Appraisal system

Trainees join the DClinPsy programme with differing strengths, abilities, levels of expertise and career goals. Appraisal is an opportunity for trainees to meet with a member of the team to review their progress through the programme, so that their individual goals and different styles are understood and, if possible, are accommodated.

Trainees will be allocated to an appraiser (always a member of the programme staff team) at the beginning of the programme. Where possible, the same programme team member will remain the appraiser throughout the duration of training.

For appraisals to work well, it is important for the appraisal tutor and trainee to develop a good working relationship. A collaborative and open-minded approach and thoughtful approach to confidentiality and liaison are likely to be helpful. If problems arise, the appraisal tutor and/or trainee should speak to the programme director in the first instance. If the appraiser is the programme director, the trainee should approach another member of the senior management team.

Appraisals are indicated on the timetable. 

Two formal appraisals take place every year. The Gateway Appraisals typically occur in September and involve the trainee, the trainee’s appraiser, and his/her clinical tutors and research supervisor. These appraisal meetings occur to make recommendations of progression into the next year to the Board of Examiners. These annual meetings cover evidence-based competency across the three domains and include clinical material, programme team feedback and academic/research record. Additionally, trainees also meet with their appraisers half way through each academic year, typically in May or June. Specific materials to be produced are discussed at the mid-year appraisal. An appraisal checklist is completed by the trainee in advance of the appraisal meeting and emailed to the appraiser. This forms the basis for the discussion, alongside anything arising from the points below. Finally, in addition to these two yearly formal appraisals, trainees are welcome to contact and meet their appraiser at other times if and when needed.

Rationale and Aims

The appraisal system has several specific functions:

  • Delegated Line Management. The programme director is formally the trainee’s line manager; however, this function is delegated to the appraiser for all routine matters and the trainee’s first point of contact for all management issues should be their appraiser. Trainees would normally be expected to approach their appraiser for a reference on completion of the programme when applying for posts.
  • Developmental / formative. The core function of the appraisal system is to support and develop trainees’ personal and professional development. It aims to provide a formal, structured opportunity for trainees to reflect on their experience of the teaching, supervised clinical practice, assessment and learning across the programme as a whole and consider their personal and professional development needs. It aims to encourage trainees to engage in self-appraisal – especially recognising and building on strengths and identifying, accepting and working on areas of weakness. Trainees are encouraged to identify and clarify learning goals for academic, clinical and research work. Trainees are then encouraged to consider how they might achieve these goals. This process would normally include being able to recognise the limits of their competence, work within these limits and make use of others to support their learning and professional development. In later stages of training, the appraisal system aims to help trainees develop their career plans and to think about how to integrate their basic training with continuing professional development.
  • Pastoral. The appraisal system aims to provide individualised practical and emotional support with programme related issues. Often these issues can be appropriately discussed in the context of appraisal. If not, the appraisal tutor and trainee should discuss a suitable alternative individual with whom to work on these issues.
  • Advocacy. The appraiser would advocate on behalf of the trainee when needed within the programme.

The appraisal Appraisal Self Assessment Form for Trainees  is used to provide a framework for the appraisal. Trainees are required to complete this form for their Spring appraisal meeting, not their September appraisal meeting.

Responsibility for the Appraisal Process

Role of the Trainee.

  1. Negotiate confidentiality
  2. Disclose to appraiser any pre-existing or acquired health issue, either mental (psychological) or physical, that may impact on their learning or capacity to carry out their role on placement, see the university’s Fitness to Practise Guidelines  and Health Professions Council Standards of conduct Performance and ethics .
  3. Prepare for the meeting by reviewing supervision notes, tutorial notes and formative feedback (i.e., feedback on assessed work and clinical placements).
  4. Generate goals, work towards goals, and review progress, using others in support of learning and professional development
  5. Make notes of each appraisal meeting and e-mail these to the appraisal tutor, who will then place them in the trainee’s file, not later than two weeks following the meeting. These notes are essential information for clinical tutors. If the appraisal tutor and trainee negotiate that an aspect of the appraisal is to be confidential, the e-mailed notes would not include reference to this aspect.
  6. For appraisals in the later stages of the programme, make plans for continuing professional development

Role of the Appraiser.

  1. Prepare for the meeting by reviewing the trainee’s file.
  2. For the first appraisal, this would involve reading any relevant material from the trainee's application.
  3. For subsequent appraisals this would normally include reading relevant formative feedback on academic, clinical and research assignments and assessments, pre-placement contracts, notes of the mid-placement visit and any other relevant notes. If necessary, liaise with the clinical tutor, academic tutor, research supervisor or other members of staff, as appropriate
  4. Read trainee’s portfolio of clinical activity and supervisor’s evaluation and provide formative feedback on trainee’s performance on placement.
  5. Provide constructive feedback about the trainee’s performance in the programme.
  6. Act as referee for trainee’s employment applications.