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Information for candidates

Before you submit your nomination to stand for election to VN Council in 2021, please read the following important information, which includes guidance notes and our frequently asked questions about the VN 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 Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council is conducted in accordance with the Election Scheme made by the Privy Council under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (and amended in 2006) which governs the election of RCVS Council members. A PDF of the Scheme is available for download.

2. VN Council is responsible for policy on all regulatory matters relating to veterinary nursing.

3. Candidates must be Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs). An informal job specification about the role of prospective VN Council members, including around key behaviours and skillsets, is set out under 'How to stand for election'. This also gives further information about how VN 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.

4. Following changes to the governance of Veterinary Nurses Council, decided by VN Council members in 2017 to bring it in to line with similar changes to RCVS Council, the number of elected veterinary nurse members has been reduced from eight to six. This means that, each year, two members are elected to Veterinary Nurses Council to serve a three-year term. Elected members may serve a maximum of three consecutive terms, after which they will not be eligible to stand again for election for a period of two years. As well as elected members, Veterinary Nurses Council also comprises appointed veterinary surgeon, lay and veterinary nurse members to ensure as wide a range of views and experience as possible. 

Nomination and election timetable

5. 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.

6. You are welcome to contact the Secretary to VN Council, Annette Amato (a.amato@rcvs.org.uk), the Director of Veterinary Nursing, Julie Dugmore RVN (j.dugmore@rcvs.org.uk), or VN Council Chair, Matthew Rendle RVN (VNCchair@rcvs.org.uk) for more information about the role of the College and/or VN Council members. VN Council will also be holding an open online meeting on Thursday, 21 January 2021, prior to the closure date for Council candidates. Prospective candidates are welcome to attend the Council meeting as an observer. Please contact Annette Amato if you wish to attend.

7. The timetable* for the 2021 election is:

  1. Closing date for submission of nominations - 5pm, Sunday, 31 January 2021
  2. Distribution of voting papers to members (approx.) - Week commencing Monday, 15 March 2021
  3. Closing date for receiving votes - 5pm, Friday, 23 April 2021
  4. Candidates informed of results - Monday, 26 April 2021
  5. New Council Members join Council - Friday, 9 July 2021 (RCVS AGM)

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

8. As soon as possible following the date when Civica Election Services sends the results to us, we will contact all candidates individually to pass on the results; candidates are therefore asked to let Annette Amato, the Secretary to VN Council, 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.

Documentation

9. Those wishing to stand for election should return their completed Nomination Form by email to Annette Amato on a.amato@rcvs.org.uk, ensuring that it reaches the RCVS by 5pm on Sunday 31 January. 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.

10. The two proposers must be registered veterinary nurses and include their registered address in the nomination form. No proposer may nominate more than one candidate. Proposers must not be VN Council members.

11. Please ensure that:

a. VN numbers (RCVS Registration Number) for the candidate and both proposers are given.

b. the address given for the candidate is the registered address, ie that which appears in the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses.

c. addresses given by proposers are also the registered address (that published in the Register).

d. the candidate’s electronic signature and those of two proposers are provided.

12. 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 of Veterinary Nurses 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).
  2. a recent colour photograph in digital format (at highest resolution possible, ie minimum of 300dpi at 100%).

13. Forms and photographs must be submitted in electronic format and via email to a.amato@rcvs.org.uk

14. All statements and photographs supplied will be published on the RCVS website and circulated to all members of the profession eligible to vote in a VN Council Election Special, 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.

15. 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

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. The statement is an opportunity for candidates to promote their suitability to serve on VN 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 nursing profession generally, and/or those that might arise in the future. Candidates who are previous or existing VN Council members may also, or instead, wish to highlight their RCVS-related activities and contributions to the work of the VN Council and its committees.

19. It is strongly recommended that candidates familiarise themselves with the role and function of the RCVS and that of VN Council Members so their manifestos can be as relevant as possible.

20. 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.

21. 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.

