Faculty Programme Review


Building on the Faculty Annual Submission and Review Model project conducted in 2018, we undertook a wider review of the Faculty programme in March – September 2019.  We then discussed our findings and recommendations with RPS members and stakeholders before seeking approval from the RPS Assembly in November 2019.

Read the Faculty Review Report

The review explores how the RPS supports pharmacists with professional development, credentialing and recognition of advanced practice. It examines all Faculty processes and member requirements.

Throughout 2018 we reviewed the Faculty submission and review process as the first cohort of Faculty members and Fellow were due to submit their second submission.

We conducted focus groups between August 2018 and January 2019 with Faculty members and Fellows.

Read the Annual Submission and Review Model for Faculty

This does not affect existing Faculty post-nominals, nor will it affect any portfolio work you have submitted or are preparing to submit.

Thank you for your involvement and commitment to RPS Faculty to date and to those who have contributed to the review of the annual submission process.

If you'd like to comment on proposals, contact us at [email protected] and we'll add you to the RPS Faculty Review Wider Reference Group email group.

What next for Advanced Practice?

We have taken the proposed recommendations from the Faculty Review Task and Finish Group to all the national RPS boards, a number of stakeholders and the Faculty wider reference group for feedback. They have now been considered by Assembly (the overarching RPS governance body) and have been approved.

The recommendations that have been approved include a new credentialing service for pharmacists undertaking patient facing roles at an advanced level of practice. This will be a prospective service to assess pharmacists undertaking advanced level roles or looking to work at an advanced level.  This will give them, their employers and patients the assurance they are working at an advanced level. 

It is proposed that we will credential advanced pharmacist practitioners to the equivalent of Advanced Stage II within the Advanced Pharmacy Framework (APF). We will be offering a similar service to credential pharmacists at a consultant level of practice.

We will be maintaining a more streamlined Faculty service that will offer retrospective recognition of a members achievements in their practice no matter what sector they work in. 

There will not be a resubmission model. A specification for the new Faculty service is being developed.

It is proposed that current Faculty fellows working in non-patient facing roles will retain their post-nominals. We hope RPS members will be able to apply for this recognition service if they feel they are at Mastery level in the Advanced Pharmacy Framework (APF). 

We anticipate that the recognition process will be a lot less onerous.

If you are currently working in a non-patient facing role and are working at an advanced stage 2 level we can support you to self-assess your development using the APF and work towards fellowship recognition.

During the Faculty Review and the discussions held with colleagues during the Faculty Annual Submissions and Review focus groups in 2018 we have heard from non-patient facing pharmacists and have considered their views carefully.

We needed to explore further whether a credentialing service in advanced practice would meet a need and add value for RPS members working in non-patient facing roles. 

Academic colleagues have told us that they tend to follow the Fellowship route offered by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) as a means of supporting their career and professional development in that sector.

We have also heard from colleagues working in the pharmaceutical industry that the motivation to complete Faculty has been from an individual basis and is not a career progression requirement. Indeed, one company is operating its own ‘fellowship’ scheme.

Therefore, we would like to explore the options of dual recognition of existing pathways. For example, if you identify academia as your primary area of practice then we could offer dual recognition if you have or will be undertaking the Higher Education Academy Fellowship. We also are discussing this option with the pharmaceutical company that offers a fellowship scheme.

We have also spoken with the London Chief Pharmacist network about the proposal of both the new patient facing credentialing service and a streamlined Faculty service and have received positive feedback about the proposals. 

I am a current Faculty member due to resubmit their portfolio - what do I need to do?

At this moment you do not need to do anything; you will not lose your post-nominals. You will keep your post-nominals until the recommendations have been operationalised and clear instructions will be given to allow you to have adequate time for your next steps.

If you have any additional questions, further information can be found below, including details of what was discussed in each meeting held by the Faculty Review Task and Finish Group and FAQs.

Alternatively, email questions to [email protected].


