Amendment to the Veterinary Surgeons Act will “provide regulation in line with modern practice” by ensuring that the same group of people is not responsible for both setting the rules and investigating complaints.
A Legislative Reform Order (LRO) that will allow the RCVS to re-constitute it’s disciplinary committees has been rubber stamped by DEFRA minister David Heath.
The LRO was signed off by Mr Heath earlier this month (January 17) and will come into force on April 6.
By amending part one of schedule two of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (VSA), the order requires that the RCVS preliminary investigation and disciplinary committees are made up of vets and lay members who are not council members, and who are appointed independently.
This will provide regulation in line with modern practice, by ensuring that the same group of people is not responsible for setting the rules, investigating complaints and adjudication, and by bringing lay people formally into the preliminary investigation committee.
According to the college, at every stage of Parliamentary scrutiny the order was commended as an effective means to address the single biggest deficit of the VSA, and to improve how the profession is regulated.
It is hoped the LRO will increase the pool of people available to investigate complaints and sit on disciplinary hearings, reducing the workload of individual committee members whose primary appointment is to council.
RCVS president Jacqui Molyneux said: “I am delighted the LRO has been made and I am immensely thankful for the hard work of the DEFRA team and my colleagues in the college.
“The LRO is the single biggest reform to the regulation of veterinary surgeons since the 1966 act, and it will bring the RCVS in line with regulatory best practice and improve the perception of the independence of the RCVS disciplinary processes.”