Call for candidates for RCVS and VN Councils 2019 elections

30 November 2018

Nominations are now being invited from all veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses who are eligible to stand for RCVS Council and Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council, respectively, for next year’s elections.

Next year’s elections for RCVS Council will be the first that are fully affected by the recent changes to the College’s governance structure which received ministerial approval in May this year, meaning that only three seats will be available as opposed to the previous six.

The changes have also reduced the size of Council and changed its composition. It currently comprises 36 members: six appointed lay members, two appointed veterinary nurse members, seven members appointed by each of the RCVS-accredited veterinary schools and 21 by direct election. Over the next three years the number of elected Council members will be further reduced to 13. Furthermore, Council members will now only be able to serve a total of three consecutive four-year terms and, once these have ended, will have to wait at least two years before standing for Council again.

Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council also recently agreed changes to its governance and composition, reducing the number of elected members from eight to six and introducing new appointed veterinary nurse, veterinary surgeon and lay members. Another key change is that the term of office for VN Council members has been reduced from four to three years and the same three-term limit also applies. These changes also meant that no VN Council election was held in 2018.

The nomination period for both RCVS and VN Councils runs until 5pm on Thursday 31 January 2019. In order to stand, candidates for either Council will need to complete a nomination form, submit a short biography and personal statement and supply a high resolution digital photo.

Each candidate will also need to have two nominators. For RCVS Council candidates, these should be veterinary surgeons who are on the RCVS Register but are not current RCVS Council members; for VN Council candidates, the nominators must be registered veterinary nurses who are not currently on VN Council.

Eleanor Ferguson, RCVS Registrar and Returning Officer for both the elections, said: ”As always, we would encourage those who are interested in playing a part in some of the current debates around veterinary regulation – whether that’s in regards to telemedicine, the impact of Brexit, the future of veterinary education or professional standards – to consider putting themselves forward for their relevant Council.

“There are many important issues coming up to be debated and decided upon and we appreciate knowledge, expertise, constructive criticism and insight from a broad range of people from all parts of the veterinary profession.

“One thing to note is that, with the changes to the governance structure, Council will be meeting generally between six and eight times a year and VN Council will be meeting four times a year, so there will be a small increase in the number of days we expect candidates to spend on Council or VN Council business.”

The election period will start around mid-March and run until 5pm on Friday 26 April 2019. Ballot papers and emails with a secure link to a unique voting website will be sent to all registered veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses who are eligible to vote. Furthermore, prior to the launch of the election period, the College will be sourcing questions from members of the professions to put to the candidates, who will be asked to produce a video giving their responses to two questions of their choice. These videos will be published at the start of the election.

Nomination forms, guidance notes and frequently asked questions for prospective RCVS Council candidates can be found at The equivalent documents for VN Council candidates are available at

Prospective candidates for either Councils are welcome to contact the Registrar, Eleanor Ferguson ( and the RCVS CEO, Lizzie Lockett ( for more information about the role of the College and/or RCVS Council and VN Council members.

RCVS Council will also be holding a public meeting on Thursday 17 January 2019, prior to the closure date for Council candidate nominations. Prospective candidates are welcome to attend the Council meeting as an observer. Please contact Dawn Wiggins, RCVS Council Secretary, on if you wish to attend.