Thewlis Graham Associates

About the RCVS

The RCVS aims to enhance society through improved animal health and welfare. It does this by setting, upholding and advancing the educational, ethical and clinical standards of veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses. 

As statutory regulator the RCVS is responsible under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 for keeping the Register of Veterinary Surgeons eligible to practise in the UK, setting standards for veterinary education and regulating the professional conduct of veterinary surgeons. Under the new Royal Charter passed in 2014 it has the same responsibilities for veterinary nurses. It also exercises powers under our Royal Charter to award Fellowships, Diplomas and Certificates to veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and others. 

The statutory and Charter duties of the RCVS are steered and governed by RCVS Council comprising 42 members who are either elected by the profession, nominated to Council by one of the seven RCVS-approved UK veterinary schools or appointed by Privy Council. RCVS Council is supported by a system of committees, subcommittees and working parties which include various members of Council and other appointed individuals. A separate VN Council, comprising veterinary nurses, veterinary surgeons and lay people, is responsible for matters concerning veterinary nurse training, post-qualification awards and the registration of veterinary nurses.

The two RCVS statutory committees are the Preliminary Investigation Committee (PIC) and Disciplinary Committee (DC).

The Statutory Committees

The Committees are made up of veterinary surgeons and lay persons, with a minimum of 3 in each category on each committee. The full membership of the committees do not take part in every hearing, but the panels must observe a statutory quorum.

The lay persons have a valuable role in ensuring that the Committees act and are seen to act fairly. They report annually to Council on the work of PIC, giving an independent view on the work of the Committee.