been processed.

I’ve agreed to represent the RCR at an AAC, what happens next?

The trust should inform the AAC team, who will prepare and send you an outcome form, along with the RCR guidance for AAC representatives. Please complete and return the outcome form within two weeks of the panel, as the RCR monitors the outcome of AAC panels. 

I’m representing the College at an AAC and have realised that I know one of the candidates.  What do I do?

You can still represent the College at the AAC.  However, you should declare the interest at the start of the interviews and take care not to show any bias when that candidate is discussed.

There is no indication of CCT date or of Specialist Registration on an application – how can I check this?

Contact the AAC team by e-mailing aac@rcr.ac.uk with your request. We can look up the expected CCT date in RCR records or, if the candidate is not a UK trainee, we can look up the GMC List of Registered Medical Practitioners.

If an applicant is applying for CESR, how does this affect appointment?

Doctors can be interviewed and appointed to a post pending specialist registration. CCT trainees can be interviewed and appointed to a substantive consultant post within six months of their end of training pending their subsequent specialist registration. By that point in a CCT training programme, the end of training date and consequent specialist registration is fairly fixed. The situation is not the same when applying for a CESR.

If the doctor is making a straightforward CR CESR application or CO CESR application, it isn’t possible to assure that they will be in receipt of their CESR by a certain date. The application might not be successful, and in any event, the timing will depend on when they made or make their CESR application to the GMC.  

While those in this position can be interviewed in advance of obtaining it, applying for a CESR can be a lengthy process and success not guaranteed; this should be taken into account when deciding whether to interview for and/or offer a substantive consultant post to someone not yet on the specialist register, in terms of a potential start date and how long the offer remains open.  If, for example, the CESR application has already been sent to the RCR for an evaluation or if the doctor has received notification from the GMC that it is about to be, this would narrow down the time scope for a decision, however it still wouldn’t guarantee success. Taking this into account when deciding whether to interview and/or offer a substantive consultant post to someone not yet on the specialist register is sensible, however ultimately it is up to the shortlisting panel to decide whether an interview should be offered depending on the applicant’s particular circumstances.