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How to stand for election

The candidate nomination period for the 2023 VN Council election is now open. 

To give you an idea of what to expect as a VN Council member, and what is expected of you, please read our handy 'job description' below.

Before you submit your nomination, please read our 'Information for candidates', which includes guidance notes and frequently asked questions, and from where you can also download the necessary forms to fill out and send back to us.

What it means to be a VN Council member

Who is the RCVS and what does VN Council do?

The role of the College is to set, uphold and advance veterinary standards, so as to enhance society through improved animal health and welfare.

It is not the role of the RCVS to represent members of the profession individually or collectively, that is for other bodies. However, the RCVS does have a role in promoting high standards in the profession, particularly in relation to education and professional conduct.

The RCVS aims to ensure that it is respected both by the public and the profession as a credible and effective organisation. It must be seen to be objectively fair and open in the way it works. It should not be perceived by the public as run by the profession, for the profession. Nor should it be seen by the profession as biased in favour of the public or unduly influenced by consumer or media criticism. In effect, the RCVS manages the interface between the profession and the public. 

VN Council is the body within the RCVS that governs and makes key decisions relating to veterinary nursing training, post-qualification awards, and the registration of qualified nurses, in line with our latest Strategic Plan.

The Strategic Plan 2020-2024 itself sets out how we will be working to achieve this vision, and is built on a foundation of four key ambitions: Clarity, Compassion, Courage and Confidence.

VN Council also has the role of helping to meet the aims of the VN Futures initiative, an ongoing collaboration with the British Veterinary Nursing Association that aims to ensure that veterinary nursing is a vibrant, rewarding and sustainable profession – now and into the future.

Read more about the work of VN Council.

What does a VN Council member do?

VN Council members, whether elected or appointed, are expected to attend around four VN Council meetings every year where they will be responsible for making a variety of decisions. These could be, for example:

  • To set standards for the training and education of persons wishing to be entered in the Register of Veterinary Nurses.
  • To set requirements in relation to the registration and conduct of veterinary nurses and thereafter recommend to RCVS Council amendments to registration, discipline and conduct rules.
  • To ensure compliance with the requirements of the relevant regulatory authorities relating to vocational qualifications in veterinary nursing.
  • To establish and keep under review schemes for post-qualification training and continuing professional development for veterinary nurses, and the outcomes to be achieved, with a view to recording an additional entry in the Register of Veterinary Nurses.
  • To recommend to the Finance & Resources Committee a budget and levels of fees to be charged.

Read more about current VN Council members.

In exercising its functions, the Veterinary Nurses Council shall ensure that the welfare of animals and good veterinary practice are central to its work.

Committees and working parties

VN Council has its own VN Education Committee which reports on visitation panels to Awarding Organisations and Higher Education Institutions, their delivery sites and training practices; and makes recommendations to VN Council on the recognition of veterinary nursing qualifications.

Members of VN Council may be asked to sit on this committee and/or on a number of other RCVS standing committees, subcommittees or working parties that have been set up to consider specific issues.

Standing committees have delegated powers to make key decisions in areas related to their remit. Our key standing committees with representatives from VN Council are:

  • Advancement of the Professions Committee: coordinates and develops RCVS activities that help to advance the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions, such as our leadership initiative, the Mind Matters mental health initiative and ViVet innovation programme;
  • Education Committee: sets policy for undergraduate and postgraduate education and training, as well as for CPD, statuses such as RCVS Advanced Practitioner and RCVS Specialist, and postgraduate support programmes;
  • Finance & Resources Committee: responsible for ensuring the finances, resources and framework of the College governance system is fit for purpose;
  • Registration Committee: responsible for activities relating to the registration of veterinary and veterinary nurse members of the College, including potential new associate professions of the RCVS;
  • Standards Committee: makes decisions relating to the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct and supporting guidance for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses as well as the provision of advice and guidance on specific topics.

View our full list of Committees, subcommittees and groups

What is expected of VN Council members?

If elected or appointed on to VN Council, you have a responsibility to make yourself available for meetings of the Council and any committees, subcommittees or working parties, to which you might have been appointed.

As well as attending meetings, you will be expected to read papers and give appropriate consideration to issues to ensure that you are making decisions on a fully informed basis.

To begin with, we would estimate you would spend between 6 and 8 days a year on VN Council and committee business. We also recognise that everyone has professional and personal obligations and we will try and be as flexible as possible in accommodating your needs. This includes a loss of earnings allowance paid to your employer (or you, if you are self-employed), plus reasonable expenses incurred.

All Council members are subject to a specific Code of Conduct for Council and Committee Memberswhich sets out the high and respectful standards that those who act in the name of the RCVS are expected to adhere to when conducting themselves and the business of the RCVS.

In particular, we would draw your attention to the ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’ (known as the Nolan Principles), the ethical standards expected of public office holders covering: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.