The RCVS is applying to DEFRA to amend legislation governing the make up of its disciplinary committee (DC) – a move welcomed by one councillor as “an important step” in regulation.

The RCVS is applying to DEFRA to amend legislation governing the make up of its disciplinary committee (DC). The decision to apply for a Regulatory Reform Order (RRO) was made by members of RCVS council on November 5.

GavelThe move was immediately welcomed by one councillor as “an important step” in regulation, and by another supporter as “a good example of council listening” to advice.

However, the college is not pressing ahead with changes to the composition of council itself until the proposed RRO is realised. It has also stopped short of applying for changes to the powers of the DC at the current time.

An RCVS consultation document on the 1966 Veterinary Surgeons Act (VSA) put a number of issues to members of the profession, including whether members of RCVS council should be excluded from the DC and the preliminary investigations committee (PIC).

Sandy TreesThe consultation had also asked if the DC should have jurisdiction over clinical performance and powers to impose restrictions on the future practice of individuals, as well as whether RCVS council should be made up of fewer members and contain a stronger lay voice.

Recommendations were put to council on the back of feedback from the consultation. Officers suggested the VSA should be amended by RRO so that the DC was independent of council membership.

However, it was suggested the PIC may continue in its present form. Changes to the powers of the DC should be given “further consideration”, as it was felt this required a greater overhaul of the VSA, which DEFRA has ruled out.

Following the council meeting, RCVS president Sandy Trees said the council’s decision “provides flexibility for the future”, but that the precise details of the RRO were yet to be developed and be put before Government, although he said the BVA would be consulted before a proposal was taken to DEFRA.

 

  • Extract from “RCVS pushes ahead with DC Composition changes” by Emma Cooper. For the full story, see this week’s Veterinary Times (dated November 23).
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