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How to access the Multi-Source Feedback service

While on the HSST programme, HSST trainees can use the National School’s Multi-Source Feedback (MSF) service in order to initiate MSF assessments and generate MSF reports. There is no absolute requirement to use this service or to do a set number of MSFs while on the programme. The service is made available to support your development in the workplace. The service that we use to enable you to conduct your MSF assessments is a service entitled Clarity Feedback. To access the service, you first need to register with Clarity.

How to register with Clarity

  1. Access Clarity by clicking on the link to the Clarity MSF service on your OneFile Portfolio Dashboard. Alternatively, navigate to 

  2. Click the "Register account" button and enter the required details. Please note the following important items:
    • Your surname must match the surname as we supplied it in our email to you. (This is the surname we have on file for you.) Otherwise this will delay your MSF account being created.
    • The password you select must be a combination of letters, numbers and special characters.
  3. Once your details have been submitted you will receive a confirmation email from ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.’. If you register with your professional email address, you should ensure that your IT department does not block emails from this address.
  4. Before you can create an MSF you must confirm your NSHCS details with Clarity using details provided by us in the personalised MSF email we will send you. If you did not receive your email please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. When prompted, please enter your Trainee ID and registration code exactly as supplied in our email to you. If these details are entered incorrectly, this will delay your MSF account being created. Your trainee ID is your NSHCS registration ID. Please do not enter your OneFile ID into Clarity.

How to start an MSF

After your details are validated you should see the message contained in the screenshot below indicating that you can create an MSF.

To start an MSF, click the Blue "Create MSF" button. Note the on-screen guidance, then click the "Start MSF" button.

At this point you may either perform your personal self-assessment by clicking "Start now" or begin nominating raters. Each rater is automatically alerted and invited to provide their feedback once you have entered their name and email address and clicked "Send". One of your raters should be your HSST supervisor.

When performing your self-assessment, you must answer all of the questions, including the free-text response questions. When you have finished, click the "Complete" button. On the next screen, clicking "Go back to MSF" will return you to your MSF dashboard, where you can continue to nominate raters. You may return to your self-assessment at any point within the 21-day period to update your own judgements.

How to review and confirm your MSF

  1. At the end of the 21-day rating period you will receive an email indicating that your report is available. Click the link in your email, or log in directly to your Clarity account, to read your results and download your report.
  2. Your results will be presented to you anonymously. To download your report, click the "View PDF" button at the top of your report.

  3. At this point you should review your MSF with your HSST Supervisor and discuss the key points identified in the report for your development.

How to submit your MSF to OneFile

Following any review and discussion with your HSST Supervisor, you may wish to upload your MSF Report to OneFile. To do this, create an MSF Submission (ensuring you upload your MSF Report as evidence within the submission) to the HSST MSF Module in your portfolio. This module is a ‘zero-weighted’ module and any submissions into it will not count towards your overall progress in your portfolio. To create an MSF Submission, create a new submission as you normally would, but ensure you select "Multi-Source Feedback" as the submission type.

In the MSF module in OneFile there are four criteria options when uploading your MSF. Select one of these options and attach the PDF copy of your MSF report in the evidence area of your submission. Sign and send your MSF to your Supervisor for sign off.

Below, we provide guidance and recommendations for the development and management of evidence in the workplace for those engaged on the Higher Specialist Scientist training programme (HSST) and their supervisors. This guidance is advisory only.


The HSST Programme is unlike the possibly more familiar STP programme in that there is far greater flexibility in the evidence that can be submitted by trainees who will be following a bespoke pathway agreed between themselves and their Workplace Supervisor. It requires that both supervisors and trainees have an understanding and knowledge of the learning outcomes1 of the specialist curriculum and the Higher Specialist Scientist Standards of Proficiency (HSSSP) published by the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS).

A portfolio of evidence

Generally speaking, a portfolio of evidence is a collection of documents that a trainee is required to compile to show competence against a set of learning outcomes and to an appropriate standard.

Trainees need to demonstrate, through the presentation of evidence, that they can meet the requirements of the HSST programme and do so by organising evidence within an e-portfolio. The portfolio facilitates the trainee, with support from their Workplace Supervisor, to collect evidence systematically. By the time you are ready to exit the programme you should have evidence in your e-portfolio that you have met ALL of the Higher Specialist Scientist Standards of Proficiency.

Whilst the e-portfolio will take effort and time to complete, it is also a means of demonstrating the trainee’s particular strengths and achievements to others.

The portfolio should be developed along with the trainee’s achievements and take on a dynamic role as:

  • a record of achievements to date
  • a proof of competence and knowledge
  • a resource bank of abilities
  • a reference tool for appraisal
  • a basis for career development
  • a record of continuing professional development.

