Employment and student status

Trainees have a dual status as postgraduate students and NHS employees. Their formal title is “trainee clinical psychologist”.  Trainees have a contract of employment with Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust as well as being registered as full-time University of Exeter postgraduate students. Trainees receive a salary at the end of each month, and travelling expenses are paid from the placement base in host Trusts. On successful completion of the programme, trainees are awarded a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) which confers eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as a clinical psychologist in the UK. All trainees are required to complete the full programme of training in order to qualify.

The programme director is the overall line manager for trainees, although this function is normally devolved to the trainee’s appraiser for routine matters. The Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust Human Resources Department will provide advice about NHS employment issues. 

Trainees have a full-time contract. Trainees are normally expected to be in attendance at the university on those days set aside for academic work, and on those days will play a full part in the life of the college, as well as attending those sessions specially scheduled for the programme. This also means not scheduling placement-related activities on those days.

In a similar way, trainees are normally expected to be in full attendance at their current placement base (or elsewhere as negotiated and required by the current placement supervisor) on the days set aside for supervised placement work.

Termination of Employment

Where a trainee terminates their employment or has their employment terminated, they will be required to withdraw from the training programme and will not be in a position to complete their training.

Professional Practice and Capability Procedures

The CEDAR programmes are generally involved in some partnership arrangement with NHS organisations, which raises some particular issues concerning procedures for capability or fitness to study or practice. In the case of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, all trainees are employed by Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust and their employment is dependent on their being on the training programme. Programme failure results in termination of employment. This is the most direct link among the CEDAR programmes of training status and employment, but other programmes have some similar issues.

The University procedures:

1. Exeter University, Health and Wellbeing and Fitness to Study procedure

2. Exeter university fitness to practise

3. In addition it has procedures for dealing with plagiarism and other aspects of academic dishonesty


Taunton and Somerset Procedures:

Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust has a Capability Procedure which deals with some similar issues. Details can be found in the Taunton and Somerset Sick, Annual and Other Leave Policy section of this handbook.

Other trusts will have their own Capability procedures.


Mapping the procedures:

Each of these procedures may be triggered by concerns about a student’s progress or behaviour. The table below shows how each procedure can be linked or understood at the various levels of concern. The level 1 University Health and Wellbeing and fitness to study procedure and the Taunton and Somerset “informal monitoring” level in the Capability procedure are formally identical, and may only differ in the content of the meetings. 


Level of concern

Fitness to Study

Taunton & Somerset

Fitness to Practise

Academic failure

Lowest level

Level 1

Meeting with appraiser.

“Informal monitoring” (meeting with appraiser)

No equivalent stage.

No equivalent.

Medium level

Level 2

Meeting could include Programme Director and other relevant university personnel.

Stage 1

Meet with Programme Director as line manager and Human Resources informed.

College Stage:

Triggered if concern was a breach of professional ode or University regulations or academic failure.

One fail or clinical referral will result in a letter to HR and notification to the College Board of Examiners.

Stage 2 HR attend with PD

High level

Level 3. Meeting will include relevant university personnel as laid down in the TQA manual.

Stage 3:

Meeting with Human Resources and a more senior manager with authority to dismiss.

University stage:

Triggered if concern was a breach of professional code or University regulations or academic failure.

Two fails or clinical referral will result in a letter to HR and notification to the College Board of Examiner