Defra has launched a consultation on reforming the governance arrangements of the RCVS. The move follows discussions between Defra and the RCVS on how the college might best modernise its council.

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A consultation has opened on reforming the governance arrangements of the RCVS.

Any reform should meet the unique requirements of the RCVS as a royal college that regulates and criteria already agreed by the college. Council’s decision-making role would be strengthened, for instance, by increasing the number of meetings per year. This would reduce or remove the need for a separate operational board.

Any reforms would also ensure council has sufficient members to populate the college’s committees and presidential team. The reforms would follow the government’s five principles of better regulation, by being proportionate, consistent, accountable, transparent and targeted.

Consideration of the college’s governance began in 2009. The latest consultation gives the public and profession the chance to have their say on what reforms would best prepare the college for the future. It discusses the appropriate size and composition of council, including the proportion of elected members, how veterinary schools should be represented, increasing lay membership and ensuring appropriate veterinary nurse representation.

It also examines how flexibility can be built into the reforms in case of future changes, such as the possibility of new categories of associate. Responses will inform the college’s work with Defra to determine the precise details of any new governance arrangements.

RCVS president Bradley Viner said: “I am delighted Defra is consulting on RCVS governance and the minister has the full backing of RCVS council in so doing.

“This consultation is an opportunity to hear the voice of the profession and the public about an appropriate structure and oversight of the RCVS, reflecting the uniqueness of being a royal college that regulates.

“Consulting on this important issue is in keeping with our desire to become first rate in what we do, building on other measures to modernise and improve the workings of the college.”

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