22. Candidates who are currently involved in the investigation of a complaint against them which has been, or might be, referred to the RVN Disciplinary Committee, or the RCVS Conduct Panel (in the case of complaints made against a current VN Council or committee member under the Code of Conduct for Council and Committee Members), 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.

23. NB Candidates wishing to submit statements should ensure they are received by the RCVS by 5pm on 31 January 2021.  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.

Canvassing

25. Candidates may canvass members either orally or in writing. The RCVS will supply a single set of names and postal addresses of all RVNs 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, e.g. all RVNs 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 RVNs 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 VN 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 2021. 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

VN Council elections

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

    There is then paperwork for you to fill out and sign, and paperwork for your nominees and you to sign. Both can be found at www.rcvs.org.uk/vncouncil21, 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 biography (200 words, maximum) and a personal statement (300 words, maximum).

    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 Annette Amato via email on a.amato@rcvs.org.uk by no later than 5pm on 31 January 2021.

    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.

  • Yes.

    1. Closing date for submission of nominations - 5pm, Sunday, 31 January 2021
    2. Distribution of voting papers to members (approx.) - Week commencing Monday, 15 March 2021
    3. Closing date for receiving votes - 5pm, Friday, 23 April 2021
    4. Candidates informed of results - Monday, 26 April 2021
    5. New members join Council - Friday, 9 July 2021 (RCVS Day)

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

  • VN Council comprises:

    • Six elected veterinary nurses
    • Two appointed veterinary surgeon members
    • Four appointed lay members
    • Two appointed veterinary nurse members
  • Your statement needs to be legal, decent, honest and truthful.

    Links to external websites 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.

    A minimum of two elected VN Council members retire each year. Members may serve a maximum of three consecutive terms, after which they would need to wait for two years before re-standing for Council. 

  • Each term is a maximum of three years, although some may retire early for personal reasons. As above there is a three consecutive term limit that an elected VN Council member can serve, after which they will have to wait two years before re-standing.

    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.

    There are at least four VN Council meetings per year, plus RCVS Day (our AGM and awards ceremony). Additional Council meetings may be called.

    In addition, you will be asked to sit on a VN Council Committee or an RCVS committee, which generally sit four times a year.

    You may also be asked to join a working party on a particular issue, and there may be other College activities, such as Regional Question Time meetings which you may choose to attend.

    On average, therefore, successful candidates might expect to spend between 8 and 10 days a year on VN 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. For example, two members of VN Council sit on RCVS Council which meets between six and eight times a year.

  • Meetings are usually held at Belgravia House, 62-64 Horseferry Road, Westminster, London SW1P 2AF.

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

  • VN Council meetings are generally held in February, May, September and November. RCVS Day is generally the first or second Friday of July.

    Subcommittees and working parties meet on a more ad hoc basis.

  • 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 and, generally, there are fewer meetings during the holiday periods, because we follow an academic calendar.  We also have baby-changing facilities on the premises.

  • VN 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 currently set at £155 per day, but this is currently under review.

    Days spent on specific College business can be claimed for – eg meetings – but not time spent on emails or preparation for a meeting.

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

  • New VN 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.

    VN Council members are happy to support newly-elected members, with informal advice and a more formal “Buddy” system.

  • For more information and an informal chat, you are welcome to contact Matthew Rendle RVN, Chair of VN Council (VNCchair@rcvs.org.uk); our Director of Veterinary Nursing, Julie Dugmore on j.dugmore@rcvs.org.uk; or Annette Amato, Secretary to VN Council, on a.amato@rcvs.org.uk.

  • Our Council members tell us that being on VN Council has broadened their horizons and allowed them to meet people and go places they never would normally have done. In some cases, it’s given them back the buzz about their profession that they enjoyed when they first qualified. 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 count as CPD if you feel it has helped you meet your development objectives, and it’s even been rumoured that it can be fun….

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

  • VN Council meetings are held in public and anyone is welcome to attend, providing there is space. Please contact Annette Amato on a.amato@rcvs.org.uk for more information.

    However, unfortunately, there is not a VN Council meeting during the candidate nomination period.

    Paperwork from past VN Council meetings is available, which will give you an indication of the type of business conducted.