Northern Ireland Social Care Council

AYE Performance Appraisal Introduction

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5. AYE Performance Appraisal

    1. Introduction

5.1.1 The reviews of the AYE have indicated that there are different methods being used to assess the competence of newly qualified social workers during the AYE.

      1. NISCC is issuing this practice guidance to employers and newly qualified social workers so there is a clear understanding of what is required to deem an AYE registrant as competent.

    1. AYE Policy Requirements

5.2.1 The Departmental Circular HSS (OSS) AYE 2/2015 (Appendix 2) states:

  • Employers must be satisfied that new social work graduate entrants are performing at a level that allows for confirmation that they are able to practise as safe, competent and responsible social workers and therefore suitable for continued registration and employment as social workers.

  • Final Performance Appraisal for AYE purposes must take place and the outcomes recorded on the relevant NISCC proforma to facilitate the registration process. Where the line manager conducting the performance appraisal is not a qualified social worker, the final performance appraisal must be signed off by the AYE supervisor in agreement with the line manager and the authorised signatory from the organisation.

    1. Guidance on AYE Appraisal

5.3.1 The AYE registrant has demonstrated sufficient competence on the Degree in Social Work to attain a social work qualification. The assessment methods used during the AYE should be proportionate and reflect good supervision practice of an AYE registrant. In most instances, observations of practice will not be required unless this is normal practice for supervision by that employer or is naturally occurring such as when an AYE registrant and manager are both present at a review.

      1. Employers may wish to develop a framework and their own documentation for assessing competence. It must contain information on the six key social work roles on which the AYE registrant will be appraised.

5.3.3 AYE registrants must bring a Summary of Learning to the employer. This should be the starting point for a Personal Development Plan (PDP) for the AYE period.

5.3.4 AYE registrants must record training and development days and reflect on learning from these.

5.3.5 AYE registrants must provide evidence for the professional supervisor of how they are consolidating and extending skills and knowledge gained on the Degree in Social Work. This should reflect the six key social work roles. The evidence must include: an assessment, including an assessment of harm and abuse and a related work plan, a risk assessment and risk management plan and the application of at least two methods and/or models of social work intervention to promote change. The emphasis should be on naturally occurring evidence generated as a result of the AYE registrants’ day-to day practice.

5.3.6 Professional supervisors must record, on a regular basis how the AYE registrant is performing in relation to the six key social work roles. Employers may develop a proforma for this purpose or the professional supervisor may include comment within the supervision records. It is the responsibility of the AYE registrant to demonstrate their competence in daily practice, through agency records, discussion in supervision and in the reflective summaries that they submit to the professional supervisor at the mid and final appraisal points.

5.3.7 The mid-point appraisal is a crucial time for identifying progress and development issues. The PDP should be reviewed and plans made to address any gaps in practice experience and/or training needs. The AYE registrant must submit a reflective summary of their progress in relation to the six key social work roles and an outline of future development needs to the supervisor in advance of the appraisal (minimum of 750 words). There must also be discussion at this stage about whether the frequency of supervision should be reduced, taking account of the confidence and competence of the AYE registrant and the complexity of the workload.

5.3.8 At the final appraisal stage the AYE registrant must submit a final reflective summary linked to the six key social work roles and identification of future learning (minimum 750 words) to the supervisor. Following successful completion of the AYE social workers will have a further condition placed on their registration requiring them to complete a minimum of two requirements in the Consolidation Award , Professional in Practice (PiP) by the time of their first three year renewal. This is an opportunity to discuss PiP, the professional development framework for social workers which governs the Practice Requirements for Training and Learning (PRTL) and review options of how the AYE registrant can work toward attainment of two requirements in the next three years.

5.4 Summary of Key Steps in Performance Appraisal

5.4.1 The following procedures are the minimum for each AYE registrant:



  1. AYE registrant to bring a Summary of Learning from the Degree in Social Work

To the first supervision session

  1. A Personal Development Plan (PDP) to be developed by the AYE registrant and the professional supervisor.

By end of the first month

  1. An induction undertaken to NISCC Induction Standards

By the end of the sixth month

  1. On-going supervision recording progress over the six social work key roles. A record must also be kept of the AYEs training and development days. There should be discussion of the frequency of supervision required after the first six months.

