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Information for candidates

Before you submit your nomination to stand for election to RCVS Council in 2022, please read the following important information, which includes guidance notes and our frequently asked questions about the RCVS Council elections.

Please note, the nomination form and candidate information form can be downloaded from the 'Related documents' box below.

Guidance notes

Election Scheme

1. The election of members to RCVS Council is conducted in accordance with the Election Scheme made by the Privy Council under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (however, please see details below of new governance arrangements in paragraphs 4-5). A PDF of the Scheme is available for download.

2. Every candidate for election to the Council must be a member of the RCVS, and must not be resident in the Republic of Ireland, unless he/she has retained his/her right to vote in Council elections, pursuant to the provisions of the Veterinary Surgeons (Agreement with the Republic of Ireland) Order 1988.

3. An informal job specification about the role of prospective Council Members, including around key behaviours and skillsets, is set out on our page, 'How to stand for election'. This also gives further information about how Council members are involved in decision-making processes for the RCVS as well as typical activities, expectations and responsibilities, time commitment, and the rules and principles they are expected to abide by under the Code of Conduct for Council and Committee Members.

New governance arrangements

4. In May 2018, a Legislative Reform Order amending the governance arrangements of the RCVS received ministerial approval. This amendment made a number of changes to the composition of RCVS Council, including a reduction in the number of elected places available on Council from 24 to 13 over a staged transition. This means that in 2022 there are three places up for election.

5. Further details are available in 'Information for candidates', which presents the new arrangements.

Nomination and election timetable

6. The election is run on behalf of the RCVS by Civica Election Services (CES), which undertakes the ballot and election administration for a number of professional bodies and trade unions.

7. You are welcome to contact the Registrar, Eleanor Ferguson (, the CEO, Lizzie Lockett ( or the President, Dr Kate Richards ( for more information about the role of the College and/or RCVS Council members. RCVS Council will also be holding an open online meeting on Thursday, 20 January 2022, prior to the closure date for Council candidates. Prospective candidates are welcome to attend the Council meeting as an observer. Please contact Dawn Wiggins, RCVS Council Secretary, on if you wish to attend.

8. The timetable* for the 2022 election is:

  1. Closing date for submission of nominations - 5pm, Monday, 31 January 2022
  2. Distribution of voting papers to members (approx.) - Week commencing Monday, 14 March 2022
  3. Closing date for receiving votes - 5pm, Friday, 22 April 2022
  4. Candidates informed of results - Monday, 25 April 2022
  5. New Council Members join Council - Friday, 8 July 2022 (RCVS AGM)

(*Guideline dates subject to change, with the exception of closing date for submissions, which will always be 31 January each year)

9. As soon as possible following the date when Civica Election Services sends the results to the RCVS, the Executive Office will contact all candidates individually to pass on the results; candidates are therefore asked to let the office know where and how they can best be contacted on that day. Once all the candidates have been told the results they will be published.


10. Those wishing to stand for election should return their completed Nomination Form by email to Dawn Wiggins on, ensuring that it reaches the RCVS by the date/time stated above. Please note that we require electronic signatures from candidates and their two proposers upon submission of the form. These signatures can either be added to the nomination form itself or attached as electronic picture files (preferably Jpegs) to an email when you submit your nomination form. Further instructions on electronic signatures can be found in the FAQs for candidates.

NB forms received after the closing date/time will not be accepted.

11. The two proposers must be members of the RCVS and include their registered address in the nomination form. Before filling in the nomination form, we recommend contacting our Registration Department on 020 7202 0707 to double check your registered address as this may be different from your correspondence or practice address. Proposers may not be members of the Council of the College nor may they be resident in the Republic of Ireland, unless he/she has retained his/her right to vote in Council elections, pursuant to the provisions of the Veterinary Surgeons (Agreement with the Republic of Ireland) Order 1988.

