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Annual review of competency progression

Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP) is the means by which doctors in postgraduate training are reviewed each year to ensure that they are offering safe, quality patient care, and to assess their progression against standards set down in the curriculum for their training programme. It is also the means by which their full scope of work review is undertaken to satisfy revalidation requirements.

We have conducted a major, year-long review of appraisal and assessment, aiming to improve training for doctors. The review followed feedback from trainees that the process was stressful, burdensome and did not always provide them with the support or feedback they needed. It found that the process was applied inconsistently depending on geography or specialty. In addition to reviewing the process, it was also an opportunity to draw out where processes are working most effectively and to spread this good practice.

Following extensive engagement with trainees, the Royal Colleges, GMC, Educational Supervisors, amongst others, and a call for evidence, our resulting report recommended changes to improve the assessment experience.


  • Make the process more uniform across the country, with assessment requirements that do not change during the training year, ensuring that trainees and those who support them know what they have to do to prepare for their ARCP, how the process itself will work and what feedback and support they can expect, whether they work full time or part time.
  • Make it easier for trainees to temporarily come out of their training, for example to undertake research or for family reasons, and then restart training without losing credit for skills already gained.
  • Development for doctors not in formal training to enable progression within the profession, and enhanced support for those doctors who are preparing to re-enter training after time out.
  • Ensure every doctor in training gets feedback on their training, clarifing the support around doctors in training and the role of educational supervisors and ensuring trainers have sufficient time and training to deliver.
  • Apply the principles established through the review about high quality appraisal and assessment to benefit other healthcare professionals who wish to train to expand their skills and scope of practice as part of multi-disciplinary teams.

The recommendations support the delivery of safe, high quality patient care, by promoting greater support and career development to healthcare professionals.

They emphasise that training should be flexible and support those who wish to take time out for research, voluntary work or for family or other reasons.

Next steps

We will start work immediately with our colleagues across the system to look at the educational supervision roles.

Further changes to the process will take longer and we will work with the system to make sure this happens.

The review is part of our partnership work with other national bodies to enhance the working lives of doctors in training by making sure they have access to high quality learning environments so that they feel supported, valued, and provided with the means to become competent and versatile clinicians, integrated into multi-professional teams.

View our short and simple animated and written guides on how the ARCP process should work in England

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