RCVS – Interim Registrar / Director of Legal Services

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Department:                 Legal

Salary :                        Circa £130K

Type of Employment:  Full Time, temporary six month contact until substantive post filled

Location:                  Central London based, with remote working options

Reporting to:               CEO

Direct Reports:            Six


The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is the statutory regulator for the veterinary profession in the UK, thanks to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, and also has a range of roles that are supported by our Royal Charter, including regulation of the veterinary nursing profession.

As a regulator, we set, uphold and advance veterinary standards. As a Royal College, we promote, encourage and advance the study and practice of the art and science of veterinary surgery and medicine. We do all these things in the interests of animal health and welfare, and in the wider public interest.

We strive to behave with clarity, courage, compassion and confidence, and our vision is to be recognised as a trusted, compassionate and proactive regulator, and a supportive and ambitious Royal College, underpinning confident veterinary professions of which the UK can be rightly proud.

After 20 years, our Registrar/Director of Legal Services) is retiring, so an opportunity has arisen for someone to help shape the future of this unique Royal College that regulates. Working closely with the CEO and our governing Council, the Registrar / Director of legal services has a prominent leadership role not only within the organisation, but the veterinary professions at large.

The College is currently in a time of change, with a new strategy plan under development, a strong push for new legislation and an ongoing investigation into the wider sector by the Competition and Markets Authority. We are keen for a capable and experience legal leader, with professional regulatory expertise, to join the team rapidly in order to support on an interim basis while the future long-term requirement crystalises. There may be the opportunity for the interim role holder to take the permanent position.

Job purpose and responsibilities


This role has dual functions. The first is Registrar, a role required under the Veterinary Surgeons Act and the College’s Royal Charter.

The principal function of the Registrar is keeping, maintaining and publishing Registers of veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses. This includes oversight of the various mechanisms via which veterinary professionals can join the Register, what they need to do to stay on the Registers (ie responsibility for the Codes of Professional Conduct) and how they may leave or be removed. The Registrar also oversees all appeals in relation to registration.

An additional duty of the Registrar is oversight of the College elections, as Returning Officer.

Director of Legal Services

The second role is Director of Legal Services – essentially our most senior legal counsel. The Director of legal services is looked to for leadership and guidance on a wide range of legal matters within the organisation, for their personal advice or to manage external legal consultants, as appropriate. This includes guiding the governing body of the College, RCVS Council, through the development of oral and written advice. There is also a wide range of committees and working groups on which the Director of legal services sits in order to ensure the College’s activity is within its legal remit and represents best practice, as far as this is possible working within our outdated legislation. 

The Director of legal services takes the role of Data Controller for the organisation, sitting on the College’s Information Governance Group, overseeing Freedom of Information Act requests and Subject Access Request, and liaising with the Information Commissioner’s Office, where appropriate.

The post holder will be a spokesperson for the College, and be asked to work with the media, take part in webinars, deliver presentations at congresses and educational establishments, etc. This means that UK travel is required, and, more occasionally, overseas.

The Registrar / Director of legal services has a key leadership role within the organisation, sitting on the Senior Team and being responsible for around a third of the staff within the organisation.

Their direct reports include:

  • Head of Legal Services – Standards and Advice, including Code of Conduct, Advice and Guidance, stakeholder engagement
  • Head of Legal Services – Professional Conduct, including Preliminary Investigation Committee, Disciplinary Committee, Private Prosecutions, Charter Case Committee, Veterinary Client Mediation Service
  • Head of Legal Services – Practice Standards, including standards for the Scheme
  • Executive Assistant
  • Clerk to the Disciplinary Committee
  • Non-Practising Solicitor – carries out internal audit of concerns/complaints/advice

Essential qualifications

  • Solicitor or Barrister registered with their respective professional body

Essential skills, knowledge & experience

  • Experience of professional regulation and working in the public interest
  • A successful track record in general management at a senior level, including budget management
  • Excellent communication, negotiation, networking and advocacy skills
  • Excellent drafting and writing skills
  • The ability to achieve organisational objectives by performance management that encourages diversity
  • The ability to motivate and develop staff and to get the best out of people
  • The ability and presence to represent the organisation with a range of audiences
  • A co-operative, consultative and collegiate personal style
  • Self-sufficiency in terms of working with major Microsoft Office packages

To apply : Please use this link https://rcvs.current-vacancies.com/Jobs/Advert/3527274?cid=1971

*Please note we are looking for an Immediate start from the successful candidate*

** Informal enquiries are welcome to the RCVS CEO at ceo@rcvs.org.uk **

Closing Date : Sunday 30th June 2024

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