12. No proposer may nominate more than one candidate.

13. The nomination form may be accompanied by:

  1. the Candidate Information Form* containing:
    1. full name, title and qualifications;
    2. contact details, including any or all of: postal address, telephone number(s), email address, campaign website (for example, Facebook or Twitter account).  NB Only the address listed in the RCVS Register will be included on the secure voting website; an alternative contact address may be included on the Candidate Information Form; and,
    3. Candidate biography and statement for publication on the secure voting website (see ‘Candidate biography and statement’ section). *Please note that this will be used as a web profile and all information will be publicly available on the RCVS website.
  2. a recent colour photograph in digital format (at highest resolution possible, i.e. minimum of 300dpi at 100%).

14. Forms and photographs must be submitted in electronic format and via email to

15. All statements and photographs supplied will be published on the RCVS website and distributed to all members of the profession eligible to vote, prior to the start of the election period, to allow members of the profession to submit questions to candidates. Candidate statements and photographs will also be included on the secure voting website so that voters can read them before casting their votes. Photographs and statements may also be made available for publication in the veterinary press.

16. All nominations will be acknowledged, and the RCVS will confirm that the names and addresses of the candidates and proposers conform to those in the RCVS Register.

Candidate biography and statement

17. The biography should be no more than 200 words and the statement no more than 300 words (excluding name, qualifications and contact details). These will be published on both the RCVS website and the secure voting website.

18. The biography should contain information about a candidate’s education and training, previous and current employment, relevant achievements, membership of other organisations, interests and hobbies etc., but it should not contain any testimonials. Candidates should also declare any relevant conflicts of interest in this section.

19. The statement is an opportunity for candidates to promote their suitability to serve on RCVS Council and set out what they could bring to the Council and the activities of the RCVS. Candidates may wish to address current issues facing the RCVS and the veterinary profession generally, and/or those that might arise in the future. Candidates who are previous or existing Council Members may also, or instead, wish to highlight their RCVS-related activities and contributions to the work of the Council and its committees.

20. It is strongly recommended that candidates familiarise themselves with the role and function of the RCVS and that of Council Members so their manifestos can be as relevant as possible. Please see 'How to stand for election' and 'Role of Council Members' for further details.

21. Candidates should ensure that their election statements do not contain claims that are inconsistent with the legal position of the RCVS and should be aware that the Election Scheme gives the Registrar, as the Returning Officer, power to delete any material that s/he considers to be defamatory, or the publication of which would be unlawful or factually misleading.

22. Hyperlinks or web addresses are not permitted in either the candidate biography or candidate statement. Any such details included in either section will be removed. A single web address or hyperlink to a campaign website, such as a Facebook or Twitter account, is permitted in the contact details.

23. Candidates who are currently involved in the investigation of a complaint against them which has been, or might be, referred to the Disciplinary Committee, or the RCVS Conduct Panel (in the case of complaints made against a current Council or committee member under the Council Code of Conduct), or who have anything in their private or professional life which, if it became known, would embarrass the College, are particularly asked to consider whether standing for election might be inappropriate and represent a conflict of interest until the matter is resolved.

24. NB Candidates wishing to submit statements should ensure they are received by the RCVS by 5pm on 31 January 2022.  No late submissions will be accepted and those exceeding the word count will not be included unless adjustments can be made before the closing date.


25. Candidates may canvass members either orally or in writing. The RCVS will supply a single set of names and postal addresses of all members in electronic format to any candidate upon request – please note, however, this information will not be available before the names of the members standing have been announced. Any candidate wanting sub-sets of data, eg all members in Scotland, or in a particular age or demographic category, will be charged £60 + VAT for the cost of producing such an extract from the database. It is expected that any communications to members will be legal, decent, honest, and truthful, and that election expenses will be kept to a reasonable level.

