The RCVS are seeking comment on a proposed new Case Management Protocol for the Disciplinary Committee.
The new protocol provides additional guidance to all parties, ensuring that evidence is agreed or considered well before the hearing. Its emphasis is on the Committee being able to read skeleton arguments and bundles of evidence from respondents before the hearing takes place, which speeds up the process and enables decisions to be made more quickly. At present, this is not always possible, as the information is not always made available.
"The new protocol formalises the standard procedural direction for cases to be heard by the Committee, with the aim of promoting the timely and efficient preparation of cases and the smooth running of hearings.This is in the interests of all parties," says Gordon Hockey, Head of Professional Conduct.
The Disciplinary Committee is the final adjudication body of the RCVS and hears between ten and 15 cases per year. Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, the Committee can consider charges of serious professional misconduct, fraudulent registration and criminal convictions that affect a veterinary surgeon's fitness to practise.
A disciplinary system for registered veterinary nurses was set up in April 2011 and the nurses' Disciplinary Committee would follow the new protocol, as and when it is finalised.
The proposed new Case Management Protocol can be downloaded from the consultations section of the RCVS website. Comments are welcomed from members of the veterinary team and from the public by 5pm on Monday, 8 August 2011, and should be sent to Carrie Gage, Clerk to the Disciplinary Committee, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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