What is MAEP?

Multi-Source Assessment of Expert Practice (MAEP) is an online tool that is designed to help expert witnesses who provide evidence for courts and tribunals, collect feedback on their performance. 

MAEP was devised by Professor Keith Rix for the Royal College of Psychiatrists and initially made available to expert witnesses in the field of mental health. However, MAEP can be used by any expert providing assistance to courts and tribunals, whatever their profession.

For each of their cases, MAEP subscribers can complete a self-assessment and invite professionals involved in the case (such as solicitors and barristers) to provide their feedback via an online questionnaire. Respondents may also include free text comments on areas of strength and areas for improvement. The questionnaire for professionals involved in the case contains the same questions.

By encouraging reflection on the reported scores and feedback, MAEP supports expert witnesses in achieving and maintaining high standards of ethical and professional practice. This information will not be publicly available and there is no ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. Feedback is intended to guide professional development and learning and can be shared with peer groups. It may be submitted as evidence for annual appraisal and may also be suitable to support medical experts’ revalidation as doctors.

Feedback is provided on up to eight domains of expert witness practice:

1. Professionalism
2. Ethics
3. Skills
4. Reliability of opinion
5. Presentation of opinion/report
6. Understanding of law, procedure, and rules of evidence
7. Oral testimony
8. Business manners and affairs

Once enough feedback has been collected, subscribers can generate their individual Case Report or a Cumulative Report, which combines feedback from multiple cases over a set period of time. 


Frequently Asked Questions

We hope the following are helpful to anyone interested in MAEP. Please contact the MAEP team if you have any additional queries by emailing MAEP@rcpsych.ac.uk, or calling 0208 618 4029.


I’m not a psychiatrist, can I still join and use MAEP?

Yes. Though initially made available to expert witnesses in the field of mental health, MAEP can be used by any expert providing assistance to courts and tribunals, whatever their profession. The eight domains that form the basis of the assessment support high standards of ethical and professional practice and are relevant to all expert witnesses.


What can multi-source feedback tell me?

It’s an opportunity to gain insight into how key aspects of your performance as an expert are perceived by people involved in the case (e.g. solicitors and barristers). Scores and comments can help you to identify areas of good practice as well as areas that you might further develop.


How much does MAEP cost?

Please visit the About MAEP page on the RCPsych website to see our current subscription rates.


How long does MAEP membership last?

A MAEP subscription will provide a 1-year membership term.


How is feedback reported?

Subscribers complete a self-assessment as well as asking colleagues/professionals for their feedback on a case-by-case basis. The questionnaire for professionals (for example, instructing solicitors) involved in the instant case contain the same questions based on eight domains of expert witness practice.

MAEP reports present self-assessment scores in the context of scores and qualitative feedback from professionals involved in the case. Feedback associated with the particular case is provided in a Case Report. MAEP can also generate a Cumulative Report, which is designed to collate feedback from various Case Reports.


How many reports can I generate as a member of MAEP? 

You can generate as many Case Reports and Cumulative Reports as you wish within your membership term. If you have enough responses, feedback that you can associate with a particular case may assist you more than the same feedback in a cumulative report. Although you may need cumulative reports no more than annually, a circumstance may arise, such as an enquiry from potential instructing solicitors, for which you may want to submit evidence as to your expert witness.


How many feedback responses do I need before I can request my report to be generated?

We recommend that you collect at least two responses for Case Reports.

For a Cumulative Report, at least four responses across all the cases entered on the system are required.

For both reports, this is alongside completing your self-assessment. If collecting the above amount of responses is not achievable, please contact the MAEP team. 


From whom should I obtain feedback?

In many cases, subscribers may only wish to request feedback from solicitors and barristers from their instructing party. If the report has been disclosed to another party or parties involved in the case, it may be instructive to seek additional feedback from the adverse party’s/parties’ instructing solicitors, barrister(s), and any expert instructed by them.

If your MAEP report is read by the judge or if you give oral evidence, feedback may also be requested from the judge. Judges in the family courts are expected to provide feedback to experts and may comment on experts and their reports in their judgements. MAEP will enable them to provide structured and anonymous feedback.


Will feedback be sought from the subjects of reports?

At present, feedback will only be collected from other professionals involved in the case.


When should I obtain feedback?

You should seek feedback when the case is concluded. In a civil case where a report has been sought at the pre-action stage and proceedings are not issued, it is when the decision is taken not to issue proceedings. In a civil case which is discontinued or which settles without going to trial it is following discontinuation or settlement. If the case goes to trial, feedback may be requested at any point once the proceedings have concluded.

As it may be a while before you have completed cases about which to obtain feedback, you may consider seeking feedback about cases completed in the few months prior to your registration in the scheme.


Which types of cases can I use MAEP for?

MAEP can be used to assess performance as an expert in all courts and tribunals and in other circumstances where expert evidence is needed to resolve disputes (e.g. civil, criminal, family, employment tribunals and coronial cases). The tool is suitable for cases that are settled or do not proceed to trial, as well as those that go to trial.


How long does the MAEP process take?

The MAEP process per case will only last as long as it takes for the various people involved in the proceedings to submit their feedback. Reports can then be produced within one working day when all feedback has been received.


Could unfair criticism from one person skew my results?

A number of people involved in the case will complete the assessments and their responses are aggregated so that negative responses from one person will not necessarily affect the mean scores. Please be aware that we do not share individual responses with participants.

If subscribers nominate several people for feedback, they will be able to download their feedback on a case by case basis. This means that they will know to which specific case the free text comments relate. The qualitative feedback can complement the numerical scores and offer additional insight into the subscriber’s strengths and areas for development. The experience from other multi-source feedback tools which use free text is that participants find this component of the assessment valuable and encouraging. 


With whom should I share my report?

Firstly, you should take time yourself to reflect on what you can learn from the report. After that, the best setting to discuss your report is with your peer group and in your appraisal meeting. You may also want to say that you participate in MAEP on your CV and in any expert witness register.


What should I do if I am concerned about my results?

Discuss any concerns with your peer group, with another trusted colleague or mentor, or the colleague who is conducting your appraisal.

Please remember that MAEP is not an examination; there is no pass or fail, and the process is designed to be formative, which means enabling you to reflect on and improve your practice.


Could the results affect my revalidation?

There is no ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ in MAEP.  The purpose of inclusion of multi-source feedback in GMC revalidation procedures is to encourage reflective practice, and to ensure that doctors are engaging in a process of identifying areas for improvement. 


What if I enrol and do not complete the process?

If you wish to withdraw from MAEP, please contact the team within 30 days of registration and we will offer you a full refund as long as you have not activated your account.


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