Ensuring Quality of Placements

Placements are audited prior to trainees arriving in placement setting.

A database entry is recorded for every supervisor or placement setting , which gives a record of the training of each supervisor, and shows that each service has appropriate induction policies for trainees.

A self-assessment tool is carried out with the placement provider/supervisor prior to the trainee going to the placement. The clinical tutor reviews this in order to report on any difficulties to ensure that the trainees enter safe and supportive environments when in a placement setting (Placement Provider Quality Assessment Document).

Minimum standards for supervisors/heads of services in providing a placement:

  • Confirmation in Trusts of the equality and diversity policies
  • Health and safety policies
  • Risk assessments
  • Supervision contract – feasibility on hours that supervisors work
  • Practical resources available for trainees
  • Lone working policy
  • Fitness to practice guidelines
  • Supervisor training undertaken

Continuing Evaluation of Placements

Placements are accredited as follows:

  1. Trust coordinators/ service heads identify supervisors whose qualifications meet the current criteria of the BPS Guidelines on Clinical Supervision Standards for Doctoral Programmes in Clinical Psychology, Clinical Supervision Guidance
  2. Liaison tutors/ clinical director/clinical tutor also ascertain through communication with the supervisor and head of service (and other service managers as required) that  minimum resources are available: a desk in (at least) a shared office with access to telephone and secretarial support.
  3. Individual supervisors are accredited through attendance at the pre-placement meeting or, when this is not possible, through receiving the relevant placement and supervision documentation, with, if necessary, a meeting or telephone contact with the clinical tutor or clinical director at which the placement procedures are outlined and documentation clarified.

Ongoing individual placement quality is monitored through clinical tutor observation and trainee and supervisor feedback at placement visits.

The trainee and each supervisor separately complete a placement audit form Placement Audit Form - Supervisor VersionPlacement Audit Form - Trainee Version. The programme collates placement audit data across placements in the Southwest annually.  Relevant data are forwarded for action as appropriate to individual supervisors and, where appropriate and with agreement, heads of service or specialism. Collective anonymised data are circulated to the Supervisors’ Committee and to trusts via heads of service and this information is also provided at contract management meetings, as appropriate. Additionally, after three months post completion of a placement, there will be an optional follow-up of individual supervisors and placements. The Trainee Feedback Form will be sent out requesting information which, after a period of 5 years will be collated and a feedback score given, directly, to supervisors. Trainee Feedback Form

If any urgent issue arises from this document, the Clinical Director and Clinical Tutor will address it by the creation of an action plan.

Managing Concerns About Quality of Care On Placement

We take any concerns very seriously that trainees may have about practice placements, placement providers and the services in which you train. We are aware of the role of Care Quality Commission monitoring in the quality of services and also of local procedures regarding serious untoward incidents or never events in placement providers. Trainees should orientate themselves to these policies and have awareness of any procedures that need to be followed.

Informal procedure - A trainee becoming aware of poor practice/behaviour should in the first instance establish if this can be dealt with informally, through direct challenge to the person concerned and should discuss their concerns with their placement supervisor and/or clinical tutor as appropriate.

Formal procedure – Some concerns may be considered so serious that informal action is deemed to be inappropriate and formal action must be taken. It is recognised that making a formal complaint is not easy, especially for a trainee in a relatively powerless position. It must be stressed however that taking no action, especially if the concerns relate to the safety or rights of service users, is in itself damaging and may constitute a breach of the HCPC Standards of Conduct Performance and Ethics.

Principles of Action

  1. The person raising the concern should prepare a written report outlining the concerns and relevant dates. It would also be helpful, although not vital, if others who could corroborate the allegation were prepared to be identified at this stage. The trainee should seek the advice of their placement supervisor and/or clinical tutor in the preparation of this report.
  2. The report should then be submitted to the Clinical Director who will decide most appropriate course of action with the Programme Director.
  3. Where the concern relates to the practice placement, the head of service would be informed and it would be expected that the placement provider would use their own whistleblowing procedures reporting the findings and outcomes at the end of the process. If the University is satisfied that the service is fulfilling its responsibilities then the matter will rest there. Where this is not the case however, the University will take further action to fulfil its own responsibilities towards trainees (eg by withdrawing  trainees from that  setting and no longer using it as a suitable setting for practice learning) and to the public (eg by referring its concerns to the HCPC or other appropriate authority)
  4. Where the investigation identifies a breach of HCPC Standards of Education and Training in respect of Practice Learning (SET5), the University undertakes not to place trainees in this setting until the matter is resolved and the University can be assured of the quality of the practice and/or service provision in that setting. In such cases a full placement pre audit would be undertaken and the context/service assessed again for its suitability to provide trainee placements.
  5. In all cases the Clinical Director and Programme Director will be informed of the process and outcome of any investigation and, the person making the initial complaint will be informed of the outcome.

Please see the following link for additional information - Freedom to Speak Up Executive Summary


University of Exeter Regulations Regarding Placement

This link gives details of the University Regulations and Code of Practice for Placements both in the UK and overseas which you should find useful and read for your information .