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Advisory Appointments Committee

Advisory Appointments Committee

In this section you can find guidance relating to the The Royal College of Emergency Medicine's role in the local appointment of Consultants, via the Advisory Appointments Committee (AAC) process. In addition to the College’s statutory responsibilities which are outlined below, the AAC process forms an important part of the College’s commitment to maintaining and developing high professional standards in Emergency Medicine.

AAC Information for College Assessors


College Assessors

The College maintains a list of assessors who are eligible and willing to serve on consultant post AACs. To become a College assessor you must meet the following criteria:

  • Assessors must have been working in a substantive consultant post for at least five years
  • Assessors must be a Fellow of the College in good-standing
  • Assessors must have received training in fair and non-discriminatory interview and selection techniques and have received appropriate training in the application of equal opportunities legislation to appointments procedures in line with the Equal Opportunities Commission and Commission for Racial Equality Codes of Practice
  • Assessors must be working in active practice.

In addition to these criteria assessors must not work for the employing NHS Trust. Ideally, assessors would be working in a neighbouring Region.

College Assessors Application form

The College requires many assessors in each region and is currently recruiting. If you would like to become a College Assessor and feel that you meet the above criteria please download an application form and return it to the College via

If you meet all the criteria, you will be added to the College assessor database. (Please note you must be logged in to download).

AAC Process

When the College is asked to provide an assessor the College will provide the employer with a list of potential names, asking them to contact the assessors directly. The employer should contact the first assessor on the list, only contacting the next assessor if the first is unable to serve. The College will not notify assessors when their name has been short-listed. The shortlist sent to the employer is compiled bearing in mind the following factors:

  • Proximity to the employing hospital/Trust (The College will provide names from a neighbouring region, if that is not possible or practical then names will be provided from the same region but geographically distant from the employing Trust)
  • The frequency with which assessors have been short-listed before
  • The frequency with which assessors have been selected before.

The College aims to ensure that requests for assessors will be divided as evenly as possible between the College assessors. The employer will then contact the assessors. If you are contacted and agree to serve on an AAC please notify the College AAC administrator. The employer should send you all the details regarding the job description, short-listing of candidates and the interview.

The College will send you the latest version of the College advice for assessors together with a report on the AAC for you to complete and return. If you have any query regarding the AAC process that is not answered in the advice document please contact the Registrar via the AAC administrator.

View the stages in the AAC process.

All assessors should be familiar with the College guidance and The National Health Service (Appointment of Consultants) Regulations: Good Practice Guidance. (January 2005)

Wales & Northern Ireland

Guidance for College assessors is as outlined for England.


External advisors are consultants working in Scotland that have been nominated by one of the Royal Colleges and Faculties that make up the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland (Scottish Academy). The Scottish Academy is responsible for managing a list of appropriately trained external advisors and organising an available external advisor for each consultant appointment panel, on request from the recruiting Health Board. External advisors should not be approached directly by a recruiting health board to sit on appointment committees; all such requests should come from the Scottish Academy. The standard term for an external advisor is four years and during that time external advisors should expect to be involved in approximately three panels per year. Contact:

AAC Information for Medical Staffing


Job plan

The standard full time job plan comprises 10 Professional Activities (PAs), which should typically include an individual average of 7.5 PAs (30 Hours) for direct clinical care and 2.5 PAs (10 Hours) for supporting professional activities. The College and Academy strongly advocate that each new EM Consultant full time post should average PAs of 7.5 DCC / 2.5 SPA.

Supporting Professional Activities in Consultant Job Planning (SPAs)

Stages in the AAC process

View the stages in the AAC process.

Job description approval

The principal role of the College Regional Chair (CRC) is to consider whether the post described represents a satisfactory Consultant post in the local circumstances of the Trust. Early contact with the Medical Director of the Trust is likely to be helpful in resolving concerns.

It is the Trust’s responsibility for drawing up the job description and should send to the AAC administrator in the first instance so they can assign an RCEM AAC three digit reference. The Trust should seek to respond positively to feedback from the CRC but there is no imperative for the Trust to amend the job description in the light of the CRC’s comments.

Once agreement has been reached on the job description, it should not be changed nor challenged at the AAC by any member of the Committee unless an obvious error has been made and incorrect information given to candidates, or if it appears that it could lead to unlawful indirect discrimination. The College recommends that approval should be granted for a period of one year, assuming no changes are made to the job description during that time. If changes are made, then they should be submitted for approval again.

The final version of the job description should be sent to the CRC for information and copied to the College AAC administrator.

After the job description has been agreed you should send the final version of the job description to the Chair of the Regional Board and copy to the College AAC administrator.

A CRC should not approve Consultant posts within their own Trusts as this may incur a conflict of interest. Should a CRC be requested to do so, they should contact the College AAC administrator who can elect a different CRC to approve the post.

Approvals of job descriptions are valid for 12 months. Please note that locum consultant appointments of less than 6 months initial duration are exempt from the AAC process. Certain other persons are also exempt from the AAC process. These persons are outlined in Annex D of The NHS (Appointment of Consultants) Regulations: Good Practice Guidance (January 2005). Please contact the College AAC administrator should you require your Chair’s contact details.

College assessors for consultant AACs

Please note that the College currently does not provide external assessors for non-consultant post AACs.

When the job description for the post has been approved you should contact the College AAC administrator for a list of potential external assessors at least 6 weeks prior to the interview date. When contacting the College please provide the following information:

  • Quote the RCEM AAC three digit reference assigned to the job description by the College in the first instance
  • The title of the post(s) including any sub-specialty interest
  • The number of posts being recruited
  • State whether each post is a new or a replacement position
  • The date of the interview
  • A copy of the approved job description and letter of approval from the CRA if you have not already done so.

The College AAC administrator will provide you with at least six names of consultants in Emergency Medicine that have been approved by the College to act as external assessors and who are located in neighbouring regions. The College will aim to provide the list within five working days of confirming receipt of the request.

It is important to note that College Assessors are not permitted to sit on AAC committee panels for their own Trust due to conflict of interest. Also, all non foundation Trusts must have a College Assessor present otherwise the panel will not be able to proceed.

AAC Outcome Form

Once you have selected a College representative to act as external assessor please contact the College AAC Administrator with the name of the chosen assessor before the interview. The College will then contact the assessor with the latest College guidance. The College regards the AAC process as an important component of maintaining and improving standards of practice in Emergency Medicine, and in planning for the workforce of the future. The College would be grateful if Medical Staffing teams could complete and return a short report on the outcome of each AAC once known.

Foundation Trusts

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine is keen to work with Foundation Trusts in accordance with the Concordat between the Royal Colleges and the Foundation Trust Network.

Wales & Northern Ireland

College assessors are provided as outlined for England.


Consultant appointments in Scotland are governed by the National Health Service (Appointment of Consultants) (Scotland) Regulations 2009. This legislation provides for a single external advisor from the specialty on each consultant appointment panel. The external advisor must not be employed within the health board area that the appointment is being made in. The external advisor is involved in the consultant recruitment process as a full panel member and is required to provide comment on the job description, and take part in short-listing and interviews. External advisors are used on panels for honorary consultant and specialty doctor posts if requested by a recruiting health board or university; however this is not required by law. Contact:

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