The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) now invites applications for Fee-paid Medical Members of the First-tier Tribunal, Social Entitlement Chamber (Social Security and Child Support).
Launch date: 13:00 on Wednesday 06 November 2019
Closing date: 13:00 on Wednesday 27 November 2019
Number of vacancies: up to 200 vacancies across England, Wales and Scotland
Fee: £338.56 a day. After a medical member has sat for 20 days in any financial year, the fee is £406.50 a day.
You should first consider whether you are ready to apply for this role, and so may wish to look at the information provided here Am I ready? non-legal roles.
Overview of the role
This is an exciting opportunity for medical professionals to use their skills and knowledge to make important decisions that will make a real difference to people’s lives.
The Social Entitlement Chamber (Social Security and Child Support) in the First-tier Tribunal is looking for up to 200 new medical members to bring their expertise to the tribunal. As a tribunal medical member, you will hear appeals relating to: personal independence payments, disability living allowance, attendance allowance, employment and support allowance, universal credit, benefit for industrial injury or disease, compensation recovery, including NHS recovery claims and vaccine damage payments.
As the medical member you will sit alongside a tribunal judge and sometimes a disability-qualified member. To determine the appeal you and your fellow tribunal members will consider evidence, find facts and apply the relevant law to reach a fair decision. You will use your professional expertise to assist the tribunal to understand the medical evidence provided. All tribunal members contribute to the decision.
There are opportunities to observe hearings in the chamber to gain a better understanding of the role. To arrange one please contact Mrs Angie Boff, Angie.Boff@Justice.gov.uk .
Medical members are generally offered a minimum of 15 sittings days per year. In addition to this they are usually required to attend up to 3 training days. However, the number of sitting days undertaken is flexible and will be determined by the medical member’s availability. Many members currently sit for more than 15 days, but are free to decline to do so if their other commitments make this impractical.
Terms and conditions
Location and jurisdiction
Vacancies are available across England, Wales and Scotland.
You will be assigned to a judicial region and allocated a primary hearing venue, normally one closest to your home. In addition you may be invited to sit at other locations.
The judicial regions are: London, Midlands, North East, North West, Scotland, South East, South West and Wales.
You will be asked to indicate which locations, if successful, you would prefer to be deployed to. You will also be asked to indicate which other locations, that are not your preference, where you would nevertheless accept an offer of appointment. Advice on selecting locations and jurisdictions is available.
Candidates should be aware that the SEC Scotland is expected to be devolved to the Scottish Government in 2020 however responsibilities of the tribunal dealing with Scottish cases is not expected to change and the role of Fee-paid Medical Member will not be impacted.
To be considered for appointment, you must meet the eligibility requirements for this post. It is your responsibility and in your own interest, to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements before submitting an application. Eligibility will be assessed prior to selection days.
The Senior President of Tribunals (SPT) appoints members of the First-tier Tribunal, who are not judges under paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 2 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. Under paragraph 2(2) of that Schedule, the qualifications for appointment are prescribed in Statutory Instrument 2008/2692 as amended 2009/1592.
A person is eligible for appointment if he/she is a fully registered medical practitioner.
“Registered medical practitioner” means a fully registered person within the meaning of the Medical Act 1983, whether or not they hold a licence to practise under the Act.
A licence to practise is not a requirement.
If you are not registered, please do not apply for this exercise.
Additional selection criteria
In order to be eligible to apply a candidate’s registration with the GMC MUST be unconditional.
Conditional registration is where a doctor has conditions or restrictions placed on their practice by the GMC.
If you have conditions or restrictions placed on your practice by the GMC please do not continue with this application.
Welsh speaking posts
Welsh language, including the ability to read and write in Welsh, is desirable but not essential.
The Welsh speaking element will not be tested at selection day but will be conducted over the telephone with a Welsh speaking judge. The telephone call will consist of the judge asking up to two questions which require a response in Welsh; the assessment will take no longer than 10-15 minutes.
There is no upper or lower age limit for candidates apart from the statutory retirement age of 70. However, the age at which someone is appointed as a medical member should allow for a reasonable length of service. For this position it is usually 4 years before retirement.
The JAC will decide whether a candidate will be able to provide a reasonable length of service.
Candidates who already hold judicial appointment and were first appointed before March 1995, may have a preserved retirement age of 72. This includes candidates first appointed to a judicial office listed in Schedule 7 to the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993. Such candidates should inform the JAC about their retirement age.
At the time of application, candidates must be either a:
- UK citizen
- citizen of another Commonwealth country
- citizen of the Republic of Ireland
Other European Union citizens are not eligible to apply.
You should note that the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 applies to this office. For further details please refer to the outline terms and conditions.
Conflicts of Interest
All appeals which require the medical member’s presence on a tribunal arise from decisions made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Most appeal bundles include medical reports prepared by doctors working for the DWP or an assessment provider, such as Independent Assessment Services (formerly Atos), Capita or Maximus.