1. Why did we review Faculty?
The purpose of Faculty needs clarifying, and the process for submission and the assessment could be more streamlined and clearer. Those are the views of existing Faculty members and members of the consultant pharmacist network, consulted about an Annual Support and Submission model for Faculty.
2. How will the legacy of the existing Faculty service be managed?
We’ll recommend how to transition from the current Faculty to the new service and how we can map people across. 
3. How will revalidation be linked to the new Faculty service?
We anticipate CPD entries written in your RPS portfolio and mapped to the Advanced Pharmacy Framework (APF) can still be submitted for revalidation. At the moment you need to copy entries from your RPS portfolio into your MyGPhC account, but in future these will be linked and entries will transfer automatically.
4. Are you discussing with the GPhC whether Faculty members will be exempt from revalidation requirements?
This is not something the GPhC are considering at the moment. You still have to complete all your revalidation records even if you have completed Faculty. 
5. Are you keeping post-nominals?
This is being considered, but they must be understandable and meaningful to all. One possibility is a change to advanced practitioner, which is more explicit. Or we could continue to use the existing post-nominals with advanced practitioner or consultant in brackets.
6. Will the new Faculty service be open to non-pharmacists?
Faculty is only open to pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, and we expect this to continue. However, we would like to streamline the service and give a more targeted approach to some sectors while remaining flexible. Individuals working in the healthcare sector may need a different model to those working in non-patient facing roles but one which still recognises advanced practice.
7. The Current Faculty and Advanced Pharmacy Framework (APF) requires specialist practice across many areas, however advancing tends to mean specialising in a small number of areas; how will this be handled?
A reviewed assessment will be part of the new credentialing service. The APF has not been part of our review as it is well used, recognising core levels of advanced practice and then recognising the individual’s specialist practice area is being considered. These will be advanced practitioners who also have specialist expertise.
8. How could you engage employers to use Faculty as part of recruitment? 
Having spoken with employers across hospital, community and primary care practice areas they have asked for a credentialing service to demonstrate individuals’ capabilities and provide assurance. However, the challenge is in areas where it is difficult to recruit staff.  Asking for Faculty as an essential criteria in job descriptions might restrict an employer’s ability to recruit staff. We need to balance the employers finding the right staff and potential employees being able to demonstrate their skills and provide assurance. The new model should address both issues.
Employers struggling to retain staff could be helped to retain them through a credentialing programme within their service.
9. How often will a Faculty resubmission be required? And will it require a whole new portfolio?
We have to be practical about resubmission and will not require a whole new portfolio. One option is to use revalidation records: if these reflect your level of practice, they could become a self declaration of maintaining advanced level practice. The other option is an annual appraisal or personal development review process (where these exist) with an employer or nominated responsible person signing-off an advanced level of practice. This needs to be practical but also maintain standards. 
10. My Faculty resubmission is overdue; what do I need to do to resubmit? 
We are currently reviewing Faculty, so your post-nominals are safe. You can still submit evidence to achieve recognition of a higher level of advanced practice using the current model. 
11. Will the new Faculty model recognise practice at a European/International level? Will I get bonus points for working at this level?
We need to consider the impact the work being done at a European/International level is having on the individuals practice. There are no plans for bonus points – the assessment process will be consistent and fair across sectors and geographies. 
12. When will the first round of credentialing to happen?
Approval will be sought from the RPS Assembly in November 2019 and we would aim to implement during 2020. 
The Faculty Review Task and Finish group needs to be completed by September. The recommendations paper will be written and revised in September. The new service’s specification will also need be drafted. Transition periods will need to be taken into account as we move from Faculty to a new service.  This may need to be approached on a case by case basis
13. How will you recognise specialist practice? 
A model of credentialing core advanced practice is being considered. We would then work with other royal colleges and specialist groups to recognise and credential specialist advanced practice.
14. Will there still be an annual fee to pay?
This will be reviewed as part of the specification for the new service and be considered by RPS assembly. We will let you know as soon as we can.
15. What will happen to any portfolios on the RPS website now?
Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to access previous portfolios on the RPS website.

First Meeting First Meeting

First meeting of the Faculty Review Group

The Faculty Review Group met for the first time on March 22 2019 to discuss how the Faculty review would work and the purpose of the Faculty programme.

Short presentations on this subject included;

  • How the Faculty operates now – including current numbers engaged and completing their portfolio
  • The Faculty Annual Submission Model Review - work with Faculty focus groups
  • Initial Faculty Findings – research into engagement, recognition and perceptions of the value of Faculty
  • Direction of travel for pharmacy services including education and training of pharmacists - healthcare and education policy drivers.

In future, we'll be meeting monthly, both in person and virtually, to suggest recommendations for Faculty before September.

Second Meeting Second Meeting

Second meeting of the Faculty Review Group

Options for defining the purpose of Faculty.

The main focus of the second meeting was to distil down further the future primary purpose of Faculty following on from the first meeting.

We considered the primary purpose of similar services offered by other Royal Colleges and organisations as this supports formulating options for defining the future purpose of Faculty.

The models that were considered were:

  1. Higher Education Academy Fellowship
  2. Royal College of General Practitioners membership (Membership by Assessment of Performance (MAP)
  3. Royal College of Physicians membership (MRCP(UK)
  4. Royal College of Emergency Medicine – Associate Membership (ACP and RHP)
  5. Royal College of Nursing – Credentialing Service
  6. Health Education England Academy of Advancing Practice (This approach was recently out to consultation)

These Royal Colleges/organisations offer different models that relate to recognising and/or assessing advanced practice in other professions. 

Options for defining the purpose of Faculty were generated based on these models and we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each.

We also agreed success criteria (with weighted scoring) for measuring each option against.

Members of the Task & Finish Group are now scoring each option. We will then collate the scores and present preferred a preferred option(s).

Third Meeting Third Meeting

Third Meeting of the Faculty Review Group

Faculty Review Task & Finish Group Meeting held on 22 May 2019

Refining the options for defining the purpose of Faculty and reviewing the Faculty process

We continued to explore what the following terms mean for the pharmacy profession:

  • Credentialing
  • Advanced practice
  • Specialist 
  • Generalist.

