• About the VPAC, VPMA
  • About the VPAC, VPMA
  • About the VPAC, 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 VPAC

The Veterinary Practice Administration Certificate (VPAC) gives Practice Administrators the opportunity to get quality training applicable to their role along with national recognition of their skills and achievement. The award is recognised by both the profession and relevant official bodies. It also offers learners valuable knowledge, backed up by on-the-job learning, before commencing their Certificate in Veterinary Practice Management (CVPM).

The VPAC is designed to cover the skills required to carry out administrative tasks efficiently with the minimum of supervision and to be able to present the finished task to the supervisor, manager or employer. A reasonable understanding of the tools being used and the way they work (accounts software, etc.) is necessary to complete such tasks, but it is not necessary to have an in-depth knowledge or understanding of the impact of that work on the overall business strategy. If your role is to take overall strategic responsibility for the business or a substantial section of it, you may wish to take a look at the CVPM.

The VPAC has proved a popular qualification with both veterinary administrators and those wishing to gain an introductory qualification before moving into practice management. A full list of VPAC holders and their year of examination can be found at the bottom of the page.

VPAC Registration Criteria

The most common entry route to being enrolled on the VPAC course is through having at least two years' experience in a veterinary administration role. However, direct entry is also possible if you have gained three GCSEs at grade A-C within the last five years; other relevant experience will also be considered and you should approach the college to check out whether your individual circumstances qualify you for entry.

To be awarded the Certificate you must be a member of the VPMA. However, if you wish only to study for the VPAC and not make use of other VPMA resources, you may join as an associate member. Associate membership allows you to receive your certificate on successful completion of the course and gives you limited membership benefits. Associate membership is only available whilst studying for the VPAC; therefore, upon completion of your course, if you wish to continue your membership with the VPMA you will need to upgrade to either individual or group membership.

VPAC Course Content

The VPAC course consists of a number of units including Office Procedures, Finance, Information Technology and Customer Care along with units focussing on topics specific to veterinary practice such as Ethics and Statutory Requirements and Basic Veterinary Support. A full list of the units and what they entail is available in printable format by clicking on this link.

VPAC Course Providers

A survey in 2002 identified travelling distance to be the main barrier to attending VPAC courses. The VPMA was therefore delighted at the launch of a distance-learning course (course duration: 12-18 months part-time) by Lynwood School of Veterinary Nursing.

Lynwood School of Veterinary Nursing was established in 1996 by a large veterinary group in Dorset as an independent school of veterinary nursing. It provides high quality tuition for the BVNA ANA course as well as the RCVS S/NVQ levels 2 and 3 nursing certificate courses and City & Guilds A1 Assessor Awards. It operates from a beautiful teaching site at Poundbury on the outskirts of Dorchester.

Course Tutor Manager: Lisa Mulcock VN, D32, D33, D34

Lisa is an experienced veterinary nurse and has been in the profession for over eighteen years, the last seven of which have seen her becoming increasingly involved in the NVQ aspect of the veterinary nursing profession. Lisa has experience as a head nurse and assessor in practice and is also Head of Centre and principal internal verifier for Lynwood School of Veterinary Nursing. She is also undertaking her certificate in education and from January 2007 will also take up the position of level 3 course tutor. Previously Lisa has been responsible for marketing and promotion of the VPAC certificate.

All enquiries regarding the VPAC should be addressed to the School:

Lynwood School of Veterinary Nursing
B1-B3 Hampton Business Park
Hampton Farm
Higher Bockhampton
Dorchester  DT2 8QH

Tel: 01305 264140

Alternatively you can e-mail Lisa Mulcock on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or telephone her on: 01305 264140.

September and April intakes are available for the course.

VPAC Holders by Year


Susan Whiting, Jill Halliday, Hilary Manning, Jennie Newark, Louisa Cooper, Helen Biggadike and Andrea Stanton


Becky Collins, Louise Clarkson, Je4ss Maughan, Wendy Cormack, Gemma Dix, Katie Wilkinson, Kate Forshaw, Michelle Kerley


Fiona Pugh, Katie Corder, Katie Esler, Clare Charlesworth


Jody Hall, Zoe Jackson, Danielle Coleman, Alison Odle, Claire Chedzoy


Heather Batchelor, Katherine Bennet, Clemantine Burrows, Helen Caley, Emma Cooksley, Rachel Coombs, Ciara Gallagher, Julia Gorst, Luke Halladay, Cat Yannakopoulos, Helen Parsons, Victoria Paul, Gwendoline Raeburn, Anna Rayne, Olivia Richardson, Samantha Robinson, Jenny Stanford, Jessie Thomas, Kim Tull, Louise Brice, Caroline Drummond, Denise Evans, Angie Robbins, Chloe Rodgers, Barbara Thornley, Caroline Whiddett, Margaret Allen, Sara Thompson, Kerry Smith, Pauline Dalby, Kelly Johnson


Kathryn Chappell, Sarah Close, Samantha Costelloe, Lindsey Dodd, Rosanne Fernee, Sian Ferris, Jennifer Fraley, Maria Hendy, Samantha Laing, Thomas London, Sarah Pretty, Rachel Rees, Victoria Roper, Sonia Nelson, Lesley Griffith, Maria Sitford, Kerry Fielding, Karen Linney, Rebecca Edwards


