CSACs - guides and resources for committee members

The College Specialty Advisory Committees (CSACs) have an important role in supervising the development and delivery of sub-specialty training and the assessment standards. CSACs are sub-committees of our Training and Quality Board which helps the College set these standards within a training programme that is recognised by the GMC.


We have designed this CSAC Hub page to be a one-stop-shop for all our CSAC members, to signpost you to all our resources, templates and guidance documents for making your roles easier. The page will be continually updated to ensure it's relevance to you, so if you think it is missing something - please let us know!

Spotlight on... sharing best practice

Our plan for this space is to feature a CSAC, or a CSAC member, who is leading the way and doing something exceptional. This might include guidance - like this helpful supervisor guide from the PAIID CSAC (try the template below for your own CSAC - we're happy to help). Or new way of doing something, such as managing SPIN trainees or trainee shortlisting. For example, PGHAN have initiated a monthly ‘Friday at 5’ online Teams online meetings for trainee support which have been well received by trainees. This are the fantastic initiatives we want to hear about.

This is your space to share best practice! So, if you'd like your work showcased, or want to nominate a CSAC colleague - let us know at qualityandtrainingprojects@rcpch.ac.uk

CSAC handbook

Your guide to all things CSAC. Key timelines throughout the year, CSAC job descriptions, College information and more!

Download below

Meetings in 2024

The CSAC Chairs meet twice a year to set the agenda for the subsequent CSAC Assemblies, which all CSAC members are invited to attend. All meetings take place on Microsoft Teams and we send an invitation.

  • CSAC Chair Forum - 22 April 2024, 10:00-13:00
  • CSAC Assembly - 13 May 2024, 10:00-12:00
  • CSAC Chair Forum - 5 November 2024, 10:00-13:00
  • CSAC Assembly - 19 November 2024, 10:00-12:00

To raise an item for discussion at one of the above meetings, download the Agenda item request form below.

To arrange your individual CSAC meetings, contact your committee administrator.

Annual Feedback and Activity forms

Each year we run a process whereby CSACs submit a detailed annual report with a roundup of positives, negatives, risks and opportunities impacting their sub-specialty. Whilst this has been reviewed each year in the past, we want to make this into a clear quality improvement cycle.

In future we will follow this process:

  • CSACs will create and submit annual reviews in the new template - download CSAC annual feedback form template below.
  • The Training & Quality Board, as the senior committee of the CSACs, will review these reports and produce an action plan for them. Some actions will be owned by TQB, some will be directed back to CSACs and some will be owned by other bodies in the Education & Training Division.
  • The following year’s annual review will then address new issues but also note the completion of the actions set in the previous year’s action plan.

We want this to be a more impactful way of reliably addressing issues and ensuring that you feel connected to the Training & Quality Board as your reporting Board in your role as College committees.

Thank you to all CSACs who completed the annual feedback form for 2023. This is so important, as it allows us to identify how we can support you and the work we do more fully, especially as we approach the one-year anniversary of the implementation of Progress+. We are exploring the themes you raised and how we can work together to put some of your suggestions into practice. Download the CSAC annual quality report 2022-23 below

All CSAC members will soon be sent the activity form for 2024, which is where you can record the important workstreams you are working on as a CSAC, and what College support is required. This will help make the annual feedback form less onerous to complete when it is sent later in the summer, as you will have a record of what you have done - successes, and what needs further work.

You said, we did

You said: "Streamline the number of meetings throughout the year"

We did: We have merged multiple CSAC Assemblies into one bi-annual assembly, one in Spring and one in Autumn to ensure consistency. There is also a bi-annual CSAC Chairs meeting, and all the dates for these are listed above. The schedule is set for the CSAC Chairs to set the agenda for the upcoming CSAC Assembly.

The flow of meetings will remain the same each year, and we aim to have meetings scheduled for the year by the end of the preceding year to allow for diary management.

Download CSAC schedule of events 2024 below

You said: "CSAC commitments are extremely time consuming with increased meeting demands from various departments. It is enjoyable but it is voluntary, and members feel there is little recognition of this time commitment"

We did: We are currently undertaking research with members so we can develop best practice around volunteering. This includes how we recruit and welcome volunteers, how we value and develop volunteers, and how we best plan for volunteering. Read more about our research and have your say.

We are extremely grateful to all of our CSAC members for the work you do. An initiative we have taken within the Training and Quality team is to produce this CSAC webpage, so you have all resources and information available in one convenient place!

You said: "Improve chat functions in teams meetings as this means very few voices are heard"

We did: We have discovered that the lack of chat functionality was caused by the way meetings were scheduled from within the Teams app. When arranged on Outlook instead, the meeting still takes place on Teams, but the option to enable chat is now available. Additionally, Teams technology is constantly evolving, with the option to create break-out rooms more efficiently and allow for whiteboard collaboration within a meeting space.

We look forward to showcasing this at a meeting soon.

Resources about sub-specialty training

Annual quality review tracker - Outline the priorities and key tasks for your CSAC, who needs to be involved and how each task is progressing. This helps inform your annual feedback form and allow us to identify where we can best support you. The template has been uploaded to each CSAC Teams group so everyone can access it there, and your administrator can help you get started. Download CSAC annual review tracker template below

Download ePortfolio guidance for CSACs and for educational supervisors below - You can also signpost trainees to our ePortfolio guidance for doctors.

Progress+ - We provide FAQs and resources to support both trainers and trainees on the new curriculum.