Supervision fortnightly for the first six months and at least monthly for the remainder of the AYE

  1. Evidence – the AYE registrant must compile evidence which demonstrates consolidation and development in each of the six key social work roles.

This must include:

      1. An assessment including the assessment of harm or abuse and a work plan

      2. A risk assessment and management plan

      3. The application and evaluation of at least two methods and/or models of social work intervention to promote change

      4. A record and analysis of all training and development days

Evidence should be reviewed regularly in supervision. Further work required should be identified. Decisions should be reached and recorded as to whether the AYE registrant is competent in each of the six key social work roles.

  1. Midpoint appraisal. There must be an assessment of the following:

  • The AYE registrant’s reflection on their practice in relation to the six key social work roles. Prior to the meeting, the registrant must submit a reflective summary of progress in relation to the six key social work roles and an outline of future development during the next six months (minimum of 750 words). Feedback must be provided by the supervisor. The outcomes of the discussion should be recorded in the supervision record

  • The PDP should be reviewed and updated. This must include any identified gaps and areas for development, future learning and supervision needs. This should incorporate information on training and development days.

At approximately six months

  1. Final appraisal. Prior to this appraisal the AYE registrant must submit a further reflective summary which reviews overall progress and achievement in meeting the six key social work roles and identifies future learning needs (minimum of 750 words) to the supervisor. Feedback must be provided by the supervisor. There should be a discussion related to Professional in Practice and the options available to the AYE registrant to work towards attainment of requirements in the Consolidation Award.

At this final appraisal the AYE registrant will be either confirmed as having met NISCC requirements for completion of the AYE or that an extension is required. If the AYE is successfully completed Form AYE1 must be signed by the employer and returned to NISCC by the AYE registrant at least ten days before the end of the AYE condition.

No later than 11 months

6. Completion, Extension and Non-Completion of the AYE

    1. Completion of the AYE

6.1.1 When the AYE registrant returns Form AYE1 NISCC will remove the condition of the AYE and will renew registration for a further three years. Renewal of registration is with a condition that a minimum of two requirements of the Consolidation Award, Professional in Practice are achieved by the next renewal date. If the AYE registrant fails to provide notification of the satisfactory completion of the AYE or a request for an extension, by the due date, the NISCC shall remove the registrant’s entry from the social work part of the Register.

6.2 Extension of the AYE

6.2.1. NISCC will consider an application from an AYE registrant for an extension to the AYE where:

  1. The number of working days specified in the DHSSPS Circular have not been met for justifiable reasons including part-time working; or

2. Due to a number of short term contracts the employer requires additional time to ensure a robust decision on competence can be reached; or

3. There are personal or health reasons, including maternity, adoption or fostering leave for an extension; or

4. The AYE registrant is the subject of a conduct investigation (see paragraph 2.3.2)

Any application for an extension under these circumstances should be accompanied by an employer endorsement Application for an Extension to AYE (Form AYE 2)

      1. Where an AYE registrant has been unable to demonstrate the required level of competence for other reasons, an extension may be requested. This must be accompanied by an employer endorsement and a report from the line manager or, where necessary, the supervisor, outlining the gaps in competence and a time bound plan to achieve the necessary competence. Application for an Extension to the AYE (Forms AYE2 & AYE3). The employer can, if needed, request further evidence from the AYE registrant.

More than one extension is acceptable, if it is believed an additional period of work experience would enable the AYE registrant to make progress. When a decision is reached that the AYE registrant has not completed the AYE, non-completion procedures should be followed.

    1. Non Completion of the AYE

      1. Where an AYE registrant has not completed the AYE, the employer must submit a report to the NISCC. The report must include:

  1. The supports that were offered to the AYE registrant

  2. Extensions approved, if any

  3. A list of the training and development days, along with analysis, completed

  4. A list of the evidence provided by the AYE registrant along with progress and decisions reached regarding competence for each of the six key social work roles

  5. The two reflective summaries completed by the registrant at the six and eleven month appraisal points (if completed)

  6. Any additional reports the employer or registrant may believe will be helpful such as an inappropriate conduct report or concerns regarding practice

The report must be signed by the employer and the registrant.

