Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by Methods Consulting (MMC 58)


  1.  This document contains a written clarification of an answer provided to Sandra Gidley MP, as requested during the oral session. In the oral session I was asked to clarify our contact with the MMC team during the MTAS project (Q266).


  2.  As explained in the oral session, the MTAS project's role was to design, build and run a solution against a set of detailed requirements which were provided into the project from other groups.

  3.  Our contact with the MMC team during the design of the MTAS system came predominantly from our engagement with the "steering groups", the membership of which included MMC team members.

  4.  There were two steering groups responsible for defining how recruitment of junior doctors should take place, one group looking at foundation recruitment, the other looking at specialty recruitment, both managed by the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Education Deans (COPMED) outside of the MTAS project.

  5.  Specifically, the steering groups were responsible for defining inputs to the MTAS project which included areas such as the overall business process for recruitment, application form structure, content and associated explanatory guidance for applicants, eligibility criteria for applicants, the number and type of the applications that each applicant could make, rules for scoring applicants, timetable for recruitment, etc. The steering groups were also responsible for liaising with the wider stakeholder community to ensure that what they were proposing was acceptable.

  6.  The specialty steering group included Shelley Heard, of MMC, and was supported by a full time project manager from the MMC team.

  7.  We held a series of formal workshops with the specialty steering group between September and December 2006 during which aspects of the rules and their implications for the design of the system were clarified. The outcomes of the workshops were recorded in structured notes, which then became embodied in changes to the prototype and a requirements catalogue. The prototype and requirements catalogue, along with the workshop notes from which they were derived, were published for stakeholders to view on a project website, and members of the MMC team were involved in the QA and sign-off of the requirements along with the project board and other relevant stakeholder bodies (eg CoPMED steering group for specialty recruitment).

  8.  In addition to the workshops, MTAS team members and MMC team members were in attendance at various meetings on specific topics throughout the project, organised by others, eg DH and the COPMeD Steering Group.

  9.  User acceptance testing was managed jointly with the Department and undertaken by volunteer groups of doctors and deanery users. This included a MMC representative.

  10.  I trust this provides the clarification requested. We would be pleased to assist further if required.

Mark Johnston

Managing Director

11 January 2008

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