Draft Performance Protocol

Draft Performance Protocol consultationThis consultation has now closed.

We are calling for comment on a new draft performance protocol which aims to manage proportionately any justified concerns about the professional performance of veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses.

The consultation paper and draft Performance Protocol may be downloaded from the 'Related documents' box on the right.

The Advisory Committee paper on the performance jurisdiction and the legal opinion on RCVS jurisdictional matters can also be downloaded.



The Preliminary Investigation Committee and Advisory Committee have been working together to develop a draft protocol setting out the way the RCVS will respond to ongoing performance-related concerns.

There is an expectation that veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses are already reviewing their clinical work in the workplace.

This will be reinforced by the new principles-based Code of Professional Conduct currently being finalised, which is likely to require clinical governance to be a part of professional practice for veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses.

Where veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses are unable to deal with ongoing performance-related concerns in the workplace, it is important that the RCVS is able to provide a supportive framework to oversee remedial steps designed to address these concerns and encourage professional development.

This may be best achieved in the public interest without a referral to the Disciplinary Committee.


Draft protocol

The draft protocol is intended to formalise and build on the way the RCVS already manages cases involving ongoing serious performance-related concerns.

It introduces new measures including supervision and undertakings, to seek to ensure that veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses take reasonable steps to address any serious performance concerns.

This will bring the RCVS into line with other professional regulators and enable a tailored and proportionate response to these cases to protect the welfare of animals and the public interest.

The current system of offering advice to veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses will remain for complaints which are closed because there is no indication of disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.

According to independent legal advice sought by the RCVS, such an approach is appropriate and necessary in order for the RCVS to fulfill its regulatory responsibilities.

The draft performance protocol follows similar legal advice that supported the implementation of the RCVS Health Protocol and both protocols clarify the parallel RCVS jurisdictions relating to health and performance-related concerns.


Your comments

Please send your comments to Simon Wiklund, Advisory Manager, by Friday, 13 January 2012, including 'Performance protocol' as the reference.

Responses will be considered by the Advisory Committee at its meeting in January and thereafter by RCVS Council in March.

It is envisaged that a new performance protocol will be in place during 2012 and will form part of the supporting guidance to the new RCVS Code of Professional Conduct and the new Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses with underpinning provisions being included in both Codes.


Other information

For information on how we investigate complaints please visit our animal owners site.

View the proposed draft RCVS Code of Professional Conduct.