Legislative reform order amends the Veterinary Surgeons Act to make RCVS disciplinary committees separate from council.

The Legislative Reform Order (LRO) to reconstitute the RCVS disciplinary committees separately from its council is now law.

Gordon Hockey.By amending the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, the LRO (which became law on April 6) brings the RCVS in line with regulatory best practice and improves the independence of the RCVS disciplinary processes. It is also seen by the college as a key stage in it becoming a “first rate regulator”.

The amendment made by the LRO requires the RCVS preliminary investigation (PIC) and disciplinary committees (DC) are made up of veterinary surgeons and lay members who are not council members, and who are appointed independently. This is designed to ensure the same group of people is not responsible for setting the rules, investigating complaints and adjudication.

The LRO also brings lay people formally into the PIC and will allow the RCVS to increase the pool of people available to investigate complaints and sit on disciplinary hearings.

By July, the first external members will join the disciplinary and preliminary investigation committees and after a two-year transition period, members of the RCVS council will become ineligible for membership of these committees.

RCVS registrar Gordon Hockey said: “The LRO has been the culmination of many years of hard work by the RCVS and DEFRA, with the support of the British Veterinary Association. At first glance, the change that the LRO makes to the act may appear minor, but the reform fundamentally improves the way the veterinary profession is regulated, and will help to ensure public confidence in the RCVS disciplinary processes.”

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