• The Role of a Regional Organiser, VPMA
  • The Role of a Regional Organiser, VPMA
  • The Role of a Regional Organiser, VPMA
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  • Petplan Veterinary Awards Practice Manager of the Year Winner 2017 - Anne Corson

    Petplan Practice Manager of the Year Winner, Anne Corson from Pennard Vets in Tonbridge, Kent demonstrates the type of work she carries out in a normal working day. Watch the Video.


    Renay Rickard, VPMA president, armed new managers with a suite of tools to help conduct appraisals with a range of practice team members during her ‘New to Management’ webinar

    Conducting appraisals causes many new managers to pale at the thought, but VPMA’s president, Renay Rickard, put minds at rest with a straightforward guide to the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of staff appraisals, during VPMA’s second New to Management webinar held on March 15.

    The message was clear from the beginning: make appraisals in your practice a positive experience and something that members of the team actually look forward to instead of dread!

    “In the early days, when I first started to do appraisals in my practice, it was viewed as an annual telling off! We want it to be a positive experience all round. We now have people coming to me and asking when their next appraisal is – that’s when you know you’re doing something right,” said Renay.

    It’s important to make your team member feel at ease and special – this is time invested in them in a busy practice where time is pressured and not everyone always gets listened to, continued Renay. “It’s important to commit to a time you’ve set – I’ll allow a time to be cancelled once but the appraisal has to go ahead the next time. It’s a big deal for the person being appraised so make sure they feel important and that your meeting is held somewhere private and uninterrupted,” she added.

    Being clear about the purpose of the appraisal and giving the reasons why you’re holding one is important for clarity and consistency among staff. Key to this, said Renay, was having a structure and procedure in place, including making your key performance criteria available to everyone – publishing them in the staff handbook in Renay’s practice.  


    Polls carried out during the webinar showed an interesting split between delegates in their concerns over conducting appraisals. When asked “What is your biggest challenge regarding appraisals?” the responses were as follows:

    33%  “Unsure how to keep emotion out of it”

    27%  “Worried about confrontation issues”

    22%  “Not having a formal process in place”

    16%  “Don’t have enough objective info”

    2%   “The team members are senior to me or at practice longer”

    When asked whether their practice had an appraisal process in place, the results showed almost one-third did not.

    62% Had a process in place

    31% Did not have a process in place

    8 % Were not sure

    The message from Renay for practices without an established appraisals process was to not be intimidated by the prospect and start one yourself. She said: “If your practice doesn’t have a review process, do start one in an informal way and do it yourself if you’re heading up a small team. Ensure that the person who does take on this task has the authority to make changes or raise issues with the bosses – there’s nothing more frustrating for staff than being promised a chat and airing their views only for it not to go any further.”

    Renay shared her protocol for appraisals, which will be distributed on the accompanying slides to webinar delegates. You may still sign up now to this and other webinars in the series; visit

    The next webinar in the series is entitled
    Difficult Team Members and Disciplinary Processes and will be delivered by Simone Taylor from Citation on April 12 at 8pm. This webinar will look at how to handle difficult team scenarios and what might be expected of you in managing a disciplinary process.

    To sign up or for more information email
    secretariat@vpma.co.uk or visit http://events-by-vpma.co.uk/

  • RCVS Strategic Plan 2017/19

    Leadership, innovation and culture change focus for three-year strategic plan

    The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has published its Strategic Plan for 2017 to 2019, with a focus on developing leadership within the veterinary professions, encouraging innovation, and further extending a learning culture as a counter to the ‘blame’ culture that exists in some parts of the profession.

    The Strategic Plan was developed throughout the course of 2016 with input from a number of stakeholders including RCVS Council and Veterinary Nurses Council, key committees and College staff. Most importantly, the evidence for change came from the wide and deep consultations that took place within Vet Futures, the joint RCVS and British Veterinary Association project that aims to help the veterinary profession prepare for and shape its future.

    This process led to the development of five key ambitions for the next three years:

    • Learning culture: to establish the extent to which a ‘blame’ culture exists in the veterinary professions, the role that the RCVS may play in it, the impact it may have on the welfare of vets, veterinary nurses, owners and their animals, and how we can move towards a culture that has a greater focus on learning and personal development.

    • Leadership and innovation: to become a Royal College with leadership and innovation at its heart, and support this creatively and with determination.

    • Continuing to be a First-rate Regulator: continuing to build on the foundations that have already been laid, we will work to ensure that the legislation and regulations that support us are not only fit for purpose today, but enable us to make the UK veterinary professions, and those allied professionals who work alongside them, the best that they can be into the future.