26. In recent years we have organised ‘Quiz the Candidates’, which gives members of the profession the opportunity to pose a question to the candidates directly. We have then asked all candidates to produce a video recording of themselves answering two of these questions, which we publish on our website and social media channels. It is anticipated this may be repeated in 2022. Whilst it is not compulsory to participate in Quiz the Candidates, we consider that it enables candidates to make their points in a way that will engage a broader range of voters than the paper manifestos alone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Filter FAQs

RCVS Council elections

  • Those considering standing for election first need to secure nomination from two individuals who must be veterinary surgeons registered with the RCVS, but not current Council members.

    There is then paperwork for you to fill out, as well as paperwork for your nominees. Both can be found at, together with guidance notes.

    For you, there is a short form, which includes your name, qualifications, address, and other contact details.

    You are then asked to include a short (max 200 words) biography and (max 300 words) personal statement.

    You also need to send us a high-resolution digital image which will be used both on the RCVS website and on the secure voting website. Both of these will be made accessible to all voters.

    Meanwhile your proposers need to complete a form that asks for their name and Register information and you will also need to obtain electronic signatures from both.

    The paperwork needs to be submitted to Dawn Wiggins via email on at the RCVS by no later than 5pm on 31 January 2022.

    Please note that your nomination will require electronic signatures from you and your supporters. The best method would be to scan copies of the physical signatures and save them as electronic picture files (preferably Jpegs). These could then either be added in the relevant section of the nomination form or they could be attached to the email when you submit your paperwork. Either will be accepted.

  • No, you can be a non-practising or overseas-practising member, but you must be on the RCVS Register.

    1. Closing date for submission of nominations - 5pm, Monday, 31 January 2022
    2. Distribution of voting papers to members (approx.) - Week commencing Monday, 14 March 2022
    3. Closing date for receiving votes - 5pm, Friday, 22 April 2022
    4. Candidates informed of results - Monday, 25 April 2022
    5. New members join Council - Friday, 8 July 2022 (Royal College Day)

    *With the exception of the closing date for submission of nominations, dates are a guideline.

  • Following the introduction of the new governance arrangements RCVS Council, in the three years to July 2021, is transitioned to a size and structure comprising:

    • 13 elected veterinary surgeons
    • Three individuals appointed collectively by the eight UK veterinary schools
    • Six independently appointed lay persons
    • Two veterinary nurses elected or appointed by the Veterinary Nurses Council
  • Your statement needs to be legal, decent, honest and truthful.

    Links to websites etc. are not permitted in your biography or statement. (You may publish a link to a single campaigning website, for example a Facebook or Twitter account, in your contact details.)  Testimonials are not permitted in the biography section.

    We aim to publish exactly as submitted – which means that any typographical errors will also be included  - so do please double-check that you are happy with it before you send it to us.

    We ask that election statements do not include content that is defamatory or otherwise unlawful, or factually misleading. The Registrar may, in the absence of agreement with the candidate to amend the statement, either edit the election statement before circulating it or decide not to circulate it.

    The Code of Professional Conduct pertains to the publication of your statement, as much as any other element of your professional life.

    More detail about what to include in your statement is included in the ‘Information for candidates’.

  • There is no limit to the number of election candidates each year.

    Now that Council has completed the transition to the smaller number and different structure, either three or four members will retire each year depending at what stage the members joined RCVS Council in the transition cycle.

    The new arrangements also introduce term limits (see below).

    Over the last five elections, there has been an average of 11 candidates standing for Council.

  • Each term is a maximum of four years, although some Council members may retire early for personal reasons.

    The term of office remains at four years, but a maximum limit of three consecutive terms has been introduced. A mandatory two-year break is required before a person may stand again.

    Under the Code of Conduct for Council and Committee Members a mechanism is in place so that Council members may be investigated and potentially removed for issues relating to poor conduct/behaviour. 

  • This depends on the committees and working parties on which you are asked to sit. RCVS committees generally sit four times a year.

    The new smaller Council meets more frequently (usually six, but up to eight, times per year) allowing it to communicate more effectively with the profession and to make decisions in a more timely fashion.

    You may also be asked to join a working party on a particular issue, and there may be other College events and activities that you can attend on a voluntary basis.

