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Minutes of a meeting of Council held on Tuesday 11th November 2003 at the Farmers' Club, 3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL.

Present:  the President Mr. A. Muckle, Prof. J. Bleby, Mr. H. Hellig, Mr. C. R. Herbert, Dr. M. Kerr, Prof. A. R. Michell, Mr. J. Oliver, Mr. A. Porter, Mr. H. Robinson.

Apologies for Absence:  Mr. R. Ewbank, Mr. L. Gibson, Mr. B. Hoskin, Mr. K. Meldrum, Mr. M. Nelson, Mr. G. Tribe.

Minutes of the previous meeting on 15th May had been circulated and were approved, subject to correcting the list of those present to include Mr. Hoskin.

Matters arising from the minutes not covered elsewhere:  The President reported that he had received no acknowledgement of or reply to the CVS discussion document on the review of the Veterinary Surgeons Act sent to the BVA President in September.  There was some speculation that the BVA might be relying on its seat on RCVS Council to influence the matter, but it was the feeling of the meeting that the BVA should formulate an independent view.  Mr. Porter observed that Mr. J. Baird had mooted the setting up of a working party on the matter chaired by Lord Soulsby and including Mr. Porter, but that this did not seem to have got off the ground.

Mr. Porter observed that BVA had not yet appointed additional staff, in particular a Director of Policy, and that this appeared to be causing difficulties.  Considering the political climate, it was difficult to understand why no consideration seemed to have been given to a short, fixed-term appointment (perhaps of an experienced retired individual) until a suitable permanent appointment could be finalised.  Prof. Bleby was requested to raise this matter again at the next meeting of BVA Council on 6th December.  It was agreed to send a second copy of the discussion document to the BVA, and that Mr. Porter should also send his second paper (specifically referring to the DEFRA consultation document) as a personal contribution.

It was felt to be essential that the BVA make a considered response to the DEFRA document, as there were a number of points of concern, including the question of paraprofessionals, regarding which there had already been a great deal of consultation (for example the Swan Report), all of which seemed to have been ignored.  There was also the matter of the cost implications, in that the costings implied a substantial financial burden on the profession with consequent alarming implications for the retention fee.  DEFRA has allowed almost three months for consultation (to 17th December), but there was now relatively little time left in which to respond appropriately.

The meeting once again thanked Mr. Porter for his invaluable contribution.

Correspondence:  Once again the only correspondence had been a variety of emails from various BVA departments concerning consultation documents and press releases, all of which had been forwarded to Council members and those Fellows who had expressed an interest.

President's report:  The President merely reported his disappointment that there had been no response from the BVA to the CVS's discussion document.

Secretary's report:  Nothing further to report.

Treasurer's report:  The Hon. Treasurer submitted a written report detailing £5,501.21 in the capital reserve account and £574.50 in the current account.

BVA Representative's report:  Prof. Bleby reported that he had attended the BVA AGM in Edinburgh on 27th September at great personal expense!  He had intimated the CVS reservations regarding the new constitution, including the absence of the post of CEO and the apparent implication that Council might not be in the position to question the treasurer, but also indicated that despite these reservations there was general support for the constitution.  In the event he was asked formally to propose the constitution, and did so.

AWF Representative's report:  Mr. Ewbank had sent his apologies and intimated that he had nothing to report.

Membership:  Dr. Kerr reported one resignation, that of Mr. C. Ellis, who had retired.  One application for Fellowship had been received from Mr. C. Laurence, introduced by Prof. Bleby, formally proposed and seconded by Dr. Kerr and Mr. Tribe respectively.  Mr. Laurence's application was approved.

Mr. H. Hellig had submitted a written report on the general subject of membership.  His view was that another provider of CPD was neither needed nor wanted, and that CVS was better placed to function as a lobby group, and as a provider of enjoyable meetings where colleagues could encounter topics which might be somewhat outside their usual day-to-day activities.  This was not necessarily a recipe for a large membership, but if the Society decided to make radical changes in order to attract large numbers, it might well be that it would fail in this object while alienating those who at present attend the meetings.

It was proposed that the Society should concentrate in particular on attracting quality of membership, particularly among the 'great and the good' of the profession, and also increase the number of Associate Fellows in the same category.  Only two or three such individuals recruited each year would be sufficient.  In addition the BVA and RCVS Presidents should be ex officio Fellows of the CVS for the duration of their tenure, subject to approval by the current CVS President.  In addition, we no longer appear to be receiving lists of new BVA members in our area.  Prof. Bleby agreed to raise this matter at BVA Council, as it is important that we receive this information.  It was also suggested that as part of our function as a lobby group we might copy the other Territorial Divisions into our discussions.  Dr. Kerr reported that there was an email list of Hon. Secretaries of BVA divisions which might be useful in this respect.

Prof. Michell suggested that from next year we might consider incorporating a meeting inviting all the candidates for RCVS Council to attend and present their views, to which representatives from the veterinary press would also be invited.  Although the CVS would not be in a position to pay expenses to all these contributors, the benefits to the candidates of such a hustings meeting should surely be obvious to the participants.  All present agreed that this was an excellent idea, subject to its fitting in with the Junior Vice-president's planned programme.

Any other business:  none.

Date, time and place of next meeting:  Tuesday 2nd December 2003, 6.00 pm, in the Kingswood Blue Room, Royal Holloway College, Egham.

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