In relation to the relevant specialist curriculum and standards of proficiency it provides:

  • a clear demonstration of competence and knowledge against learning outcomes and standards of proficiency
  • a focus for assessment
  • a means to bring together evidence for more than one learning outcome or standard of proficiency
  • a focus for the identification of training/learning needs.

The e-portfolio helps a trainee as they work towards certification as a Higher Specialist Scientist and also provides a useful reference tool for their future career.

The e-portfolio will contain:

  • the training plans agreed with the Workplace Supervisor identifying progression through the programme
  • the written evidence developed that maps to the programme requirements
  • the uploaded attachments
  • the feedback on evidence.

Evidence for assessment

At HSST the scope of evidence that can be submitted is wide-ranging and determined through the individual’s bespoke pathway and will include the specialist knowledge acquired through the professional doctorate programme as well as that which occurs in the workplace.

Workplace-based evidence submitted for assessment should demonstrate the appropriate application of specialty knowledge and skills through the quality and types of evidence in an e-portfolio which is appropriately mapped to the domains of the AHCS Standards of Proficiency for Higher Specialist Scientists and to the learning outcomes of the specialist curriculum.

Evidence that is submitted for assessment needs to be:

  • Sufficient - Covering all aspects of the assessment criteria for each of the learning outcomes (LO) and standards of proficiency (SoP) referenced. Sufficient does not mean a mass of evidence. It simply means collecting enough evidence to demonstrate competence.
  • Authentic - Evidence put forward for assessment should be explained and substantiated. It is important that the submitted evidence relates only to the trainee’s own performance and that it can be declared at programme exit as authentic.
  • Relevant - Any evidence for assessment must relate specifically to the specialist programme and bespoke pathway the trainee is pursuing. An assessor should only be interested in the evidence of performance pertinent to the LO and SoP referenced in the submission. It is not necessary to include reference documents, training materials or other evidence that does not demonstrate competence.
  • Current - ‘Current’ means evidence relating to the appropriate specialty knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours a trainee can currently demonstrate and which clearly relate to the activities and areas of work a trainee could still perform if required to do so.
  • Cross-referenced - Evidence (especially written) must be referenced to the LO and SoP of the programme being undertaken. A clear referencing system is essential.

The Workplace Supervisor should work with the HSST trainee to determine what is meant by sufficient, authentic, relevant and current and this should be reflected through an agreed training plan and through regular (monthly) recorded reflective meetings to discuss progression cross-referenced to the LO and SoP.

Evidence that is acceptable can be divided into two main categories – direct and indirect.

Direct evidence can include:

  • Performance being observed by an assessor
  • Projects or work-based assignments 
  • Personal reports
  • Minutes of meetings, action plans, progress reports
  • Internal and external correspondence
  • Prior qualifications which relate directly to the LO and SoP
  • Product evidence e.g. examples, samples, photographs
  • Responses to oral or written questions
  • Video or authenticated audio tapes
  • Supervisor observations
  • Performance appraisal and multi-source feedback with reflection.

Indirect evidence can include:

  • Witness testimonies from people within or outside the organisation
  • Achievement in related areas
  • Attendance on courses/training activities relevant to the LO and SoP
  • Membership of related committees or outside organisations
  • Previous evidence from assignments, tests and other forms of assessment that have been achieved
  • Documents produced through work-related activities such as reports and related material
  • Reports by supervisors and managers.

Such indirect evidence will likely be used mainly to support or confirm direct evidence.

Each HSST pathway will require evidence that is bespoke to the individual and negotiated with the Workplace Supervisor through the creation of a training plan designed to help determine the types of evidence required. It is expected that this will be through a diversity of evidence types to support the achievement of progression. When submitting evidence, trainees must highlight their role in the work; for example, identifying whether the work has been carried out through group work activities. The list above is not exhaustive and other appropriate forms of evidence may be identified depending on the bespoke pathway being undertaken.

Training planning

Training planning sits at the heart of successfully negotiating the five-year HSST programme. It is driven and informed by the content of the particular LOs of the discipline-specific curriculum and its content must meet the Academy’s SoP.

The training plan will produce evidence from work undertaken in the workplace, from the academic content of the HEI programme and, for Life Science trainees, from the requirements of the Royal College of Pathologists examinations. Each piece of evidence submitted for assessment should reference the LOs of the curriculum and formally map to the SoP.

