The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has claimed proposals for a new Royal Charter for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) are too broad and need further consideration.

In a consultation response to the RCVS’ draft charter, the BVA welcomes the opportunity to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the college, but outlines areas of concern.

Changes welcomed by the association include moves to provide for the regulation of veterinary nurses as associates of the college, as well as the option to regulate other paraprofessionals.

However, areas where BVA is requesting further discussion include:

  • The broad scope for future activities given to the RCVS – the BVA is “concerned” the draft charter’s wording could mean additional activities could be justified at a later date, if deemed by the college to further the achievement of its objectives.
  • The proposed activities of “supporting the continued development and examination of new knowledge and skills” and “providing information services to the veterinary professions” –  BVA believes these are very broad and could be more tightly defined to better accommodate the differentiation between regulatory and representative functions.
  • The proposal the RCVS may “establish, promote, encourage and support, financially or otherwise, any body… whose objects are similar to its own” – the BVA believes this is “far too broad” and is seeking clarification on the types of organisation this may encompass.

President of the BVA Robin Hargreaves said:

“BVA has long supported the recognition of the role of veterinary nurses, who are an essential part of the veterinary team, and we welcome the proposals to provide a mechanism for regulation of the veterinary nursing profession.

“We also welcome the opportunity to update the charter and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the RCVS as the regulatory body for the veterinary profession. However, we have identified a number of areas in the draft charter that we believe are too broad and that need to be discussed further and more narrowly defined.

“Although we have been assured informally it is not the intention of the RCVS to redefine its activities in a way that would encroach on the remit of BVA and our divisions, this is not explicitly reflected in the draft of the new charter. While we accept it is not the purpose of a charter to define what an organisation will not do, clearer and more constrained aims in the activity areas outlined would help reinforce the trust the RCVS enjoys with its members.
“Any blurring of the line between regulating veterinary surgeons and advocating for the veterinary profession could undermine public trust in our regulatory system, so we are asking the RCVS to discuss with us our areas of concern so that we can frame the new charter more clearly in everyone’s interests.”

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