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Diversity & Inclusion Working Group (DIG)

The Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (DIG) aims to break down barriers with regards to selection, recruitment and retention to encourage more diversity within the professions – including, but not limited to, ethnic, socio-economic and sexual orientation diversity. [View full terms of reference below]


Organisations represented on DIG are as follows:

  • Association of Veterinary Students
  • British Veterinary Association
  • British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society
  • British Veterinary LGBT+ Group
  • British Veterinary Nursing Association
  • British Veterinary Chronic Illness Support
  • Major Employers Group
  • Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons 
  • Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons
  • Veterinary Schools Council

Full terms of reference

  • To develop a set of key messages to help ensure that all stakeholders understand the benefits of a diverse and inclusive veterinary team, which could form a statement of intent.
  • To make an assessment of the current state of diversity within the veterinary professions, taking account of ethnicity, socio-economic group, gender, sexuality, disabilities and any other relevant groups, based on available statistics, and to benchmark these against other professions. The commissioning of some research may be required at this stage.
  • To develop an understanding of the barriers to a more diverse profession, considering factors such as selection and recruitment to veterinary school; recruitment to the workplace; attitudes and support within the workplace and other aspects – this would involve liaison with specific groups that represent the interests of minorities who may not be represented on the WG.
  • To consider what the role of the RCVS might be in changing the culture, making direct interventions, encouraging change from others and supporting other relevant organisations. This would include a review of what other regulators do, both within and outside the veterinary profession, in the UK and overseas.
  • To ensure RCVS staff, Council and committee members and other groups have adequate awareness of the issues and are provided with training and development to mitigate any unhelpful behaviours. This may include surveys to understand current levels of conscious and unconscious bias.
  • To establish what success would look like, how long this might take and how it might be measured.

Principles of engagement

  • Safe-space – by its nature, the subject matter we will discuss may be personal and difficult for some members of the Group. The WG will be a safe non-judgemental space for discussion. Matters will only be reported in minutes against a name if there is a specific pre-agreed reason to do so.
  • Future-focused – although we will need to spend time understanding the issues, we will then commit to moving forward and not spending time narrating the problems on an ongoing basis.
  • Solutions-oriented – we need to take a pragmatic approach to discovering concrete actions we can take, and understand where we can have best influence.
  • Evidence-based – where possible, our interventions will be backed by evidence.
  • Democratic – everyone in the room has equal voice, they represent their stakeholder groups but also bring their personal experience to bear.
  • All in it together – problems are not just for the RCVS to fix, but for all stakeholders within the profession to work on together.

Read our Diversity and Inclusion Group Strategy