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Posted: 10th June 2024

RCVS opens consultation on council changes
“Governance may not be the most exciting topic, but it is the foundation on which all other aspects of the college’s work rests” – Sue Paterson.
Proposals would see the end of council elections.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has opened a consultation on its new ‘good governance’ proposals.

The proposals would see significant changes to the way that RCVS Council and Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council function, including an end to council elections.

According to the college, the recommended changes would better align the governing bodies with regulatory norms, and need to be made if there is to be legislative reform of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (VSA).

The college is proposing six changes:
  • An independent appointment system to replace council elections
  • Greater lay representation on the councils so that the RCVS is not seen to be ‘setting and marking its own homework’ as regulator
  • Allowing veterinary paraprofessionals, such as veterinary technicians and clinical animal behaviourists, to becomes council members
  • Separating the role of chair of RCVS Council from the role of president
  • Removing Veterinary Schools Council appointees
  • Reducing the size of VN Council from 14 to 12 members.

The RCVS will be hosting an interactive webinar between 7pm-8pm on Tuesday, 11 June 2024 to introduce the consultation and answer any questions. A recording of the webinar will be made available.

Sue Paterson, RCVS president, said: “The current governance structure of the RCVS is set by the VSA and updating our governance systems is a vital prerequisite to getting new primary legislation, as the outdated and out-of-step nature of our current arrangements will be clear to see.

“Governance may not be the most exciting topic, but it is the foundation on which all other aspects of the college’s work rests. As a professional regulator with animal health and welfare at our heart, the RCVS has a duty to ensure that our arrangements best serve the public on whose behalf we are entrusted to regulate and uphold veterinary standards, while still maintaining veterinary input in all our decision-making processes.

“We believe these good governance proposals help us meet this mission, ensuring that we are bringing our governance in line with regulatory norms, while still recognising our unique role as a dual regulator and royal college.”

The full proposals, with a link to the consultation, can be found on the RCVS website. The deadline for responding to the consultation is 22 July 2024.

Image © RCVS

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