Training planning should grow by design over the period of the programme, being more detailed in earlier years and referencing an outline for future years, which should be updated and modified in detail year on year. Effective training planning will:

  • Establish training goals
    • Against the specialist curriculum content
    • Against what is possible with the job plan
    • Against what is required for the programme components (DClinSci, FRCPath etc)
    • Against the required programme outcomes
  • Develop the content
    • Planning progression over the five years
    • Designing the outputs and evidence
    • Outlining the structure over the five years
    • Establishing a timeline for progression
    • Making time for preparing for training
  • Specifically define
    • Items for assessment
    • Tools for recording evidence
    • Support from colleagues
    • Gap analysis

Each training plan is a bespoke programme particular to the individual trainee and the environment they work in, discussed and agreed with the Workplace Supervisor. It needs to take account of the job plan and any assigned roles and routine clinical responsibilities and needs to strike the right balance between the requirements of routine service and of progression through the HSST programme.

A training plan should include:

  • Objectives set to facilitate personal development and with time set aside for training
  • Assessments designed and mapped to match progression through the programme against both the LOs of the curriculum and to meet the Academy’s SoP
  • Provision of supervision and monitoring of a trainee’s educational experience
  • Regular training planning reviews.

The e-portfolio provides a means whereby training plans can be recorded and signed off.

Download and view a good example of a 5 year HSST training plan via the link below:

Workplace-based assessment

The evidence submitted for assessment may draw on the traditional tools of assessment such as DOPS, OCEs and CBDs but at this level of study these methods may not be sufficient in themselves and evidence is more likely to fall outside these traditional boundaries and more extensively reflect achievements through progression against the SoP and LO. It is important to note that it is the quality of evidence that matters more than the number of pieces of evidence submitted for assessment.

The School suggests evidence should be submitted monthly, accumulating 60 pieces of evidence over the course of the five-year programme. However, this frequency would be influenced by the scope and nature of each piece of evidence. There is no requirement to complete a minimum number of workplace-based assessments or any requirement to complete certain assessments at a particular stage of the programme.

It is suggested that a four to six weekly recorded reflection meeting could be held with the workplace supervisor during which progression against the training plan and the endorsement of a piece of evidence may be undertaken.

It is essential, however, that an appropriate number and blend of evidence is submitted for assessment, bearing in mind that the evidence will be reviewed by an expert panel and must demonstrate that both the LOs and SoP are being met to a level expected of a consultant clinical scientist.

The e-Portfolio: OneFile

The School has recently adopted the e-portfolio service OneFile as a repository for evidence:

OneFile® provides a place:

  • To store and manage evidence prior to its collation and submission for assessment 
  • To evidence, record, review and renew training plans
  • To record professional development and experience
  • To record specific work practices
  • To record reflective and evaluative content
  • To assess and sign off evidence
  • That is confidential.

HSST trainees and their supervisors are required to use OneFile to record evidence and assessment of training planning and progression.

The School provides a number of OneFile guidance resources for trainees and supervisors.

Referencing evidence on OneFile

Evidence of workplace activity and learning must be mapped against the SoP and linked to the LO of the specialist curricula.

Referencing The Academy Standards of Proficiency

All evidence submitted for assessment on OneFile is required to link to at least one of the Academy’s SoP.

Referencing the Specialty Curriculum

Specialty curricula are available through the School’s curriculum library at:

Each piece of evidence submitted for assessment must reference the LO of the specialist curriculum.

The recommended way to achieve this is to include in the narrative section of an evidence submission on OneFile a link to the particular objective outcome(s) in the specialist curriculum.

It is possible that evidence submitted for assessment may link to the specialist curriculum and the Academy SoP in a variety of ways:

  • One to One - Where the evidence links exclusively to a single Academy SoP and to a single point within the specialty curriculum.
  • One to Many - Where the evidence links to either a single Academy SoP and many points within the specialty curriculum or to many of the Academy SoP and a single point within the specialty curriculum.
  • Many to Many - Where the evidence links to many of the Academy SoP and many points within the specialty curriculum.

Trainees and their supervisors may find it helpful to develop a template in line with those found in the downloads below. These documents suggest ways in which trainees might map evidence created across the five-year programme both to the Academy’s SoP and to their specialty curriculum.

Assessing and endorsing evidence on OneFile

The assessment of evidence should always take into account the appropriate alignment to the Academy SoP and the relevant link to the curriculum and should satisfy the assessor with regard to its content.

The assessor has the opportunity to offer the trainee general feedback on the content of the submission or to annotate particular parts of the submission.

It is recommended that the following rubric is used by assessors for the purposes of general feedback to trainees when reviewing evidence on OneFile as a final statement in any feedback given.

  • Insufficient evidence submitted - The information is sparse/incorrect. It is lacking in important detail. The evidence bears little relation to either the LO nor the SoP.
  • Evidence submitted is fairly sufficient improvement is possible - Meets some of the criteria set out. Evidence is somewhat included/covered but not to the required level of the programme.
  • Good, sufficient evidence provided - Meets most of the criteria set with good evidence provided which successfully maps to the LO and SoP.
  • Excellent evidence submitted – highly sufficientMeets all of the criteria set through substantial evidence provided which commendably maps to the LO and SoP.