    • Global reach: in part a response to Brexit and the need to be more externally-facing but with an emphasis to improve animal health and welfare on an international basis by raising veterinary standards overseas, contributing to the One Health agenda and ensuring that our regulation keeps pace in a global market.

    • Our service agenda: to continue to build on our service agenda to ensure that people not only find interactions with us to be efficient and fair, but seek out and take up opportunities to engage further.

    Nick Stace, RCVS CEO, said: “The hallmark of our 2014 to 2016 Strategic Plan was getting the basics right by clarifying our identity, improving our core functions, setting out our service agenda and strengthening our foundations. The plan gave us a firm foundation to build upon and improved levels of confidence in the College from stakeholders which has allowed us to be more ambitious and outward-looking with this new plan.

    “Within the new plan there are challenging ambitions and stretching objectives that address some of the big issues affecting the veterinary team, whether that’s playing a more global role post-Brexit, the importance of embracing new technology, or the pressing need to consider culture change within the profession to ensure it continues to grow and learn.

    “I would ask each member of the profession to take a look at the Strategic Plan and I am very happy to receive comments and feedback on the plan by email at nick@rcvs.org.uk.”

    To download the Strategic Plan please visit www.rcvs.org.uk/publications

  • VPMA / SPVS Congress 2017

    Join us at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport from the 26th to 28th January 2017.

    From behaviour economics to the ultimate front of house experience; resilience to understanding mindsets; practical H&S to managing social media, with speakers from home and abroad; within and outside the profession - you don't want to miss this event.

    Incorporating the New to Management Stream: whether you're a head nurse, a lead vet in a clinical role, an administrator or client care team leader, you probably have some management elements to your job; or are you moving into management but finding it a bit daunting?  This stream is pitched at introductory level.

    For full details about Congress, click here.


The Role of a Regional Organiser

Our Regional Organisers (ROs) are the heart and soul of our association! They play an important role in helping us to reach our members, and in giving us feedback regarding their needs. They help with co-ordinating VPMA activities, and regularly providing members within their area with high quality discussions and CPD. It's an easy and rewarding role, so if you're keen on supporting your association and would like to find out more, read on.....

We encourage our Regional Organisers to put on regular meetings, with a minimum of 3 per year. These meetings allow the members to network and this should form the principal part of every meeting. Discussions on current issues has proved a very popular format and can be combined with a speaker to present on a certain topic (but the latter isn't absolutely necessary - rather we would encourage you to focus on discussions - and particularly on topics that are of relevance in our members' day-to-day work roles).   Our aim is for our members not to feel alone in the workplace and have a meeting they can attend to discuss any issues they may have.

If you do wish to have a speaker at your meeting, we ask that there is just the one, and so the topic can be covered more in depth than with multiple speakers. Speakers will often volunteer themselves (either via the secretariat who hold details of people who wish to present regionally, or directly to you) as the members attending are a key target for many businesses. 

We try to make the organisation of the meetings easy for our ROs. For this reason, a very simple discussion format works well and is straightforward to put together. 

When you become a Regional Organiser, you'll be asked to sign an agreement which commits you to setting up three meetings for your area, and ideally the dates for these should be identified at the start of every year. The secretariat is there to then help you publicise it and reach members in your area. Regional meetings are free to VPMA members to attend. You'll have the help and inspiration of our existing ROs, and the VPMA team. 

Overall responsbilities of a Regional Organiser 

·        Attract New Members. The growth of the VPMA at regional level is vital, so ROs should promote the VPMA at this level and encourage new members.

·    Organise meetings at least three times a year for their area. The format of these meetings may range from small informal gatherings that are used for networking and support, to larger CPD events.

·      Manage financial aspects of these meetings. You'll need to ensure that fees are collected, venues found and financed if necessary (usually by sponsorship if possible) and money paid into VPMA as required. Many practices now have meeting room facilities which you may be able to use free of charge. This is where your networking skills come in! There is an option available for the VPMA Secretariat to help you manage the financial aspects of your meeting if you wish.

·         Feed back to the Regional Co-ordinator ("RC": currently Renay Rickard) on any topical or VPMA-related issues that members would like to discuss. This can then be taken forward to the VPMA Board of Directors if appropriate.

Get together! We usually hold a meeting annually at VPMA/SPVS Congress  for any ROs that are attending the event.  The time and date will be arranged when we know which ROs are attending congress. 

The role of Regional Organiser is voluntary. You'll need to be a VPMA member. Assistance is available to help you organise your meetings, source speakers and assist with the financial side of the meetings, if required.  

If you would like to discuss the Role of a Regional Organiser further, please contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .