On Saturday (6 April), the Legislative Reform Order (LRO) to reconstitute the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) disciplinary committees separately from its Council came into force and has amended the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (VSA).
The LRO brings the RCVS in line with regulatory best practice and improves the independence of the RCVS disciplinary processes, marking a major step towards the College becoming a ‘First Rate Regulator’.
The amendment made by the LRO requires that the RCVS Preliminary Investigation and Disciplinary Committees are made up of veterinary surgeons and lay members who are not RCVS Council members, and who are appointed independently. This ensures that the same group of people is not responsible for setting the rules, investigating complaints and adjudication.
The LRO also brings lay people formally into the Preliminary Investigation Committee and will allow the RCVS to increase the pool of people available to investigate complaints and sit on disciplinary hearings.
The first external members will join the Disciplinary and Preliminary Investigation Committees from July 2013. After a two-year transition period, members of the RCVS Council will become ineligible for membership of these committees.
RCVS Registrar, Gordon Hockey, says: “The LRO has been the culmination of many years hard work by the RCVS and Defra, with the support of the British Veterinary Association. At first glance the change that the LRO makes to the Act may appear minor, but the reform fundamentally improves the way the veterinary profession is regulated, and will help to ensure public confidence in the RCVS disciplinary processes.”