The APC process was recently redrafted, so read on to find out what's changed

The APC process and candidate's guide underwent a redraft in December 2008: the new draft is available to download from the RICS website. The candidate's guide has always been focused on the RICS world regions (which includes the UK) and the updated guide therefore caters for all variants of the RICS APC process around the world. However, this does mean that the candidate guide may in places not focus solely on the recent changes in the RICS UK APC process, so this article will briefly guide you through the recent changes.

This article relates to graduate routes one, two and three and adaptation one candidates only.

Let me lead you through the changes that have happened in the past few months culminating in a redraft of the RICS APC candidate's guide in December 2008.

Minimum training timescales

The APC process structured training minimum time scales have been changed as follows:

  • Graduate route one – 400 days in a minimum of 23 months
  • Graduate route two – 200 days in a minimum of 11 months.

The guide previously stated a minimum of 400 days in a minimum of 24 months for route one. This has been reworded not because there has been a change in timescales but because the 23-month issue has always been a concern in the APC process since the tightened-up application and submission dates were launched a while ago.

In the past if a candidate enrolled to start the APC right at the end of the six-monthly enrolment periods (see then by the time the minimum training period had been achieved (which was previously noted as a minimum of 24 months) the submission date could actually fall in the 23rd month of training. Ultimately, though, the candidate would be assessed in their 25th month of training, which would mean they have achieved 24 months' training as a minimum but having only to submit 23 months worth of documented experience.

I hope that makes sense! I think it is important not to get too caught up on this. It is better to focus on achieving the competency experience, however long it may take. Don't forget there is no point going forward for your final assessment at month 23 just because you can, if you cannot demonstrate sufficient competency experience.

A parallel situation applies to graduate route two, but in this case the period has been shortened to 11 months from 12 months.

Formal record of achievement (previously interim and final assessment reports)

In the past the RICS required, at month 12, (the earliest halfway point for a graduate route one candidate) the candidate, supervisor and counsellor to undertake a formal interim assessment along with its associated reporting and the completion of various templates, namely templates six, seven and eight, which would then be provided as evidence at the final assessment stage.

The interim assessment milestone has now been removed and replaced with a more regular quarterly (three-monthly) milestone. The 12-month meeting is still required and fits neatly into the quarterly milestones and is identical to that done every six months with the supervisor and counsellor present as suggested in the RICS APC guides.

The need to write a summary report and future training plan at the interim assessment stage and another summary report at the final assessment stage has been modified and improved to deliver a much more regular, functional and commonsense approach every quarter, along with the relevant ongoing recording requirement.

Please do not assume that this is now a dilution of the process or an easy option not to bother documenting your competency experience over time and making it all up at the end of the process, hoping you can remember everything! It is much more the revisiting of the principles of effective continuing training, experience and recording.

Ultimately each quarterly meeting (which have always been a requirement in the APC process and APC guides) now carries the same level of importance that the old interim assessment did. So the key point here is to record as you go along, as you always should do, and make sure the key quarterly meetings are done properly, consistent and delivered at the right time.

Professional development

This is still set at 96 hours in two years, and where possible an equal balance of 48 hours across each year. If the equal balance cannot be achieved, then as long as 96 hours are achieved within the two years that is acceptable. I would also suggest that candidates follow the documented process in the APC candidate's guide, where professional development should be split equally into three 16-hour segments. It may be worth revisiting the APC candidate's guide to refresh your memory on this.

Referred candidates

Referral is never a pleasant event, but referred candidates are required to submit all of their previous training experience (the full submission documentation on which they were referred) while providing an additional deficiency report against the competency elements of their referral report. This is a big step forwards, and one welcomed by the referred candidate's next assessment panel.

A further change for referred candidates is that they no longer need to complete a mandatory 100 days before reassessment. However, this does not mean that they should consider coming forward without undertaking further training and competency experience. They should demonstrate how they have improved and developed their referral report deficiencies. Now candidates can choose and make their own judgment (with their supervisor and counsellor) on when they have done sufficient training and development to address all of the deficiency elements in their referral report.

Competency sign-off

This has changed, and now requires the supervisor and counsellor to sign the candidates documentation only once. Their signature, along with the candidate's signature, is part of a new declaration stating that the submission documents are a true representation of the candidate's competency achievements. That said, there is still a requirement to date each level of the declared competency achievement as they are achieved over time.

New APC final assessment submission templates

The templates have been removed from the latest update to the APC candidate's guide.