An overview of the IACC


The STP final assessment, the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC 2023) assesses the trainee’s readiness to practise at the level of a newly-qualified, threshold Clinical Scientist in their specialty. Readiness to practise is defined by the HCPC as practitioners having the “skills, knowledge, character and health they need to practise their profession safely and effectively.” (HCPC, 2016, p11).

The IACC 2023 consists of two components:

  1. The trainee’s critical reflective narrative supported by evidence from the trainee’s e-portfolio. (Assessors will have access to trainees’ OneFile e-portfolios and are expected to focus on evidence that is cited within the narrative.)
  2. An interview (60 minutes), discussing the trainee’s critical reflective narrative (45 minutes), and two short unseen case based discussion scenarios (15 minutes).

Pass/ fail outcome

The assessment has a pass/fail outcome and is determined by the assessor panel after reviewing the two components of the assessment. Both the critical reflection and interview elements must normally be present and assessed for a provisional pass to be recommended.

Critical reflective narrative

The critical reflective narrative is submitted in advance of the interview. The narrative is:

  • 3,500 words (+/- 10%) excluding citations and the optional training plan
  • supported by evidence from the trainee’s portfolio
  • structured around the AHCS (2021) GSP domains plus a global statement
  • optional training plan (included as an annex)

The trainees are required to use the MS Word template we provide to help them structure their narrative. We are also recommending they use Driskoll’s Model of Reflection (2007): what?, so what?, now what? – as illustrated below.


As an assessor, you will have access to trainees’ OneFile portfolios to allow you to check and verify the evidence they have used in their reflective narrative. You are expected to focus on evidence that is cited.


The 60 minute interview is normally conducted under exam conditions and allows you to:

  • explore aspects of the narrative to confirm that the trainee demonstrates ‘readiness to practise’ in each GSP domain (AHCS, 2021) and the global statement (45 minutes)
  • to discuss the two unseen case based discussion scenarios (10 to 15 minutes)

Assessor panel

The IACC 2023 assessor panel comprises three specialist assessors, one of whom is appointed as the Lead Assessor. Click this link for information on the assessor panel responsibilities.

Conflicts of interest

The School endeavours to appoint assessors who are independent of the trainees being assessed and to ensure trainees are not assessed by their current or past training officer(s).

Trust and confidentiality

The School appreciates your commitment, support and facilitation of the IACC 2023. The School trusts you with the integrity and security of the assessments and that you will keep all aspects confidential.

You must not access, save or use any materials to which you have access other than for the assessment event for which they have been engaged. You are asked to destroy all assessment related materials at the end of the assessment process which is after the date of any possible Appeals Panel.

Marking the IACC

The IACC 2023 is designed to assess the trainee’s readiness to practise at the level of a newly qualified, threshold clinical scientist. The IACC is an integrated assessment and all elements contribute to the trainee outcome as assessed against the marking criteria.

Marking criteria

The published marking criteria provide concise and transparent criteria that are easy to apply, and which provide basic feedback which you can provide to each trainee as appropriate. Please note these have been reworded and restructured for 2023 and trainees must achieve a pass standard in these criteria to pass the IACC.

  • Critical reflection
  • Evidence
  • Analysis
  • Safe practice
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

As an assessor you are required to apply these marking criteria, which apply to both the critical reflective narrative and the interview components (narrative and unseen case-based discussion scenarios) in reaching your judgement and formulating your feedback.

Assessment outcome

As an assessor you must contribute to all aspects of assessing the trainees and agree a provisional pass/fail outcome and feedback for each trainee. Click this link for guidance on crafting the required assessor feedback comments.

The assessment process

Assessing the IACC involves three stages:

  1. Preparation; the IACC critical reflective narrative and preparing for the interview
  2. Interviewing the trainee
  3. Agreeing the outcome and feedback

Each of these stages is explained in detail in this guidance.


Quality assurance


The School, as part of its quality assurance and enhancement process, observes 20% of interviews in each specialty being assessed.

Observers view both the interview and assessor panel deliberations for the selected sample. They report on quality aspects of the assessment process through standard online forms. Observers are not visible during the assessment and do not take an active part in the interview or deliberations and have no influence over the assessment outcome.

Ten percent of the assessments will be observed by external service user representatives who receive training. The external observers do not have access to the trainee’s reflective narrative or their evidence.

Ten percent of the assessments will be observed by senior School staff including Training Programme Directors and members of the assessment team.

A report, synthesising the observation reports is considered by the Examination Boards.

Incident reporting

Anyone involved in the IACC assessment process can raise an incident report if they feel that something has occurred that could have an impact on the trainee outcome. Incident reports can be raised by assessors, trainees, invigilators, observers or any member of the NSHCS. The scope of incident reporting has broadened to include all parts of the process from the provision of user access to the assessment system and OneFile up until the Exam Boards. The incident reports form will be available from 13th June to 3rd August 2023.

Examples of incidents include, but are not limited to:

  • failure to receive system log in details
  • technical issues accessing the online systems
  • not being able to access the trainee submissions and evidence
  • technical and administrative issues accessing the interview resulting in a participant being unable to continue the interview
  • technical difficulties

Reporting an incident

Where an incident occurs an incident report maybe created by the trainee, assessors, observers or members of the School. All incident reports will be considered by the relevant Examination Board. The incident report will be a brief statement that describes the issue, any remedy or solution offered during the panel interview and any impact on the assessment process. Incident Reports should be submitted via the online incident reporting form.