RCVS launches new Charter Case Committee

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has launched its new Charter Case Committee (CCC) to provide an alternative, compassionate and streamlined way of dealing with less serious professional misconduct complaints.

The implementation of the CCC has been made possible under the powers of the Supplementary Royal Charter 2015 (the Charter), which broadens the functions of the RCVS, allowing for a more flexible approach when dealing with certain concerns relating to professional conduct, hence the name Charter Case Committee. RCVS Council first agreed on the implementation of the CCC back in 2021 to resolve cases where the conduct of a veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse has fallen far below the level of conduct expected of them, but is not serious enough to warrant a full, public Disciplinary Committee hearing.

The CCC can consider and resolve cases referred to it without the need for a public hearing and can impose either a confidential or a public warning as to an individual veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse’s future conduct. A warning issued by the CCC does not affect the individual’s registration status or their right to practise as a veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse.

Eleanor Ferguson, RCVS Registrar, said: “The establishment of the Charter Case Committee plays a vitally important role in balancing our statutory role of upholding professional conduct standards and protecting animal health and welfare and public confidence in the professions, with our mission to become a compassionate regulator.

“The Charter Case Committee Protocol allows for the alternative resolution of certain cases where a veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse has engaged in behaviour that amounts to serious professional misconduct or has been convicted of an offence, but where it is not in the public interest for the matter to be referred to a hearing of the Disciplinary Committee because it is at the lower end of seriousness.

“The type of cases we envisage being dealt with by the Committee are those where the Code has been breached but where there is no ongoing risk to animal welfare or public confidence, and where the level of insight and personal reflection regarding their conduct is such that it can be resolved without the need for an onerous, stressful and expensive Disciplinary Committee hearing. We estimate that the CCC will deal with around 20 such cases per year.

“The most serious cases of professional misconduct will, of course, continue to be referred to Disciplinary Committee hearings.”

For more information on the Charter Case Committee, including the Charter Case Protocol and the Charter Case Committee rules, please visit https://www.rcvs.org.uk/who-we-are/committees/charter-case-committee/.

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