ARCPs for GP Trainees

Table of Contents

What is the ARCP panel?

Who sits on a panel and what happens?

What is an out-of-sync panel?

What are the possible outcomes of a panel?

Who needs to attend a face to face review and what happens?

What happens if I have a prolonged absence from training?

Quality Assurance of previous ARCP panels

Certificate of Completion of Training

Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR)


Appeals Procedure

What is the ARCP panel?

The ARCP panel seeks to confirm that all GP trainees undertaking specialist training are progressing satisfactorily. Specifically, that trainees are developing the required competencies and skills at the expected rate and that the necessary evidence to support progression is present. A review needs to take place at least once every 12 months.. Timings of reviews are different for less than full time (LTFT) trainees and those out-of-sync due to prolonged leave.


Address: Health Education England working across the South West, Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education, Plumer House, Tailyour Road, Crownhill, Plymouth, PL6 5DH.

Please note: Due to Coronavirus, ARCP panels will be taking place virtually until further notice. Please contact if you have any queries.

Who sits on a panel and what happens?

There are two large ARCP panels each summer in June and July. They consist of two stages. Stage 1 consists of the screen review where the ePortfolio is assessed by the ARCP panel members: the panel Chair who is a GP Associate Postgraduate Dean, and two panel members who will be either GP TPDs or Educational Supervisors. The progress of each trainee is assessed exclusively by the evidence present in the eportfolio and no other documentation is considered. Stage 2 consists of the face-to-face ARCP panel consisting of the same panel members. Trainees considered by the stage 1 panel to be progressing satisfactorily will be signed off by the stage 2 panel Chair. Those portfolios which are thought to need more scrutiny are examined further, with a final outcome given and the trainee called to meet the panel face-to-face.

The panel will assess and feedback regarding the quality of the Educational Supervisor's report (ESR).

  • For general information about panels and the assessment process, see the Gold Guide.
  • For detailed information about the process of ARCP panels, the assessment and feedback of ESRs, and the pre-panel screening criteria see the Guide to ARCP panels
  • For learning and discussion points to further aid decision making see the ARCP Panel Chair Guide
  • To prepare for you ARCP please read: information about how to prepare for a panel.

Giving Feedback on Educational Supervisors’ Reports

Local Programme Screen Review panels will be looking at the quality of the ES Reports to give feedback to Educational Supervisors.

  • In cases where RCGP criteria are not met, feedback will be written on paper forms
  • Where the assessing pair at the stage 1 panel consider that the ESR is inadequate, the programme AD, or suitably experienced deputy, will scrutinise the ESR and write feedback
  • The APD will make sure to review the entirety of the ESR by looking at all four of the pages that the review is spread over. Don’t forget to check the Educators Notes section for additional information.
  • The APD will include constructive feedback about each of the criteria citing examples, particularly in areas that were found to need further development.
  • The aim of the feedback is to be helpful and supportive

The RCGP ESR criteria are as follows:

Needs Further Development Acceptable
a) The basis for judgements is not clear, i.e. they are not referenced to the evidence, i.e. they are not linked to evidence or there is a substantial lack of evidence to support the judgments made by the Educational Supervisor. Judgements are generally referenced to the available evidence
b) Where the judgements can be evaluated, they do not appear to be justifiable, i.e. where evidence has been cited for any judgments, the accuracy or robustness of the linked evidence is questionable. Judgements appear to be justifiable
c) Suggestions for trainee development are inadequate in number and/or quality. I.e. constructive suggestions for how the candidate might progress are lacking. Suggestions for trainee development are routinely made and appear to be appropriate

What is an out-of-sync panel?

Trainees whose training is out-of-sync with others due to being less than full time (LTFT), or having had maternity or other special leave, are assessed at out-of-sync panels. These panels have three panel members attending, and consist of two stages. Stage 1 is the screen review when each panel member reviews the eportfolio online. Stage 2 is the face-to-face ARCP panel when trainees are called to attend their ARCP in person, if required. Out-of-sync panels occur once a month except in June and July.