    On average, therefore, successful candidates might expect to spend around 12-to-15 days a year on Council business in terms of formal meetings during their first year on Council. Additional time will be required to keep on top of emails, read paperwork etc.

    As your Council career develops, you may be required to take a more active role meaning that you may be expected to spend more than the average days a year on Council business, for example, if you become a Committee Chair or member of the Officer Team.

  • As the RCVS is currently in the process of moving out of its offices at Belgravia House, 62 – 64 Horseferry Road, Westminster we cannot guarantee at present where future meetings of RCVS Council will take place, although we are aiming to hold around 50% of these meetings virtually. However, more information about where the RCVS will be holding its committee and council meetings will be published in due course. 

    (Note: during the Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of meetings have been held virtually.)

  • Under the new governance arrangements the new smaller Council meets more frequently (likely six, but up to eight, times per year).

    In 2022, Council meetings are scheduled in January, March, June, July (RCVS Day), September and November. Committee meetings are four times per year in February, May, September, and November.

    Subcommittees and working parties meet on a more ad hoc basis, and it is sometimes possible to join by conference call/video conference.

  • We certainly try to be, both for staff and Council members. Council and Committee meetings are planned at least a year in advance, although additional meetings may be added at shorter notice. Generally, there are fewer meetings during the holiday periods because we follow an academic calendar. We also have baby-changing facilities on the premises.

  • Council members are not paid directly for the work they do. However, employers can claim a loss of earnings allowance on your behalf (and, if you are self-employed, you can do this). The rate is set at £325 per day.

    Additional reading/administration time can be claimed at the end of the College year if the meetings had been attended:

    • RCVS Council – two days
    • RCVS Council committee members – one day
    • Chairs of RCVS Council committees – two days


  • Yes, reasonable expenses are covered, including an overnight stay in London, if that is required.

  • Council members are effectively trustees of the RCVS and have overall responsibility for RCVS activities. As stated in the answer to Question 7, you will be expected to abide by the Code of Conduct for Council and Committee Members, incorporating the Seven Principles of Public Life (the ‘Nolan principles’).

  • The role of the RCVS is to set, uphold and advance veterinary standards. It is not a representative body for the profession, although it is important that its Council members are representative of the profession at large.

    RCVS Council sets the strategic direction of the College, by, among other things:

    • Agreeing the strategic plan (you can find the strategy online)
    • Approving the annual budget and operational plan
    • Overseeing the strategic management of organisational risk
    • Electing the President, Vice-Presidents, Treasurer, and main committee Chairs
    • Creating committees and setting their terms of reference
    • Making major policy decisions
    • Appointing the CEO and Registrar

    More detail about the role of Council and of Council members can be found in 'How to stand for election' and 'Information for candidates'

  • New Council members are invited to an induction day at the College where they meet the President and senior staff to find out more about the role of Council and the activities of the College, and ongoing training is set throughout the year.

    Council members are happy to support newly-elected members with informal advice and a formal mentoring role was also introduced in 2017.

  • You are welcome to contact the Registrar, Eleanor Ferguson (, the CEO, Lizzie Lockett (, or the President, Dr Kate Richards (, for more information.

  • Our Council members tell us that being on Council has broadened their horizons and allowed them to meet people and go places they never would normally have done.

    In some cases, it has given them back the buzz about their profession that they enjoyed when they first graduated. They feel good about giving something back to their profession – and often the employers benefit too, from having someone on their team ‘at the heart’ of the governance of the profession.

    Council work can also count as CPD if you feel it has helped you meet your development objectives.

    Why not watch our video, in which some current Council members talk about why they stood for election, what life is really like on Council, how to juggle Council work and the ‘day job’ and what benefits you can expect to gain.

  • Regular Council meetings are held in public and any member is welcome to attend, providing there is space. There is one public Council meeting during the nomination period (Thursday, 20 January 2022). Please contact Dawn Wiggins on for more information.

    Paperwork from past Council meetings will give you an indication of the type of business conducted.