FAQ on SOAR

Common queries on Appraisal Forms on SOAR

How do I access my online forms?

The online appraisal forms are accessed via the menu on the left hand side after you have logged into SOAR. Menu items are labelled "Forms 1-2" and "Form 3".  Form 3 is broken up into the 4 Domains, and is where you upload/document your supporting information.

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Do I have to use the online forms or can I still use the paper version?

For GPs, we have ceased support for paper appraisal forms since April 2013, coinciding with the GMC's launch of the updated Good Medical Practice 2013.

For doctors in Secondary Care, it might be possible to download PDF copies of the Secondary Care appraisal forms from the Scottish Government website - but speak with your Appraiser or Appraisal Lead first, as most Health Boards have mandated the use of SOAR and it may be that paper appraisal forms will not be accepted.

SOAR has NOT been configured to record appraisals done on paper.  If you completed your appraisal using paper forms, we will NOT be able to log this interview on the system.  (This includes old appraisals prior to the introduction of online appraisal forms.)

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What's the difference between the online forms and the paper copy?

Content-wise, none.  All we have done is taken the MS Word version of the appraisal forms (for Secondary Care), as published by the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates (SGHSC) on 1st August 2012, and converted it into an online process.  We have not altered or edited the questions so there is nothing new or different with the online forms on SOAR, just the way it is laid out and presented.

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I have a lot of paper supporting information, do I have to scan it all and upload everything?

We appreciate that for those who are not used to online systems, the scanning of supporting information (in particular folders' worth of attendance certificates) might be an issue.

Contact and speak with your appraiser and make sure they agree first, but you can bring these documents with you on the day of the appraisal meeting.  However, we ask that you detail ALL the documents you are bringing in the appropriate text boxes within the relevant Domains on the forms, so we have a record of what was brought to the meeting.

There will be some items that are not appropriate for bringing on the day, such as MSF reports, Audits, Reflections etc. Your appraiser will want to see these documents ahead of time so they can review and prepare prior to the appraisal meeting.  We expect the appraisees to make the effort to ensure these documents are made available to the appraiser ahead of time.  If you are not sure what is ok/not ok to bring on the day, seek advice from your appraiser well in advance.

The more notice you give your appraiser, the more time you give yourself to prepare.

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I have completed all the appraisal forms, now what?

Once you have completed Appraisal Forms 1-3 and linked all your supporting information, there are two things you need to do: 1) Agree to the Confidentiality Statement; and 2) Submit your Appraisal forms (so that they are shared with your appraiser).  Both these tasks are done on the Interview details page.

1. Click on "My Dashboard" from the menu on the left
2. From here you should see your appraisal timeline - if you have completed Forms 1-3, there should be red text saying "Submit forms 1-3". Click on this text to go to interview details page
3. Scroll to the bottom of the details page, where you will see the "Accept" Confidentiality button and the "Submit Appraisal Forms" buttons - just click on both and that's it

When done, a snapshot read-only version of your appraisal forms is created for this interview, and it will appear as tabs along the top of the page. This is what is shared with the appraiser.

The system will email the appraiser automatically so they know to login to SOAR to review what you have submitted.

For more information on submitting forms, please go to the SOAR User guide for Appraisees section

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I have completed all the appraisal forms, but my appraiser say s/he can't see them?

There are two possibilities in this scenario:

  1. You have not submitted the appraisal forms (so they are not yet shared with the appraiser); or
  2. Your appraiser has not created the interview on SOAR so you cannot submit the appraisal forms.

If you've simply not yet submitted the forms, all you need to do is follow the steps above to "accept" the confidentiality statement and "submit" the forms.

If you do not have an appraisal meeting set up on SOAR, you need to notify your appraiser so they can login and do so.  The submission and sharing of appraisal forms is centred around the appraisal interview meeting.

