Guidance on supporting information for appraisal and revalidation

Meeting our revalidation requirements: overarching principles

11 Annual appraisal: Appraisal is a key part of revalidation. It should be developmental and assurance focused, and is not a pass or fail exercise. You must participate in appraisal every year unless there are clear and reasonable mitigating circumstances that prevent you from doing so. For example, you might not have had an appraisal one year because you were on maternity leave or long term sickness absence. Providing there are clear and reasonable mitigating circumstances, we do not require you to ‘catch up’ on appraisals and you do not have to complete five appraisals to revalidate. You should discuss and agree this with your responsible officer before any period of prolonged absence, or as soon as you know how long you are going to be away from work.

12 An appraisal can be used for a variety of other legitimate reasons, and not just for revalidation.* This guidance sets out our requirements for your appraisal for revalidation, as opposed to other local appraisal guidance requirements at the organisation where you work.

13 Whole scope of practice: You must declare all the places you have worked and the roles you have carried out as a doctor since your last appraisal. It’s important you identify your whole scope of practice so you can make sure your supporting information covers all aspects of your work over the revalidation cycle.

14 The range of supporting information you must collect, reflect on and discuss at appraisal will depend on your scope of practice and the type of work you do. Your supporting information must cover any work you do in:

a clinical roles

b non-clinical roles such as educational, research, academic, managerial or leadership roles

NHS, independent sector, voluntary and private work.

15 Quality not quantity: It is important that your supporting information covers your whole scope of practice, is of sufficient quality to support your learning and development, and helps you reflect to identify areas for improvement and strengths in your practice. We do not set a minimum or maximum quantity of supporting information you must collect, but advise against collecting multiple examples that demonstrate reflection and learning of the same skills.

16 Proportionality: You should consider what evidence demonstrates your strengths as well as areas of your practice that may benefit from further development. You do not need to submit every available piece of evidence for each type of supporting information. You should choose clear examples within each supporting information category in line with the requirements in this guidance. You should also choose examples based on their ability to generate meaningful reflection and discussion during your appraisal meetings. You must be able to explain to your appraiser, if asked, why you have chosen the evidence.

17 Reflection: Appraisal is a supportive and developmental forum, giving you the opportunity to reflect on your professional practice over the past year. Reflecting on both positive and critical experiences and being supported to reflect, is important for your wellbeing and development. Reflecting on your supporting information and what it says about your practice will help you improve the quality of care you give your patients and the services you provide as a doctor. You will not meet our requirements by simply collecting the required information. Ongoing reflection on your practice is central to revalidation and should form part of the preparation for your appraisal. Your appraiser can facilitate further reflection, as needed, but it is your responsibility to demonstrate examples of your reflective practice. 

18 Your reflective notes do not need to capture full details of an experience, they should focus on the learning identified and any planned actions arising from your reflections. The reflective practitioner includes guidance on approaches to reflection, demonstrating reflection and anonymising information.

19 Focus on learning: At your appraisal you must discuss with your appraiser the changes you have made or plan to make, and any areas of good practice you intend to maintain or build on as a result of your reflections on your supporting information and appraisal discussion. We do not require you to document the detail of every event. You should focus on what you have learned and what changes you need or want to make.

20 Link to improvement and development planning: Reflection supports your development and continuous learning, and will help you to identify improvements you can make to your practice. You must consider the learning needs and opportunities identified through the appraisal process in discussion with your appraiser, and agree how this feeds into your personal development plan and continuing professional development activities for the following year.

* For example, to maintain status on the national performers list.