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Minutes of a meeting of Council held on Thursday 18th September 2003 at Royal Holloway College, Egham.

Present:  the President Mr. A. Muckle, Prof. J. Bleby, Mr. R. Ewbank, Mr. C. R. Herbert, Mr. B. Hoskin, Dr. M. Kerr, Mr. K. Meldrum, Mr. M. Nelson, Mr. J. Oliver, Mr. H. Robinson.

Apologies for Absence:  Mr. L. Gibson, Prof. A. R. Michell, Mr. A. Porter, Mr. G. Tribe.

Minutes of the previous meeting on 15th May had been circulated and were approved.

Matters arising from the minutes not covered elsewhere:  none.

Correspondence:  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 reported that he had attended the BVA Presidents' Day on 10th June, regarding which he had circulated a written report.  The event had been primarily occupied with reports and presentations, leaving little or no time to discuss matters of interest or concern.  Topics raised included communications between the AWF and the Divisions.  Mrs. K. Kerr said that while she accepted that meetings were sparse, there was an active email group.  It was also reported that £1.3 million had been received in legacies.

The President also reported that increasing numbers of potential speakers were expecting to have computer-projection facilities available at meetings, which CVS venues could not always easily provide.  Hire of such a system would cost in the region of £150 per evening, and this was something which ought to be considered for the future.  However, Mr. Muckle reported that he had come to an arrangement with Pfizer UK, who had agreed to provide a projector for the relevant meetings in the current season.  The meeting expressed grateful thanks to Pfizer for this generous sponsorship.

Secretary's report:  The Hon. Secretary reported that a small web site for the Society had been set up within the Vetlab server, including details of the meetings programme, contact details and some items of historical interest.  The meeting agreed that this site was quite adequate for the Society's purposes and that it should be maintained up to date.

Treasurer's report:  The Hon. Treasurer told the Hon. Secretary that funds were "sufficient".

BVA Representative's report:  Prof. Bleby intimated his intention to attend BVA Congress at Edinburgh.  He circulated a confidential written report on the BVA Council meeting held on 16th July, which generated considerable discussion.  Both Prof. Bleby and Mr. Hoskin reported on internal BVA affairs from their own involvement.

The Project team had been disbanded, and interviews would be conducted for the Head of the Veterinary Policy Group, with three candidates going forward.  Only two candidates for President would be presented to Council, for fear of having too many losers!  However, the "parachuting in" of non-Council members should not happen again.

There was concern that Council needs to be able to consider the accounts, but that the financial affairs might be about to disappear into the company, leaving the association in the dark.  It was difficult to obtain assurances that reports would be forthcoming, and potential for difficulty was seen regarding whether the President or the Board of Directors would exercise ultimate responsibility.  However, the Board should now be given the management accounts, so any Council member ought to be able to request sight of these.  Council will elect four people to the Board, one of whom should be Chairman.  It was believed that no minutes had ever been produced for the AGM, which if correct would be in breach of company law.

Concern was expressed over something described as the "Veterinary Opinion Group", in relation to the AWF, and whether this might be allowing Mr. J. Baird back into the BVA by a circuitous route.  It appeared that this was an entirely private initiative, with no official standing.

Prof. Bleby remarked that the fact that problems had been experienced with the individual who had previously occupied the post of CEO, did not mean that the post itself was a bad idea.  There were now three posts, with nobody in overall control.  The President might theoretically exercise overall responsibility, but can a practitioner with his own business to attend to afford to spend that time?  It would seem that Mr. Greet, who has a heavy practice work-load, might find this very difficult.  In addition, it was almost inevitable that some day a BVA President would be elected who was simply not up to the job.

Mr. Hoskin commented that the system must be given a chance to run, and it was the responsibility of Council to elect competent people.  It was resolved that at the AGM Prof. Bleby should congratulate the meeting on the new constitution, but express the concern of the CVS regarding the matter of the directors.

AWF Representative's report:  Mr. Ewbank reported that he had attended the AWF Representatives' day on 21st May, and he submitted a written report.  Once again a series of papers was presented, and the current Annual Report, but no time for discussion.  A Directors' meeting was planned for October, and comments should be submitted by late September.  Fellows with comments to make should forward these to Mr. Ewbank within the week, and he undertook to write on behalf of the Society.

It appeared that Mr. Ewbank was not included in Mrs. Kerr's email group, and this should be looked into.

Membership:  Dr. Kerr reported that one Fellow, Mr. Roger Blamire, had died the previous month.  She had taken the liberty of sending a sympathy card to Mrs. Blamire on behalf of the Society.  It was reported that Mr. H. Hellig was looking into membership as a specific item, and that he wished to submit a paper of the topic for consideration by the November meeting of Council.

Veterinary Surgeons Act:  Mr. A. Porter had circulated a comprehensive discussion document on the matter of a new Veterinary Surgeons Act, based on his considerable experience both of the existing Act and of advising in respect of comparable situations abroad, principally the Republic of Ireland.  The meeting agreed that it could not hope to better Mr. Porter's approach, and it was resolved to submit the document as it stood to BVA as the Central Veterinary Society's position paper on the matter.  Copies would be made available to any fellow who requested one.  The meeting expressed its heartfelt appreciation of Mr. Porter's help.

Any other business:  none.

Date, time and place of next meeting:  Tuesday 11th November 2003, 6.00 pm, at the Farmers' Club, 3 Whitehall Court, London, SW1A 2EL.

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