The endorsement of evidence following assessment on OneFile can be undertaken in one of two ways and will be determined by the nominated assessor as appropriate.

Option one

If the assessor is content that the evidence submitted maps appropriately and fully meets the requirements of the LO and SoP referenced by the trainee it is possible to sign the evidence as completed. View a short video about how to respond to a submission on OneFile.

This indicates that the referenced SoP is met and that the trainee’s competence has reached the level expected at this temporal stage of the programme and/or that of a consultant clinical scientist.

The dashboard then accepts this piece of evidence as final and the evidence submission becomes ‘green’ in the OneFile progress views.

Cautionary note: If this option is triggered and the assessor is of the opinion that the evidence only meets the temporal stage requirements then it is important that further discussion with the trainee takes place to identify that additional evidence is required against this SoP and should be mapped into the Training Plan.

Option two

If the assessor is NOT content that the evidence submitted:

  • maps appropriately to the LO and SoP referenced by the trainee, or
  • has achieved the level expected at this temporal stage of the programme, or
  • has achieved the level expected of a consultant clinical scientist.

The assessor can return the submission to the trainee by using the resubmit option in OneFile, with the evidence annotated with further general and specific feedback for the trainee to address.

If this option is triggered further discussion with the trainee should take place to identify that additional evidence is required within this piece of evidence and that it should be updated and resubmitted for assessment.

The progress views in OneFile retain this submission as ‘amber’ and the trainee and supervisor can pursue a facilitated discussion in a cyclical manner until such time as the assessor determines that the referenced SoP is achieved as met and that the trainee’s competence has reached the level expected at this temporal stage of the programme and/or that of a consultant clinical scientist.

The dashboard then accepts this evidence as final and the evidence submission becomes ‘green’ in the OneFile progress views.

It should be noted that the OneFile progress views should not be reviewed in isolation but also in relation to the training plans and the development of temporal evidence across the five years of the programme.

Multi-source feedback

Multisource feedback (MSF), also known as 360 degree or multi-rater feedback, refers to appraisals of an individual that are derived from two or more distinct categories of individuals, such as supervisors, peers, subordinates, patients from either within or outside the organisation. In many instances, the participants are also encouraged to evaluate their own behaviour and performance.

Many maintain that multisource feedback offers a variety of benefits such as:

  • Providing a more reliable and valid assessment of behaviour and performance
  • Facilitating candid and honest discussions about how individuals can develop
  • Shifting the focus from merely attempting to impress to broader goals and objectives
  • Facilitates management learning, skill development, and goal setting
  • Ultimately improves the culture of organisations and the performance of managers.

Multi-source feedback is also commonly employed across educational programmes and is widely endorsed by the medical Royal Colleges for specialty training and to inform the decisions made at the annual review of competence progression. The School has also previously employed the use of multi-source feedback as an essential component of its training programmes and for HSST this is no exception, to maintain the comparability with specialist medical training programmes.

Currently, OneFile does not contain MSF-type functionality and the School therefore advises that HSST trainees should undertake a form of 360 degree appraisal as a part of their local appraisal, wherever possible, and report it as a discrete piece of evidence that can be mapped to the SoP within the e-portfolio.

Concluding remarks

It is unlikely that all aspects of the creation and assessment of workplace evidence have been covered in this guidance. Further questions and greater clarity can be sought by emailing the School at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. where it will be passed on to the appropriate person.

1 The use of the term learning outcomes is adopted in its widest sense and may not be explicit as such in all versions of the HSST curricula. Learning outcomes describe significant and essential learning that will have been achieved, and can reliably be demonstrated at the end of the program. 

Direct Entry

Applications Shortlisting Interviews Outcomes Training
Applications open -
Monday 25 March 2019 at 13:00
Shortlisting occurs between Monday 29 April 2019 to Wednesday 15 May 2019

Interviews held:

  • w/c 17 June 2019
  • w/c 24 June 2019 (TBC)
Initial offers to be sent out throughout July 2019 Start date: September 2019
Applications close -
Tuesday 23 April 2019 at 17:00
    Employers informed of offer outcomes July 2019   
      Local employment processes during July - August 2019  


In Service

Applications Interviews Outcomes Training
Applications open -
Monday 25 March 2019 at 13:00

Interviews held:

  • w/c 17 June 2019
  • w/c 24 June 2019 (TBC)
Initial offers to be sent out throughout July 2019 Start date: September 2019
Applications close -
Wednesday 15 May 2019 at 17:00
  Employers informed of offer outcomes July 2019   
    Local employment processes during July - August 2019   


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