Lay representatives

Why do we have lay representatives?

Lay representation in the governance of healthcare organisations and their professional bodies is now well-established, facilitating wider appreciation of the public interest, stronger external oversight, and greater public assurance. 

Lay representatives act as a ‘critical friend’, contribute experience from outside the professional group, and provide an external, non-medical perspective to the decision making process. Lay representatives have supported the development and delivery of MRCP(UK) examinations to test the knowledge and skills of doctors in training both in the UK and around the world, since 2004.

“The public have only a hazy idea of the examinations doctors take, but they know that they are vital in ensuring that the care they receive is safe and of the highest possible quality. My role is to provide non-medical input with a particular interest in promoting sensitivity to patient needs and fairness to all candidates in the planning and delivery of the examinations.” 

Dr David Steel, lay member, MRCP(UK) Management and Policy Board

What’s involved? 

Lay representatives are full members of their respective boards and committees. They actively participate in their work and other projects between meetings. The roles vary between the boards, but the main responsibility is to promote the viewpoint of the general public and the patient in the development of the MRCP(UK) examinations, by contributing to discussions about strategy, policy, and academic issues. 

Lay representatives are members of the following boards and committees:

  • MRCP(UK) Management & Policy Board (MaP)
  • MRCP(UK) Academic, Quality Management & Research Committee (AQMRC)
  • Clinical Examining Board (CEB)
  • Scenario Editorial Committee (SEC)
  • Station 5 Steering Group 
  • Specialty Certificate Examination (SCE) Steering Group
  • MRCP(UK) Standards Annual Review Group (MSARG)

Lay representatives are key members when hearing panels are established for appeals and misconduct, and also act as an independent adjudicator for appeals regarding the outcome of misconduct cases.  

Who are our current lay representatives? 

Lay representative Board
Dr David Steel    MRCP(UK) Management and Policy Board and AQMRC   
Mr Phil Bunnell MRCP(UK) Management and Policy Board
Ms Alexis Taylor AQMRC
Mr Alan White Specialty Certificate Examination (SCE) Steering Group and Clincial Examining Board/Scenario Editorial Committee
Mr Norman Mackey  Station 5 Sterring Group
On rotation MRCP(UK) Standards Annual Review Group

How can I get involved?

We are looking for people who have an interest in education and assessment to take an independent overview and promote the viewpoint of the general public, and the patient in the development of the MRCP(UK) Examinations.

All of the vacancies are advertised on the MRCP(UK) and Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board (JRCPTB) websites and through the three Colleges (eg via the Royal College of Physicians Patient and Carer Network, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh Lay Advisory Committee, and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow Lay Advisory Board) and Specialist Societies.

Applicants provide a CV and cover letter which are considered by the relevant Board Chair and policy team. You can also send an expression of interest to the policy team, which we will keep on file and contact you when suitable vacancies arise.

What support is available?

MRCP(UK) aims to have two lay representatives on each Board and Committee to ensure representation at all meetings, for peer support, and to ensure continuity with overlap in the terms of office.

New members will be invited to an induction session and provided with a guidance document. Access to equality and diversity training will also be provided. From 2018 we will be setting up a regular forum to provide an opportunity for the lay representatives to discuss common issues and share ideas across their different areas of work. 

Support is available to lay representatives from the relevant Board Chair and the MRCP(UK) secretariat and there are opportunities for two-way feedback.

How much time will it take?

Lay representatives are appointed for three years and the time commitment varies according to the role, and some meetings rotate around the three Colleges (London, Edinburgh and Glasgow) with the opportunity to attend via videoconference. Members of:

  • Management and Policy Board are required to attend five half-day meetings per year;
  • Academic Quality Management and Research Committee are required to attend four half-day meetings per year;
  • SCE Steering Group & MRCP(UK) Standards Annual Review Group are required to attend one half day meeting per year;
  • Clinical Examining Board (CEB) & Scenario Editorial Committee (SEC) are required to attend three two-day meetings per year (CEB and SEC meet on consecutive days);
  • Station 5 Steering Group are required to attend three half-day meetings per year.

How can I find out more?

To find out more about the governance of MRCP(UK)’s examinations please click here.

For details about the role of each Board and Committee please click here.

Please contact the policy team on 020 3075 1645 or via policy.officer@mrcpuk.org to discuss the roles informally.