Regional representatives - who are they and why should you care?

Posted on June 05, 2018 by Amelia Findon

As the national representative body for the UK veterinary profession, providing a strong voice for members is at the heart of what we do. We can only achieve that with the support of our regional representatives, whose role is to engage with members on the ground and ensure that the issues that matter to you most are brought to BVA Council.

Why get to know your representative?

Perhaps a lot of the time you’re generally happy that BVA is ‘getting on with it’ on your behalf and you don’t feel the need to get in touch on every issue. That’s fine, we understand that, and we know that when you’re busy with day-to-day life, engaging in veterinary politics drops down the to-do list.

But what happens when there’s an issue that really concerns you? What if you want to influence a policy position that’s developing, or you’ve become aware of an emerging issue that you think we should be doing something about?

Whilst we always welcome calls and emails from members direct to the office, your regional representative is there for you as the local contact, someone who understands the issues which might be unique to your area, and someone who will have a feel for what other members in the region think. Crucially, your regional representative attends BVA Council meetings and therefore understands the priority areas we’re working on, and understands how you can influence BVA’s policy development and campaigning work.

This year regional representatives have already spoken up at Council on issues as varied as Brexit and workforce, complementary and alternative medicine, the growth of corporate veterinary practice, veterinary scanning surveillance, and brachycephalic dogs. I’m sure you would want your views to be reflected in some of the discussions around these key issues.

So, who is your regional representative?

You might well be wondering who your regional representative is, how they got there, and what gives them the right to speak on your behalf.

All twelve regional representatives (nine in England, and one in each of the devolved regions of the UK) are elected by members for a three-year term, following an open nomination period. All BVA members are entitled to put themselves forward when a vacancy becomes available, and all BVA members are given the option to vote online during the elections which are run on our behalf by the independent Electoral Reform Service.

The most recent election, at the beginning of this year, attracted our highest ever voter turnout, giving the successful candidates in those regions a strong mandate from members to act on their behalf.

The current regional representatives are listed on our website. You can contact them directly as follows:

For members in the devolved regions of the UK, you can also contact your local BVA Branch:

Your regional representative can only do their job effectively if you take the time to tell them what you think. They’ll be in touch with you by email in advance of every Council meeting, outlining the key issues for discussion and inviting your comments. They’ll also get in touch after the Council meeting to tell you how it went. But you don’t have to leave it until then – we encourage you to contact your representative at any time on the email addresses above. You might even want to invite them along to a local event so that you can benefit from that all important face-to-face contact.

Your regional representative is waiting to hear from you, so why not drop them a line?

Amelia Findon

Written by Amelia Findon

BVA Head of Policy and Governance

Amelia joined BVA in 2008, originally in member services, before moving into policy and becoming Head of Policy and Governance in 2015. Amelia works with the team to ensure that the policy forming and representational structure is fit for purpose, proactive and strategic at a national and European level.