The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has extended its alternative dispute resolution (ADR) trial until October 2015.
The trial, which was originally due to end in May, aims to gather evidence needed to develop a permanent scheme. This will, said the RCVS, provide an alternative form of resolution for the many concerns raised with the RCVS that do not meet the college’s threshold for serious professional misconduct and are, therefore, not taken through its disciplinary process.
As well as the time-frame being extended, the trial will also be widened to include concerns raised about the treatment of horses and other equines in addition to those raised about small animals.
Furthermore, the RCVS has also lowered the maximum financial award that can be recommended by the Ombudsman Services – the not-for-profit complaints resolution service administering the trial – to £3,000 for small animal cases. The maximum financial award that can be recommended for equine cases remains at £10,000.
RCVS chief executive Nick Stace said: “The trial got off to a slower start than we expected, so we’ve extended its length and breadth to allow more time and scope to gather the evidence and testimonies we need to assess the trial.
“It’s important to stress the trial is free, voluntary – as both parties must agree to take part – and that recommendations made by the Ombudsman Services are not binding. It is up to either party as to whether they accept them.”
The results of the trial will be reported to the November meeting of RCVS council.
For more information, visit the RCVS website.