      1. Following receipt of the report, the registrant may be referred to the Registration Committee for a decision on future action.

      2. If the registrant wishes to repeat the AYE, possibly with a different employer, the NISCC (Registration) Rules 11 and 12 will apply. This will enable the registrant to apply for restoration to the register.

  1. Revised Proformas 2014

Please note that all proformas are available on the portal/ The Certificate of Completion must be completed and forwarded to NISCC online. The other proformas should be completed and printed for signatures. If a copy is required by NISCC, for example the Attachment to Reference Form this will need to be uploaded and returned to NISCC.
Certificate of Completion of AYE

(Form reference AYE1)

Use this form when the AYE has been successfully completed.
Application for an Extension to the AYE

(Form reference AYE2)

This form must be completed and returned to the NISCC as soon as it is apparent that an extension will be required.
Application for Extension to the AYE – Line Manager/Supervising Social Worker Report Form

(Form reference AYE3)

This form must accompany ‘Application for Extension’ form AYE2 when ‘other reasons’ are stated for requesting an extension to the AYE.
Attachment to Reference – for Staff Changing Employer (or Team) Within the AYE

(Form reference AYE4)

This form must be used if supplying a reference for an AYE registrant when they are transferring employment during the period of their Assessed Year in Employment. This form may also be used when an AYE registrant remains with the same employer but is changing teams.
AYE Designated Signatory

(Form reference AYE 5)

This form must be completed by employers to notify the NISCC of their nominees to sign-off AYE Certificates of Completion and Applications for Extensions. The designated signatory must be a senior manager of the organisation, should understand the standards a newly qualified social worker is expected to meet and be in a position to satisfy him/herself that these standards have been met.
Undertaking AYE Practice outside Northern Ireland

Form reference AYE 6

This form must be completed by the registrant and signed by the employer if social work experience has been undertaken during the AYE year. This must have been experience gained in a post that required a social work qualification.
Appendix 1: Summary of Learning

The purpose of this form is to provide continuity in learning and career development for newly qualified social workers embarking on the Assessed Year in Employment.

Appendix 2: DHSSPS Circular (OSS) AYE2/2015
Appendix 3: Key Roles for Social Work National Occupational Standards/2011
Appendix 4: Example of Personal Development Plan

Certificate of Completion of AYE

(Form Ref AYE1)
It is the responsibility of the registrant to ensure this form is completed and returned to the NISCC within one year of commencing the AYE. Failure to do so may result in removal from the Register. Registrants who require additional time to complete the AYE should apply for an extension using the NISCC ‘Application for Extension’ (Form reference AYE2).
Registrant name as appears on NISCC Register:
Registration number:

Employing organisation:

Employment sector:

Workplace address: Postcode:

Contact details: Phone:


Line Manager/Supervising social worker name as appears on NISCC Register (please underline applicable designation):

Line Manager/Supervising social worker Registration number:
Date Registrant commenced the AYE:

Date Registrant will complete the AYE:

(This will be one calendar year from the date of commencement unless an extension was agreed)

(Form ref AYE1-V2-2014) (Page 1 of 2)

Employer Declaration
The registrant has successfully completed the AYE and the NISCC AYE Standards have been met.

Registrant Details
Name (Please Print):…………………………………………………..
Registrant signature:…………………………………………………


Line Manager Details
Name (Please Print):……………………………………………………
Line manager signature: ………………………………………………

Supervising social worker signature (if not Line Manager):
Name (Please Print):……………………………………………………
Tel No:………………………………….Email:………………………….



Employer signatory5
Name (Please Print):……………………………………………………
Position in the Organisation:………………………………………….
Tel No:………………………………….Email:………………………….


(Form ref AYE1- V2- 2014) (Page 2 of 2)

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