• About the CVPM, VPMA
  • About the CVPM, VPMA
  • About the CVPM, VPMA
Latest News //
  • 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.


About the CVPM

The Certificate in Veterinary Practice Management (CVPM) is awarded by the VPMA to individuals who have demonstrated their ability to effectively manage a veterinary practice, hospital or unit.  The CVPM is aimed at both experienced managers who are new to the veterinary industry and members of the veterinary team who are currently working in a management role.  The qualification also provides a benchmark for veterinary employers seeking to employ a new practice manager.

The individual must demonstrate this ability by providing evidence of their managerial skills over six core areas:

  • General Management
  • Personnel
  • Communication
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing
  • Strategic Management

History of the CVPM

The VPMA was formally launched during the BVA Congress in Edinburgh on September 20th 1993.

From the very beginning, the Council of the VPMA were interested in setting up a veterinary management qualification in the UK, possibly based on the CVPM model available in the United States through the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA).

VPMA Council agreed to draft a written CVPM examination appropriate for the UK.  The first CVPM exams were held in 1996.  Since this time the CVPM has been through numerous changes to allow it to keep up to date with changes within veterinary industry and practice.


Have you been keeping up with our series of CVPM articles in Practice Life? Don’t forget that VPMA members can access past digital issues of Practice Life on the magazine website http://www.practicelife.biz

Roger Wilson and the C&T Committee have been taking a look at the various elements of the Certificate to help you prepare for the examination, or indeed inspire you to apply!  Applications for the 2017 exam must be submitted by 1st August 2017.

Take the Quiz!
Here’s an example question to test your knowledge of best practice management. There will be further exam example questions through the rest of the year

The Case of the Disappearing Dog

Your receptionist has just been informed by one of the nurses that a dog that was booked in for neutering has escaped from the surgery and run off down the street. She has gone running after it and her parting words were “I’ll get it if I can, but can you sort something.” What actions would you take?

This is an example of a type of oral question you might encounter in the CVPM exam. You have 3 minutes to answer verbally to the two examiners assessing you. In your answer you need to cover all 6 sections of the syllabus if relevant, thinking about General Management, Personnel, Communication, Financial Management, Strategic Management and considering what changes, if any, might be needed in the future to your policies. Why not have a go. Record your answer by video or voice, and submit to the C&T Committee.  
Look out for the top 3 entries in Sept Practice Life. 



CVPM Registration Criteria

To be eligible to sit the CVPM, exam candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be full members of the VPMA throughout their registration period
  • Register for CVPM and pay appropriate fees
  • Be actively employed in a veterinary based management role (minimum period of 2 years' experience is advised)

Essential Documentation

Full details of the CVPM including examination application and examination details can be found by clicking on the following links:

Examination Application Deadline

Completed applications must be received by the 1st August in the year the candidate wishes to sit the exam.

CVPM Fees 2017

CVPM registration and examination fee for all candidates is £395.00 incl. VAT.

CVPM Exam Date 2017

Date: 24 November 2017
Venue: To Be Confirmed

CVPM Preparation Days

The Certification and Training Committee hold FREE information and examination preparation workshops at least once a year normally in May.  There should also be opportunities throughout the year to attend this workshop at the local regional meetings.  As and when these are arranged VPMA members will be notified by email.

Past candidates have informed us that attending one of these workshops has in their estimation been vital to their success in obtaining the qualification.

The purpose of the workshop is to:-

  • understand the overall concept and content of the Certificate in Veterinary Practice Management (CVPM)
  • advise on the examination itself, format of questions and presentations and suggested approaches
  • provide the opportunity to meet the members of the C & T Committee, responsible for examining and awarding the CVPM

If you are thinking about completing the CVPM either in the winter of 2017 or in the future, or would like to find out how this qualification can benefit you and your practice please come along and join us for a couple of hours for one of these FREE (including refreshments) Workshop.  


CVPM Holders by Year


Carole J Clarke MRCVS, Nancy Fox, Susan M Kydd VN CMS, Bob Moore MRCVS, Lynne Worwood MRCVS


Fiona Baxter, Ray Girotti, Sue Morrissey


Ian Kynoch MRCVS, Lynn Roach, Georgina Stutchfield


Stephen Grills MRCVS, Jennifer Tubb, Gloria Tyrer, Jacqueline Garrett


Jan Dunn, Elizabeth Glover, Dawn Kent VN, Val Lackenby, Marion Leister, Katherine Thornton, Brian Wright MBA


Glynne Ll Davies MRCVS, Rita Dingwall, Pauline Graham, Susan Ross


Fred Bancroft, Ianthe Cox, Keith Fuller, Sarah Hibbert, Tessa Smith


Lynda Statham


Cathy Coates, Susan Hall MRCVS, Pat Heseltine, Tina Hibell VN, Tracy Mayne VN, Dennis Owen, Lisa Coxon VN, Hilary Manning VPAC, Anne Milburn MRCVS, Angela Miller


Debby Drinkwater, Kathryn Nankervis, Kerry Scarlett


Sharon Powell, Helen Biggadike, David Button


Jennifer Crawford-Allen, Heidi Fudge, Alison Hoy, Susan Lunn, David Mulligan, Paula Nugent, Lorraine Weynberg


Amanda Baggley, Lisa Cooper


Julie Beacham, Liz Howes VN, Helen Kington, Renay Rickard VN


Lisa Marter, Louise O'Hara, Lucy Bartlett


Victoria Musk


Georgina Hills, Lisa Martin, Philippa Davis, Shaun Plunkett


Matthew Horobin, Louise Marshall


Leah Morley VN, Louise Reeve, Stacey Van Gent VN