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The importance of Appraiser updates

16-April-2014 12:49
in General
by Suzannah Varma

It is important for appraisers, following their initial training, to continue their development as an appraiser, but why?

Initial appraiser training is 2 days following the RST guidelines but this is very intense and only so much can be covered in this short time. Someone new to appraisal is likely to need support and further training going into their first appraisals. New appraisers may pick up the more advanced skills on the job, but without a further development there is a risk these skills will not be sufficiently developed to provide an RO with full confidence in the outputs.

Conducting an appraisal requires skill. As such even an experienced appraiser, who doesn’t conduct appraisals regularly, can become rusty, or develop bad habits. Bad habits creep into everything we do (i.e. poor driving habits) so updates help to remind us of best practice. Regular training and checks ensure quality and consistency throughout the organisation which in turn provide the RO with the necessary assurance as to the quality of outputs and the judgements then made.

Guidelines have changed a lot since medical appraisal was first introduced and many people who were trained in the early days will not have been through the same training as those training now. As appraisals are conducted independently, without further training and assessment how can an organisation be sure that these appraisers are up to date? The guidelines have now stabilised so this is an ideal time to refresh skills and knowledge.

Things can also change within the organisation such administration systems, standards and expectations. Clearly it is important to communicate these to appraisers and in some cases appraisees, providing training where necessary.

It is now a requirement to review the revalidation process within organisations and within that the quality of appraisal outputs. These reviews may highlight weaknesses across an organisation which will need to be addressed.

So how do we best provide continued support?

In some cases follow up work and training can be done in house. In the example of the newly trained appraiser they could be paired with a more experienced appraiser as a buddy or mentor.

To ensure consistency across an organisation and to communicate to all appraisers, appraiser groups can be established. These sessions can be used for appraisers to share experiences, discuss areas of difficulty, identify training needs and draw on the knowledge of more experienced appraisers. Organisations can use these to communicate information to appraisers, monitor engagement of appraisers through attendance records and contribution and address gaps in training.

External training is also invaluable for addressing issues and share national updates, address organisation wide skills gaps and knowledge, provide assessment and quality checking as well as training and guidance on best practice. External training could include:


  • new appraiser training to current appraisers who are out of practice or are less confident;
  • top-up training to those who need to increase their number of training hours to come into line with RST guidelines and update appraisers on national training;
  • master classes which look specifically at more advanced skills which are only touched upon in new appraiser training;
  • and also bespoke training to cover specific training needs and be in line with your own organisational processes and guidelines.

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