We had valuable input from group members from the perspective of: 

  • Other professions (medicine and nursing)
  • The different nations (England, Scotland and Wales) 
  • Different sectors of practice.

We agreed it was the right time to now make links to the process and what needs to be considered, to help further clarify the purpose. 

Recommendations from the Faculty Annual Review project conducted last year were described and this informed an energetic brain storm of what we need to consider for a streamlined accessible service.

Next steps:

  • At the next meeting (28 June 2019) we will continue to review the process RPS uses to support members with their Advanced Practice
  • We will be drafting a paper of initial recommendations to go out for consultation to the Faculty Review Wider Reference Group in July
  • We will be running a workshop at the next Hospital Expert Advisory Group and meeting employers and members to discuss their views. 

Fourth Meeting Fourth Meeting

Fourth Meeting of the Faculty Review Group

Faculty Review Task & Finish Group Webinar held on 28 June 2019

Reviewing the Underpinning Operating Principles for the Faculty process

We had a useful discussion about the underpinning operating principles/process that will be fundamental to deliver and govern a re-engineered Faculty service. Discussions centred around which ones to prioritise and how to take into consideration interdependencies such as revalidation.

Alignment of these principles across Scotland, England and Wales is vital, we will be inviting our national colleagues to provide an update on advanced practice developments at a future meeting of the Faculty Review Task & Finish Group.

We provided an update from stakeholder engagement undertaken with the Hospital Expert Advisory Group (HEAG) and the Community Pharmacy Workforce Development Group; the key themes that emerged were employers would like a Faculty service which assesses capability and assurance of level of practice as well as knowledge and skills. A Faculty service that is flexible depending on the individuals prior experience.

We will be drafting a paper of initial recommendations that outlines the options appraisal for defining the purpose of Faculty, the Task & Finish Group's preferred option and recommendations of principles/process that should underpin the service. We will be sending this out for comment and consultation to the Faculty Review Wider Reference Group towards the end of July.

Next Steps

  • Faculty Review Task & Finish Group Meeting (2 August 2019) we will be considering the assessment process
  • Continuing our stakeholder engagement with primary and secondary employers.

Fifth Meeting Fifth Meeting

Fifth Meeting of the Faculty Review Group 

The Faculty Review Task & Finish Group Meeting met for the fifth time on 2 August 2019

Considering assessment options for the Faculty process We began the meeting by sharing the sad news that our patient member Richard had died suddenly and unexpectedly a few weeks ago. We have passed our condolences onto Richard’s wife Julie and posthumously thank him for all the support and advice he gave us. 

Wales, Scotland and England updated us about their approach to advanced practice; it was agreed that we make the recommendations of the Task & Finish Group relevant across these nations. Indeed a UK wide approach to assessing and credentialing advanced practice was thought to be a sensible approach. This would need to consider infrastructure, quality assurance and employer/service buy in for it to be successful. 

We considered the evidence base on assessments from the Faculty Annual Support and Submission model project conducted in 2018 to see what feedback was given by current Faculty members; what they considered to be valuable and what could be improved. 

Using this and considering the underpinning principles of a credentialing service, Joseph Oakley (Head of Assessment and Credentialing at the RPS) then led on a stimulating and useful session on the principles of assessment. Much has been learned from the approach taken with Foundation Programme assessments (and the approach of other Royal Colleges). 

We thought dual credentialing will be key when considering advanced generalists who require specialist credentialing. However, consideration needs to be given about how this works for non-patient facing practitioners. 

We are drafting the Faculty Review Report that outlines the options appraisal for defining the purpose of Faculty, the Task & Finish Group's preferred option and recommendations of the general principles/process and also assessment principles that should underpin the service. We will be asking you for thoughts on the purpose and principles/process so we can feed these into the final Task & Finish Group meeting that will be integrating these elements into final recommendations that will go to the RPS national boards and Assembly over the coming months. 

Next Steps: 

  • At the next Faculty Review Task & Finish Group Meeting (28 August 2019) we will finalise the Faculty Review Report.

Sixth Meeting Sixth Meeting

Sixth Meeting of the Faculty Review Group

The Faculty Review Task & Finish Group Meeting met for the sixth time on 28 August 2019

The focus for the final Faculty Review Task & Finish Group webinar meeting was to discuss the main sections of the draft Faculty Review Report in order to ‘fine tune’ the recommendations about the primary purpose of the proposed new credentialing service, the general principles/process and also the assessment principles.

Members of the Task and Finish group gave an overview of the report and felt it was a fair reflection of the work completed over the last five months and would provide a foundation to build on. It was acknowledged that there will still be challenges in taking these proposals forward for the profession. However we would hope that the recommendations are seen as a positive development and that our support for advanced practice continues to evolve and adapt alongside developments in healthcare.

We are sending a copy of the draft executive summary to the Faculty Wider Reference group and inviting comments and thoughts, via email and webinars. These will be considered and incorporated into the final recommendations that will go to the RPS national boards and Assembly over the coming months.

Next Steps

  • Review of comments from members of the Wider Reference Group on the draft executive summary
  • Hosting webinars on the 18 and 20 September to discuss comments on the draft executive summary.