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Lifting our eyes to the horizon

Lizzie Lockett - RCVS CEO

In this blog, RCVS CEO Lizzie Lockett gives an update on the College’s 2020 – 2024 Strategic Plan, including what’s been achieved, and what is to come.

Lizzie LockettThanks to January seeming like a month that never ends, we are now fully ensconced into 2023, the penultimate year of our five-year Strategic Plan and one during which, I hope, we can return our eyes to the horizon and look forward.

For me, 2020 felt like the year where everything stopped, with all hands on-deck to deal with the immediate problems of the pandemic response (although in reality lots of strategic and preparatory work continued to be done). 2021 was then a year of recovery, in which we tried to steer things back on course despite continuing pandemic pressures as well as the acute workforce crisis. Of course, there were also many notable achievements, such as the launch of VetGDP, the Workforce Summit, and the publication of our recommendations for legislative reform.

Despite ongoing economic and political difficulties, and of course the fallout of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, for the College 2022 felt like a year in which we finally had the opportunity to really push forward with our ‘Four Cs’ agenda – those being the workstreams on clarity, compassion, courage and confidence. This included the launch of the RCVS Academy, the changes to the accreditation standards and processes for veterinary degrees, completing the purchase of a new headquarters for the RCVS and launching our VN School Ambassadors programme.

This year, I hope that the RCVS can continue on this trajectory and start to think about how the landscape of the sector has changed, what it looks like now, and how we can respond so that we can continue to focus on our principles on behalf of both the professions and the public in this new hybrid world.

To this end, we will be progressing with the set-up of the Public Advisory Group, which will help the College to better understand the needs of today’s animal-owning public and how best to communicate with them. Whilst we have plenty of ways of directly communicating with members of the professions, the opportunities to do so with the huge diversity of people who own, look after or rely on animals is more difficult. The aim is that the PAG (a working name at this stage!) and the individuals who join the Group will help us to better appreciate the concerns, priorities and needs of the animal-owning public.

Looking to the (hopefully not too distant!) future, we will also be continuing to speak to MPs, Peers, Ministers and stakeholder groups about the importance of the government adopting our agenda of new forward-looking and future-proofed legislation, that would finally reflect where the profession is now rather than where it was 60 years ago.

Additionally, 2023 will see us finalise and bed-in priorities that have been worked on for a number of years. For example, with our new continuing professional development (CPD) policy, including use of our 1CPD app to record and reflect, coming to force, and the formal adoption of our new accreditation standards and methodology.

On a similar note, following the approval of new ‘under care’ and 24/7 emergency cover guidance at this month’s RCVS Council meeting, our Standards & Advice Team are working on case studies and other materials to help the professions clearly understand how to work within the new framework ahead of it coming into force in the second half of this year.

Following its launch last summer, we will also be expanding the number of courses we have on the RCVS Academy, our free, online learning platform. The aim of the Academy is to help the professions better understand their professional responsibilities, and forthcoming content this year will concentrate on different aspects of the Code and its supporting guidance.

But it’s not all just about future-gazing. As any historian worth their salt will tell you, knowing our past is key to understanding where we are now, and helping us determine our future – not least in helping us avoid previous pitfalls. This is why the archives team at RCVS Knowledge undertook painstaking work to preserve, protect and transport our historical artefacts, artwork and documents when we left Belgravia House. Now safely in storage until we move into our new premises, we plan to do more with them in our new building to help tell the story of the veterinary professions so that our visitors can get a sense of its beginnings, its development, its present and its future.

Published on 31 January 2023

Tags: Events/meetings Councils & Committees