Guidance for appraisers on how to create interviews is available in the SOAR User Guides

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I have completed all the appraisal forms and submitted them to my appraiser, but I need to add more supporting information / edit appraisal forms. How do I do this?

You need to RESUBMIT your appraisal forms, otherwise your appraiser will not be able to review your newly added information.

1. Click on "My Dashboard" from the menu on the left
2. In the "Appraisal History" section, click on the appropriate interview (latest appraisal will be listed on top)
3. This should open the interview details page, where you will see the "Re-submit Appraisal Forms" button at the bottom - click on this

The snapshot read-only version of your appraisal forms will be refreshed and your appraiser will be notified by email also.

For more information on re-submitting forms, please go to the SOAR User guide for Appraisees section

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When I submit / resubmit my appraisal forms, I get a server error message, what does this mean?

There are two possible errors:

1)  It could be that one of the supporting information files you had linked to in Form 3 has too long a file name, or is missing a file extension (e.g. .doc, .jpg).

2)  The other possibility could be that you had copied and pasted text from Microsoft Office, which included hidden formatting codes (sometimes pictures) and has caused the creation of the read-only snapshot to fail.

Both are not easy to identify (especially the latter), so if you encounter an error message on submission/resubmission, please contact us via the SOAR Helpdesk and we will investigate and resolve the issue for you (we will need your permission to access your appraisal forms).

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Why does my interview status say "unconfirmed"?

Until the appraisee submits their appraisal forms and confirms the confidentiality, the interview status will remain as "unconfirmed".  Once appraisal forms have been submitted and Confidentiality accepted, the interview status will change to "In Progress".

"Unconfirmed" is a rather unfortunate phrasing, our apologies for the confusion. We aim to change this soon.

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I submitted my forms, but when my appraiser forwards me the draft Form 4 for my review, one of the self declaration statements is flagged as "issues" - what does this mean?

"Issues" is flagged if you provided an answer on the declaration statements that required additional comments (pop up text box).  It is flagged for the Appraiser's attention to ensure a discussion is had about this at the appraisal meeting.

If you want the "issues" to be overwritten to "resolved", you need to make a "Change Request" to unlock the Form 4 and ask the Appraiser to mark the "issue" as "resolved".  "Issues" cannot be changed to "No Issues" unless you change your declaration answers, which is not always appropriate depending on the circumstances.

For example, you might have stated in your Health Statement that you are not registered with a GP because you had just moved to the area.  But you have registered with a local GP surgery since your appraisal meeting.  In which case the Appraiser can overwrite the "Issues" to "Resolved" in the Health declarations.

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What is the "Appraisal Period" on the interview page for?

The "Appraisal Period" is to log WHEN the interview took place (in fiscal year), rather than WHAT material was discussed.  This is a system requirement so that we can track if someone was appraised in a given period.

For example, if an appraisal meeting took place on 15th March 2015, then the Appraisal Period would be 2014/2015.  If the meeting took place on 21st June 2015, then it would be 2015/2016.

You can log the Review Period in the text box underneath if required.

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I'm a Clinical Academic, but I can't see the Academic Medicine form that I am suppose to complete?

Chances are, you have not been marked as a Clinical Academic on SOAR, or you have got a University Appraiser allocated to you on the system.

Contact your local admin team (University contacts at bottom of page) for further assistance in the first instance.

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I'm a Clinical Academic, my Academic Appraiser cannot see or sign off my forms on SOAR?

Check and make sure that your Academic Appraiser (referred to as "Co-Appraiser" on SOAR) is listed on the interview's details page.  If s/he is not listed, that will explain why they have no access to your forms and documentation.

If we are to rectify this - you MUST NOT sign off the Form 4.  If Form 4 is signed off then the interview is archived and we will NOT be able to add the co-appraiser to the interview.

E-mail the SOAR helpdesk with details (GMC numbers and email addresses) of who you are, who your Appraiser and Co-Appraiser are, and we will do our best to resolve the problem.

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This page was last updated on: 15/05/2015