Sub-specialty recruitment - You can see the recruitment dates and guidance for trainees here.

Changes to Portfolio Pathway evaluation - As of late 2023, Portfolio Pathway (previously CESR) applications will no longer have to demonstrate full equivalence to the CCT programme. This will make the process less onerous for CSACs reviewing evidence. You also have the option to meet as a panel with other CSAC members to assess together at the College. Contact training.services@rcpch.ac.uk for further information.

Capability based progression - This guidance is for paediatric trainees, their supervisors and Heads of School, and outlines when progression through the next gateway of training is appropriate.

Judging learning outcomes for ARCP - This helpful document helps you judge how well a trainee has achieved their capabilities for an ARCP Panel. ARCPs are set up by deaneries and carried out locally. Please see further guidance for supporting training

Moving between sub-specialties - grid 

Under Progress+, trainees are offered more flexibility to move between sub-specialties. This grid demonstrates how might work in practice. Trainees should discuss plans to move early so adequate support can be provided.


  • Green: many shared capabilities, application to move between training pathways is likely to be possible
  • Amber: some shared capabilities, application to move between training pathways may be possible
  • Grey: few shared capabilities, application to move between pathways is unlikely to be possible

Resources to support trainees

Managing allegations of bullying

We had an issue helpfully raised with us through one CSAC regarding CSAC involvement in cases of alleged bullying. These are naturally complicated situations, where the College and its CSACs will want to offer some support to trainees. It is however important to understand the difference between issues that are to do with quality of training, which the College has some delegated responsibility over from the GMC, and issues that are to do with employment, which the College should not become directly involved with. This is to try and protect both the College and individual CSAC members.

Issues of bullying have two broad factors – the situation for the individual as an employee, which would rest for resolution with the Health Board/Trust and/or the Deanery – and the impact on quality of training, which should concern both the College (which recommends certification for training) and the Deanery (which approves programmes and posts).

Trainees may understandably seek advice from members of the CSAC and may do so directly without involving the College team first. Allegations of bullying are often very complex, caused by multiple people in different services/circumstances. It is therefore impossible to give meaningful formal guidance that will apply to all cases. However, here are some important points to consider should this issue arise within your CSAC:

  • Request permission from the trainee to flag this with the College staff, explaining that staff will naturally be bound by rules of confidentiality. This will allow you to seek advice from staff throughout the process. Raise this with sufficiently senior staff members (Head of Department or above). The trainee’s right to confidentiality throughout must be managed sensitively.
  • Understand what processes the trainee has already used to address the allegation of bullying. Have they reviewed their local hospital policy on bullying and harassment? Have they raised the allegation through the Health Board/Trust’s staff support service? Have they raised the allegation with their Deanery (usually through the Training Programme Director or Head of School)? The Health/Board Trust and the Deanery act as employers and they should be the primary focus for trainees wanting to address active bullying and trainees should be encouraged to use these channels primarily.
  • Note longer-term considerations about the appropriateness of placing trainees at a site which has been flagged for bullying. Ideally, if the trainee is raising this with the Deanery, the CSAC can seek clarity from the Head of School that training implications for the site have been considered as part of this process. This may include pausing the placing of trainees at the site. Any considerations for sub-specialty trainees are likely to be applicable to non-sub-specialty trainees in the same placement; therefore liaison with the Head of School is recommended.
  • Understand if there are consequences for the trainee’s own training progression and understand whether additional training time is required.
  • Seek advice from the College's Training & Quality staff team and through the clinical leads on the Training & Quality Board throughout.
  • If in the unlikely situation you are called to testify into an investigation on bullying led by the Health Board/Trust, reach out to the Director of Education & Training who can work with the College’s Head of Governance to ensure you are suitably prepared. It is important to understand that when cases reach this stage, they may bring with them legal liability for both the College and the individual CSAC member.
Supporting less than full time trainees

See our guidance on supporting less than full time trainees. This includes statutory and RCPCH guidance, as well as contacts for LTFT trainees.

Resources for supporting neurodiversity - coming soon!

New resources from the College coming soon!

In the meantime, take a look these helpful resources for neurodiversity recommended by HEE, as well as our blog with trainees' experiences of neurodiversity.

Resources for all College volunteers

Claiming expenses - Claim reimbursement for College activities using our online system

Register of interests - Record conflicts of interest using our online form to ensure that personal circumstances that might compromise the ability to be seen as acting correctly are properly disclosed. Forms will be held securely for 6 years in line with the College’s retention schedule. If your conflicts change, you can update them at any time by submitting a new form.

Resources and programmes about the paediatric workforce

Thrive Paediatrics - This College programme aims to improve the working lives of paediatricians. It recognises the many multi-layered, multifaceted challenges that the workforce is facing and identifies the need for change. Read more, get involved and signpost colleagues and trainees to the many resources to aid wellbeing.

Workforce information and planning - The College plays a key role in workforce planning to ensure there is an appropriately trained paediatric medical workforce to deliver safe and sustainable services for children in the UK - in the present and in the future. View reports, infographics, and our toolkit which guides consultant paediatricians in the NHS from preparation for the first job planning meeting, through to objective setting and review, plus information on leave and alternative working patterns.

The list of CSACs

Each CSAC has an individual CSAC page as well as a subspecialty information page that hosts the curriculum documents. Here is a list of all the CSAC pages that have the contact details for each CSAC member.