The tribunal is unable to deploy medical members who are, or have recently been, regularly engaged in preparing such reports in any location where either:
a) their own reports may be considered by the tribunals, where they sit as medical members; or
b) where other judicial office holders, with whom they have previously sat, may have to consider such reports.
Any such candidate must be able to demonstrate that their particular circumstances (for example having moved home and seeking appointment geographically distant from the area, where the examinations were carried out) are such that the above limitations on their deployment are not relevant and do not interfere with the tribunal’s business requirements.
It should also be noted that candidates who work for Maximus, Capita or Independent Assessment Services (formally Atos) in a capacity other than providing medical reports for the Department of Work and Pensions will be conflicted if appointed as a Fee-paid Medical Member. In these instances a candidate will be expected to either provide an undertaking they will cease working for these agencies if appointed, or withdraw from the selection process. If you have any queries regarding this issue please direct them to the Social Entitlement Chamber directly.
Applications open: 06 November 2019, 13:00
Closing date: 27 November 2019, 13:00
Online qualifying test (if required): 10 December 2019
Independent assessments requested: week commencing 6 January 2020
Deadline for the submission of Part 2 of the application for all candidates: 6 February 2020
Outcome of shortlisting process/selection day invitation: week commencing 2 March 2020
Selections days: Block 1: Monday 30 March to Thursday 9 April 2020
Block 2: Monday 20 April to Friday 1 May 2020
Outcome of selection days: late August 2020
Read the competency framework for the role and the job description before making your application. There are five competencies in total that list the behaviours of a Fee-paid Medical Member of the First-tier Tribunal, Social Entitlement Chamber who is performing the role effectively.
Candidates will be required to complete an online application, providing personal information, career history and information on how the eligibility criteria is met. Candidates who are shortlisted for selection day should read the competency framework for the role and the job description. There are five competencies in total that list the behaviours of a medical member who is performing the role effectively. Candidates are not asked to provide competency examples at the application stage, these will be tested at selection day. Candidates will be required to complete an online application containing basic details, including their personal profile, character profile and contact details of 2 independent assessors.
Your online application plays an important part in the selection process. This will comprise personal information, detailed career history and information on how the eligibility criteria is met. If there are any gaps in your career history an explanation as to why must be provided.
Candidates are not asked to provide competency examples at the application stage, these will be tested at selection day.
At the point of application, you will be required to submit contact details for your independent assessors. Read the guidance about independent assessments before completing your application. Independent assessments will contribute to your overall assessment. They should provide evidence that you have the abilities relevant to the role as outlined in the relevant competency framework. You must provide details of 2 professional independent assessors only.
Independent assessments will be requested on 8 January 2020 and must be returned by 22 January 2020. Late independent assessments may not be considered. You are therefore advised to notify, where possible, your assessors in advance that you intend to apply and inform them of the period during which assessments will be sought.
You must ensure the correct details (title and email addresses) are provided because all correspondence with your independent assessors will be by email. Errors will cause delays in your assessor being contacted.
If after reading the guidance above you are unsure of who you should nominate as an independent assessor, please speak to a member of staff using the contact details below.
The number of applications we receive will determine the means by which shortlisting decisions are taken. If the number of applications far exceeds the number of vacancies, an online qualifying test will be used to determine which candidates are invited to a selection day. If it is necessary, the online qualifying test will take place between 7am and 9pm on 10 December 2019. If fewer applications are received and an online qualifying test is not deemed necessary, we will proceed straight to eligibility checks.
All applicants will receive an email advising whether the qualifying test will take place, with joining instructions if appropriate, by 2 December 2019. If you have not received this email by close of play on 3 December 2019 contact the JAC at Medical_SEC148@judicialappointments.gov.uk.
The qualifying test will consist of multiple choice Situational Judgement questions and will take 45 minutes. No legal knowledge is required for the qualifying test. However, the questions are based on Tribunal scenarios so you may wish to familiarise yourself with the role and operations of the Tribunal before sitting the qualifying test.
If you are unable to sit the test on the date specified above due to exceptional circumstances, please use the above email address and we will assess this on a case by case basis. Where relevant we will arrange for you to take the test on an alternative date (which will fall no more than a week after the original date).
All candidates should make the necessary arrangements to sit the test in a suitable and quiet environment ensuring consistent and reliable access to a stable internet connection.
Information about qualifying tests
Part 2 of the application form
The primary location for interview will be London, however, consideration will be given to an additional location based on candidate preference. This will be from the options below:
You will be asked to indicate your preferred selection day location and your availability in part 2 of the application form. Where possible we will take into account your preference, however, due to the number of candidates and locations involved, we cannot guarantee that you will be offered a selection day at your preferred location. So that we have the most up-to-date candidate information for scheduling selection days, all candidates will be invited to complete part 2 of the application form ahead of receiving their shortlisting outcome letters.
