Retired examiners

We recognise that during the pandemic there is increased pressure on the availability of examiners due to clinical commitments, a backlog of assessments and exams to be carried out, and changes to assessment that require larger pools of examiners.

Our standards allow suitable retired examiners to be appointed without needing to be registered with a licence to practice. You can read more about this in Excellence by design.

Our standards allow Colleges to determine the nature, role and responsibilities of assessors and examiners. This includes deciding whether individuals must be licensed or on the specialist register, which might include recency of practice.

In Designing and maintaining postgraduate assessment programmes (p35), we say that colleges should define:

  • 'what professional expertise is needed for in each assessment and when or if particular training is required. This should not unduly restrict the range of assessors that can be used, but where particular professional qualifications, experience, credibility or training is necessary, this should be clear'.

The guidance also refers to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges' Requirements for examiners and assessors, developed with our endorsement in 2014. Although this guidance refers to examiners who still have their licence to practise but no longer practise, it's not an absolute requirement of our standards.

Some areas that you should consider are:

  • Do they have recent practise relevant to the area being examined?
  • Do they have the right training for the role? Not only relating to the assessment itself, but also equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Do they have the time and opportunity to familiarise themselves with the standards?
  • Will their marking be to the same standard as the pool of regular examiners?

If you have any queries please contact