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Significant changes agreed to VN Council governance

10 November 2017

At the November meeting of the RCVS Council, members approved significant changes to the set-up of VN Council in order to improve its governance and available skillsets. 

The key changes include a shortening of the term of office for VN Council members from four years to three years; introducing a three-term limit for elected members with a two-year gap before they can re-stand for VN Council; and, reducing the size and changing the composition of VN Council to six elected veterinary nurses, two appointed veterinary nurses, two appointed veterinary surgeons and four appointed lay members. Prior to the proposals being approved the composition of VN Council was eight elected veterinary nurses, four appointed veterinary surgeon members, and four appointed lay members.

The proposals had been developed by members of VN Council following a series of workshops in January this year, where issues such as the size and composition of VN Council, the availability of appropriate skills and knowledge amongst members and the support and guidance available for members were considered.

The reduction of the number of elected veterinary nurse members means that there will be no elections to VN Council in 2018 as the outgoing members will not need to be replaced.

Liz Cox, Chair of VN Council, explained: “We are very pleased that RCVS Council has agreed to our proposals to make significant changes to VN Council.

“When we started to consider the governance of VN Council it became clear that the current arrangements did not accurately reflect the breadth of skills and knowledge amongst veterinary nurses that would be required to meet the challenges confronting the profession and make decisions on its behalf.

“By making the composition of VN Council more flexible by introducing shorter terms and appointed veterinary nurses, we hope that we can widen the pool of potential members, bring in ‘new blood’ to provide a wider range of experience and different perspectives and, as a result, enhance the quality of debate and decision-making amongst the members.

“We will also be making concerted efforts to provide additional skills and training to new members on their roles and responsibilities and will set up a mentoring system so that they are paired with existing VN Council members who can show them the ropes.”

The full details of the agreed changes can be found in the papers for RCVS Council’s November meeting.

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