If you are shortlisted you will be invited to a selection day which will take place between 30 March and 1 May 2020. We will not be able to offer an alternative selection day outside of this period.
The selection day will comprise situational questioning and a competency-based interview. Situational questioning involves asking you what you would do in a specific situation, based on challenging, real-life scenarios. Further details of the situational questioning will be sent along with the selection day invitation letter.
Competency-based interviews require you to provide detailed examples of situations in which you have been involved (explaining what the situation was, what you did and what the outcome was) to demonstrate you possess the abilities relevant to the role. There are 5 competencies in total listed in the competency framework. The competencies list the behaviours of a Medical Member performing the role effectively.
Information about selection day
The JAC provides reasonable adjustments to ensure candidates with a disability are not placed at a disadvantage. We will also consider making reasonable adjustments for those candidates with a short-term injury or temporary illness. You may request a reasonable adjustment by emailing the selection exercise team.
Information on the reasonable adjustments policy
The JAC is required to carry out character checks on all candidates whom it intends to consider for appointment. This requires your signed consent.
A consent form will be included in part 2 of your application form. You should ensure that all the relevant sections are completed in full. The JAC will only carry out these checks on candidates who have attended a selection day.
You should be aware that the JAC expects all character matters to be declared. Any matter that has not been disclosed by you and is brought to the JAC’s attention through its independent checks will be treated as your non-declaration of a relevant matter. You will have no opportunity to make further representations on any declared issue once the matter is before the Selection and Character Committee.
The JAC considers that it is your responsibility to ensure that any record concerning your character is accurate. Details of the bodies with whom JAC will make independent character enquiries are set out in paragraph 17 of the Good Character Guidance and you may wish to contact your professional body to ensure all matters recorded are known to you.
On 4 August 2016 the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2016 came into effect. It allows for the full disclosure to the JAC of all spent cautions and convictions to assess good character. You must declare and disclose all past convictions and cautions, regardless of whether they are spent or unspent.
You must continue to update the character section of your JAC profile. You have a continuing responsibility to disclose any matter that may arise at any time before you are notified of the outcome of your application.
Failure to disclose any relevant matter is likely to have an adverse effect on your application.
Equal merit provision
In line with its published policy, the JAC will consider applying an equal merit provision at the shortlisting stages of this exercise and at the final decision-making stage, for the purpose of supporting greater judicial diversity.
The relevant datasets that will be used to identify any under-representation are taken from the 2011 Census, detailed characteristics, England and Wales (ONS 2012) and the diversity statistics showing the background of the medical tribunal members (as of 1 April 2019), based upon primary appointment, as published on the Judiciary website.
According to the most recent data, 50.5% of the usual residents of the United Kingdom aged 25 to 74 are women and 10.8% identify as being from a Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority (BAME) background. As of 2018 45% of medical tribunal members identify as women, and 27% of medical tribunal members identify as being from a BAME background.
The Selection and Character Committee will consider which candidates to recommend to the Appropriate Authority as set out in the Judicial Appointments Regulations 2013.
In order to consider a recommendation, the Appropriate Authority may request any information that was available to the JAC in making its recommendation. You should be aware that any information you provide in your application or during the selection process could be passed onto the Appropriate Authority.
For this exercise the Appropriate Authority will be the Senior President of Tribunals who can accept or reject a recommendation or ask the Commission to reconsider. The Appropriate Authority may not select an alternative candidate.
For posts in Scotland the Senior President of Tribunals must consult with Scottish Ministers before appointment decisions.
Outcome of the exercise
The JAC will issue results by email to all those interviewed at the same time. We hope this will be by late August 2020.
If a qualifying test is included, you will be provided with your score in the test, shown as an overall percentage. The JAC will publish a full feedback report on candidate performance on the JAC website.
This report will be published on the JAC website. The JAC cannot provide bespoke feedback for individual candidates at the shortlisting stages; please do not make a request as exceptions will not be made.
If a qualifying test is not deemed necessary, the JAC is unable to provide you with individual feedback.
Following selection day, unsuccessful candidates who are identified as narrowly missing out on recommendation will be offered individual feedback. Candidates who fall outside of this will be notified of the outcome of selection days and will be encouraged to refer to the post selection day generic feedback report. This will be published on the JAC website after selection days.
Candidates identified as borderline should make a request within 20 working days of the date of their outcome letter.
This will involve a 2-day residential induction training course followed by a 1-day course, the dates of which are to be confirmed.
HMCTS will also arrange an observation session outside the training events before sitting.
If you have any questions regarding this role or your application, contact a member of the selection exercise team:
Katharine Hanley (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, by email only Monday and Friday): Selection Exercise Manager on 07510 588 274
Lisa Grant: Senior Selection Exercise Team Manager on 07889 413 437