RCVS news: Candidate nomination period now open for RCVS and VN Councils 2021 elections

Veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses can now put themselves forward as candidates in the 2021 elections for RCVS Council and Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council respectively with the opening of the nomination period.

Prospective members of RCVS Council and VN Council have until 5pm on Sunday 31 January 2021 to put themselves forward as candidates for the elections which will take place in spring 2021. The full eligibility criteria, including FAQs and guidance notes, for veterinary surgeons who wish to stand for RCVS Council can be found at: www.rcvs.org.uk/rcvscouncil21, while the equivalent details for veterinary nurses who wish to stand for VN Council can be found at: www.rcvs.org.uk/vncouncil21

Due to the ongoing postal problems across the UK resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, RCVS Council has approved a temporary change to the RCVS Election Scheme this year to allow nominations to be submitted electronically, rather than in hard copy. This temporary change is currently before the Privy Council for final approval.

Eleanor Ferguson, RCVS Registrar and Returning Officer for the elections, explains: “The disruption caused by the pandemic has been significantly affecting the speed and reliability of postal services, so Council decided that there was sufficient justification to temporarily allow nominations to be submitted electronically.

“For prospective RCVS and VN Councils election candidates this will mean that, rather than having to send us hard copies of your nomination documents in the post, these can simply be emailed to the College along with the relevant digital photographs and electronic signatures.”

As well as changing how the candidate nomination period could be run for 2021, the RCVS has also updated its information and guidance for prospective candidates, including an informal ‘job description’, to help them better understand what it means to be members of RCVS and VN Councils, their responsibilities, commitments and how they help the College meet its strategic goals, as well as the principles and rules governing their conduct.

Prospective candidates for RCVS Council can also contact RCVS President Dr Mandisa Greene for an informal conversation on what it means to be a Council member on president@rcvs.org.uk, while prospective VN Council candidates can contact Matthew Rendle, VN Council Chair, on vncchair@rcvs.org.uk

Mandisa said: “As I have often said publicly, when I decided to stand for RCVS Council it was out of a mixture of fear and curiosity, the RCVS seemed liked some distant organisation that was often talked about, but not entirely understood, and that made me want to find out more. It is fair to say that, since joining RCVS Council, I have learned and experienced a great deal, have got to know people in our profession that I would otherwise never have had the opportunity to meet, and have been at the forefront of key discussions about how our profession is regulated and its future.

“Throughout my time on Council I have also been a working mother of two young children and so, for those who are concerned about how being a Council member can fit around personal and professional life, I can assure you that there is flexibility that allows you to carry out your Council work around other commitments.

“I do hope that, if you are interested in the future of our professions and having a say in our professional and educational standards and how we are governed, then please take the time to consider becoming a member of RCVS Council and don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you want to know anything more”

Matthew Rendle added: “I was very proud to recently be appointed as Chair of VN Council with responsibility for overseeing it and its role in important decision-making on some of the big issues for veterinary nursing around training and education, post-registration qualifications and registration.

“Over the past years, the role, responsibility and stature of VN Council has really grown. Its members have been at the forefront of important projects such as VN Futures, which is helping the profession identify and plan for its future, and have been ambassadors for the profession at events such as our recent VN Evening.

“Last year we had a record number of veterinary nurses standing for election to VN Council, a fantastic development that I hope will be repeated this year as you really can make a difference on VN Council and play a role in speaking up for and promoting our profession. Please do get in touch with me if you wish to find out more.”

There will be one meeting of RCVS Council taking place before the nomination period ends. This meeting, on Thursday 21 January 2021, will be held virtually and prospective candidates for both Councils are welcome to attend this as observers and should contact Dawn Wiggins, RCVS Council Secretary, on d.wiggins@rcvs.org.uk

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