Jacqueline Kinder, Hilary Simpkin, Caroline Burke, Carolyn Edwards, Lucy Evans, Rebecca Grayston, Eleanor Haskey, Carina Jefferis, Samantha Meech, Helen Moate, Erica Moorhouse, Zoe Richards, Claire Rowles, Lisa Walters, Joanna Watson, Lucy Wilson, Christina Edgar, Sonia Howell, Karen Jones, Victoria Musk, Victoria Lee, Debbi Smith


Christine Pierce, Amanda Churches, Elizah Humphreys, Eleri Ingram, Kate Sparksman, Toni Whatley, Cathy Woodlands, Amy Busson, Amy Wiltshire, Rachel Fitzpatrick, Helen Wiltshire, Diane Taylor, Nicola Nurse


Lucy Bartlett, Aileen Currie, Gill Gadd, Tina Dawe, Lorraine Colgan, Tessa Driscoll, Rachael Bufton, Gemma Doble, Katie Harder, Emma Ewen, Karen Feakin, Tara Hughes, Judith Kennedy, Fiona Mullan, Natalie Osborne, Amy Perkins, Shelley Llewelyn, Claire James, Franchesca Wiley, Serena Simpson, Stephanie Driscoll, Roxi Elliston, Sarah Megan Cole, Paulette Hamilton, Sian Barr, Caroline Dodd, Joanna Brett, Catherine Bowley


Sarah Startup, Joanne Ashton, Lucy Ashton, Shannon Blair, Emma Clarke, Alicia Dunstone, Francesca Ingarfill, Rebecca Law, Zoe Lawlor, Naomi Lock, Kiia Stenman, Faye Waddington, Amy Wickison, Marianne Wikdahl, Faye Egan, Marion Shiell, Sophie Barnes, Rosemary Dorricott, Amy Griffiths, Cheryl Howard, Rebecca Jackson, Laura Marlow, Beth Poole, Elizabeth Rockey, Michelle Salmon, Joanne Skinner, Sally Teer, Hayley Wright, Hannah Barrett, Laura Brotherton, Helen Garbett, Hannah Jackson, Sarah Rochford, Alison Dye, Emma Chapman, Laura Watson, Marie Marquis


Elizabeth Pritchard, Sally Cantle, Nicola Snelling, Kay Irvine, Jessica Hazell, Michelle Toulouse, Victoria Lee, Victoria Crisp, Carly Atkinson, Jessica Randall, Hollie Bowring, Emma Hepworth, Dwysan Davies, Laura Arrandale, Christine Caven, Clare Mullen, Laura Sumpter, Faye Goodache, Alice Cheney, Louise Fallows, Kimberley Hall, Kim Couzens, Lisa Clay, Samantha Bull


Hannah Warren, Sharon Stobbs, Amber Barrett, Alexandra Slade, Amy Ribbons, Anna Grew, Devon Caffull, Emily Dutton, Jessica Buxton, Emma Page, Katie Charley, Kerry Cramp, Madaleine Todd, Nicole Hartley, Philippa Richmond, Rachel Jackson, Rebecca Schofield, Samantha Bell, Sarah Lane, Serena Cutbill, Shelley Ottewill, Sophie Willcox, Sarah Knight, Emma Hollingworth, Pamela Christie


Julia Smith, Alison Charlton, Felicity Adams, Kayleigh Bale, Emma-Louise Bates, Elliott Bridges, Alexa Callwood, Elizabeth Chipperfield, Christine Harris, Gemma Hunt, Amy Lewis, Rebecca Mason, Sarah Morrell, Ellie Paton, Jade Railton, Stephanie Sharratt, Louise Thorpe, Emma Woodvine, Corrine George, Cassie Rouse


Faye Davis, Sarah Nicholas, Emma Craig, Laura Critchley, Catherine Ellerback, Laura Forster, Jordan Francis, Rose Gidman, Jessica Hadler, Amelia Hubbard, Rebecca Irving, Helen O'Neill, Daisy Mulcahy, Aimee Richardson, Vicki Roberts, Emma Thompson, Louise Way, Hannah Wilding, Kelsie Allison, Hayley Barber-West, Chloe Butcher, Naomi Chandler, Christine Goldfinch, Rebecca Hodgson, Louise Kennedy, Lucy Kilner, Louise Kelcher, Robyn Richards, Deborah Sayer, Nicole Stevenson, Rebecca Stroud, Helen Wedge, Penny Leeper, Nicola Morris, Lucinda Smith, Clare Frazer


Helen Hughes, Janet Holt, Tina Pankhurst, Kay Iddon, Karen Franklin, Cerian Abbott, Sarah Beers, Jennifer Bell, Hannah Bent, Charlotte Dady, Corinne Flynn, Louisa Foster, Laura Hagston, Natasha Horne, Josephine Lees, Abigail Marshall, Hollie Morgan, Bethany Morris, Abigail Page, Zoe Roberts, Gemma Slater, Stephanie Tapson, Samantha Taylor, Sarah Whem, Kate Williams, Elspeth Elliot


Nina Boddy, Katie Gulliver, Jane Taylor, Joanne Lester, Beverley Williamson, Ruth Bennett