Vets and vet nurses are being called on to “stand up and be counted” as nominations open for the councils of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

Successful candidates with take part in council meetings at RCVS HQ in London.

Each year, six RCVS council seats are contested, while two seats are available for its veterinary nurses (VN) council. Successful candidates will serve four-year terms.

Existing RCVS council members Niall Connell, Sheila Crispin, Mark Elliott, Lynne Hill, Bob Moore and Lord Sandy Trees are due to retire from council next year, but are all eligible for re-election. Elizabeth Branscombe and Elizabeth Cox, meanwhile, are due to retire from VN council, but will also be eligible to stand again in 2015.

The nomination period runs until 5pm on January 31 and candidates need to complete a nomination form, submit a short biography, write a short personal statement and supply a high resolution digital photo.

Each candidate will also need to provide two nominations. For RCVS council candidates, this should be two veterinary surgeons on the RCVS register who are not current RCVS council members. For VN council candidates, nominators must be registered or listed VNs who are not current VN council members.

The election period is to begin in early March and will run until April 24. Successful candidates for either council will take up their seats at RCVS Day on July 10.

RCVS registrar Gordon Hockey said: “After a record 19 candidates – of which more than half were women − for last year’s RCVS council elections, and a good showing for VN council as well, we hope to build on that momentum this year by attracting candidates of all ages and backgrounds.

“Through their participation in the councils and their committees, members can have a big impact on the future of their respective professions by developing policy and making decisions in areas of key importance such as education and professional standards.”

Nomination forms, guidance notes and frequently asked questions for RCVS council candidates and VN council candidates can be found on the RCVS website.

Last year the RCVS produced two short videos outlining what is involved in being a council member, the benefits it can bring and the amount of time it requires, which can be viewed on YouTube.

Prospective candidates are also invited to attend a Meet the RCVS Day at Belgravia House on November 25, where they can find out more about the role of the college and council members, as well as having a tour of the building and the opportunity to talk to staff.

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