What are the possible outcomes of a panel?

Outcome 1 - Satisfactory Progress - Achieving progress and the development of competences at the expected rate

Outcome 2 - Unsatisfactory Progress - Development of specific competences required – additional training time not required

Outcome 3 - Unsatisfactory Progress - Inadequate progress by the trainee – additional training time required

Outcome 4 - Released from training programme with or without specific competences

Outcome 5 - Insufficient evidence presented – additional training time may be required

Outcome 6 - Gained all required competences; will be recommended as having completed the training programme and for award for a certificate of completion of training (CCT)

Who needs to attend a face-to-face review and what happens?

Whilst ARCP screen reviews take place in the absence of the trainee concerned, if you are judged to have an outcome 2 (need to acquire additional skills), outcome 3 (need extended training) or outcome 4 (be required to leave the training programme) the panel will meet with you in person to outline its decision face-to-face and to detail the remedial action required (if appropriate). See guidance about training requirements during extensions.

If a trainee is required to attend a panel in person, they will be given one week's notice. 

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:

Not Acceptable Acceptable Excellent (in addition to acceptable)
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

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

  • Quality of 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?
  • How long did the tools take to complete; 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:

  • Ensure the learner has a mix of personal reflective learning, such as clinical encounters as well as formal teaching sessions (see Appendix C)
  • 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 HEE has recommended a minimum number of learning log entries (Appendix C). Trainees who have not achieved these 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.

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 screen reviews, the Chair will normal 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 Programme Coordinator.

Further information about decision-making in panels can be found in the ARCP Panel Chair Guide which contains information produced by the Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education assessment leads group.

The overall regulations for GP Specialty 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


Appendix A

School of Primary Care ESR Feedback


What happens if I have a prolonged absence from training?

The RCGP has guidelines which may require you to undertake further training if you are absent for more than 12 months due to maternity/paternity leave or illness. Please contact us if you think this will affect you.

Quality Assurance of previous ARCP panels

There are a number of processes to monitor and improve the quality of the ARCP process and associated educational supervision and work place based assessment within HEESW.

At least annually, following completion of ARCP panels, the process is reviewed internally with recommendations for changes.The RCGP provides external quality assurance. An RCGP external advisor sits in and observes at least one panel a year and produces a report. The RCGP also examines a sample of eportfolios centrally once a year to examine specific quality issues and provide comparative data.

Certificate of Completion of Training

For virtually all GP trainees the route to gaining your CCT is via the certification unit at the RCGP. All of the training programmes are fully approved, so all you need to do is satisfactorily complete your placements and pass the MRCGP assessments.

Your application for a CCT is automated and can be made simply by pressing a button on your eportfolio after you have signed off your final ARCP. More information is available on the RCGP website.

Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR)

Dealing with the RCGP can be quite daunting, particularly in the case of CEGPR applications - RCGP Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration. If you think that you will need to go down this route, you would probably be wise to contact a friendly local  Associate Postgraduate Dean for help early in the process, via your local training scheme office.

HEE is always keen to help its trainees with CEGPR applications, and the Head of School can also advise you if you run into a particularly thorny issue.

In particular it is worth knowing that:

The RCGP doesn’t accept electronic ARCP outcome forms – so you will need to get these printed off and authenticated.

CEGPR applications take quite a long time to process – so start your application well in advance of your anticipated date of completion of training.

Appeals Procedure

We sincerely hope you won't need to read this section!

The regulations regarding training assessments, supervision and the ARCP process are detailed in the Gold Guide. If you wish to appeal an ARCP decision, in the cases of outcomes 3 and 4, then you should do so in writing to the Postgraduate Dean, within 10 working days. The process that will be followed is detailed in the Gold Guide and you should study this carefully before embarking on the process.

Such situations are understandably stressful, and the School will do its best to provide you with support and advice from a member of its faculty unconnected with your case.