Recruiting paediatricians - Advisory Appointments Committees

​Anyone hiring a paediatrician to provide an NHS service has to organise a special interview panel, an Advisory Appointments Committee (AAC), if they are recruiting a consultant or a specialty doctor. This explains the role of the RCPCH and College rep, with a full guide for employers, employees and participants available to download.

The RCPCH is strongly advising those recruiting to the paediatric workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic to use videoconferencing to allow candidates, College Assessors or any other person joining interviews to participate.

About AACs

When Parliament set up this system, they agreed an AAC should include a representative from the relevant Medical Royal College. For paediatricians, the college responsible for this is the RCPCH.

We provide support to any NHS interview for a non-training doctor post in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. We also support a similar system, the External Adviser Scheme, in Scotland.

What does the College representative add?

The College rep provides quality assurance of shortlisted doctors for NHS patients and for NHS service providers when they are employing doctors.  They give an external view on the adequacy and the level of suitability of the candidates interviewed for the specific job advertised.

This is to safeguard both the NHS service provider making the recruitment, and the patients the doctor will see. It is for any post with clinical practice, even if the majority of the workload will be academic, administrative or other non-clinical.

The system also enables:

  • checking the appointee is qualified to train doctors for the future
  • tracking increasing or decreasing medical workforce numbers in the UK
  • tracking increases or decreases in different types of jobs across the UK and in different regions
  • tracking where it may be difficult for NHS service providers to attract new recruits.

Our role

We deal with around 450 AAC cases a year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and have been helping Scotland since 2010. During peak times in late June/early July and late November/early December we have up to 60 enquiries a week. We have provided guidance for anyone involved in this process including NHS services' HR staff, managers and recruiting clinicians.

We hold two assessor training days a year to give the latest training to new and experienced reps.

Our guide

This document, available to download below, is relevant to:

  • recruiting HR staff, senior management and clinical staff in employers providing NHS services
  • RCPCH Regional Leads and Subspecialty Advisory Committee members
  • convenors of College recognised Specialty Groups and Special Interest Groups
  • paediatricians providing external quality assurance of recruitment by NHS service providers
  • applicants for consultant grade or specialty doctor grade posts in NHS services.

Legislation and Government guidance

The links below will take you to the legislation setting out the Advisory Appointments Committees (AACs) system as well as the guidance from the Department of Health in England on how the process should be run that is followed in all countries of the UK.


To reach the AAC Team please email or call the College switchboard on 020 7092 6000.