Typically trainees should aim to take part in two mini-PATs per year, one in each training post.
A mini-PAT cannot be completed retrospectively as it is a snapshot of a trainee's performance at a given time, they should not be conducted back-to-back, and cannot run concurrently.
The Mini-PAT runs for 28 days from when it is started, so it is important to leave enough time for the MSF to run its course. Trainees should take note of any upcoming ARCPs for example.
The Mini-PAT cannot be finished early unless all nominated assessors have responded. To find out more about why this is the case, read our article: Why can't a mini-PAT be ended early?
To maximise response rate, trainees should approach the people they plan on nominating prior to doing so to ensure that they will be able to complete the form. This is an ideal opportunity to check if the assessors are already registered on the system, and what email address they are using. Nominating assessors by copying and pasting email addresses from the trust address book can potentially lead to confusion where assessors are already registered using a different email. This can make it more difficult for the assessors, as they would need to contact us to resolve the issue.
Trainees should aim to nominate around 10-12 assessors, with ideally no more than 2 in any given position. Trainees should include their supervisor in their nominations. It should be understood that this guideline is subject to assessor availability, as this can vary depending on the trainee’s placement.
Once the assessors' email addresses have been added, a Mini-PAT assessment can be created. The trainee can then enter the nominations.
The system will attempt to match the emails given against registered accounts to ensure there are no transposition errors. If an email address belongs to someone that is already registered with us, the system will use the primary email address for that assessor's account - this may be different from the one the trainee entered. This is because the assessor has specified this as their preferred contact email for Portfolio Online communications and we are obliged to honour this.
NB: Once the assessment has started, the trainee cannot change or delete nominations. If an email address needs correcting, please contact the Portfolio Online support team: firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not nominate the same assessor twice. Doing so could invalidate the entire MSF.
Once a trainee has entered nominations, and they feel confident that they are correct, trainees can start the assessment. Starting the assessment will send the nomination emails. The assessor deadline will be at 23:59 28 days from the start of the assessment. The nomination emails will state that the assessor has until this date to complete the form.
Please note the emails are not sent instantly, as each takes a few seconds to process. Instead, they are added to a queue, during busy periods it could take a short while for the email to be sent. It is not necessary to stay on the screen at this stage.
Every care has been taken to provide means by which remote email servers can verify that these nomination emails are not spam. However we typically send several hundred emails a day, so some third-party spam filters may elect to block our emails. Most NHS trusts are now aware of who we are and will allow emails through. The major third party email providers also usually allow our email through. If any of your assessors are not receiving email, then it is most likely that it is being filtered by their email provider. We log all emails sent and the acceptance codes from remote mail servers.
If a nominated assessor does not have an account then the email they receive contains a link that will take them to the form (after they have confirmed their email address).
If a nominated assessor already has an account with us, they do not need the email to complete the form, they just need to log into their account on Portfolio Online and the form will be on the dashboard of their account.
If a nominated assessor is expecting to see a form on their dashboard and it's not there, it is likely that they were nominated using a different email address to the one they were registered with. If the assessor contacts us, we can merge accounts belonging to the same person together This only takes a few seconds and in most cases resolves the problem instantly.
Trainees can add further nominations right up until the deadline, but we would recommend giving assessors as much notice as possible. If assessors are nominated close to the deadline, and they have difficulty completing the form, then the MSF could end before they have the chance to resolve any issue they might be having.
Reminder emails can be sent to assessors by clicking on the 'Send Reminders' button. This will only send an email to those assessors that have not yet submitted a response form. In some cases, an assessor may think they have completed the form but may have missed a required field. Those assessors will receive a reminder that states the form has been partially completed but has not yet been submitted.
Trainees can send reminders right up until the deadline. Forms must be submitted before the deadline. If an assessor starts the form before the deadline but submits the form after, it will not be accepted.
Trainees are expected to complete a mini-PAT self-assessment as part of the process. This must be submitted before the deadline has passed.
Immediately after the deadline, feedback is produced. Feedback can be viewed and released by anybody that the trainee has registered as a supervisor. This may also include the Training Programme Director (TPD). In the exceptional situation where that is not possible, the Head of School can also release feedback. Supervisors can find a step-by-step guide on releasing feedback to a trainee in our online guidance.
NB: Feedback should first be delivered to the trainee by a supervisor in a face-to-face meeting to ensure that it is received in an educationally supportive environment.
Trainees cannot access feedback from their own account until a supervisor has released it to them.
If a trainee has an ARCP scheduled, the ARCP reviewers for the corresponding school can also see feedback even if it has not yet been released.