Policy Advisory Council
The Policy Advisory Council develops AVA policies and position statements and consults extensively with members about the issues that are important to the profession. A policy outlines a subject where there is a high degree of consensus from members, while a position statement indicates a greater diversity of views.
Each division and special interest group committee nominates a Policy Councillor, who represents that group of members at council meetings.
Policy Advisory Council meets each year, and working groups collaborate between meetings to review and update old policies, as well as develop or refine new ones.
What's the difference between a policy and a position statement?
A policy is where there is a high level of consensus among members about the issue. A position statement reflects a significant diversity of opinion among members on the topic.
A draft is prepared by a working group, usually led by the relevant special interest group representative on the Policy Advisory Council.
The draft is discussed and amended at a Policy Advisory Council meeting, and a majority vote agrees to send the second draft to members for comment.
Draft policies for comment are circulated to all AVA members through the Australian Veterinary Journal and eLine electronic newsletter. Many policy councillors also contact their group members directly asking for feedback on proposed policies.
All member comments are distributed prior to the next meeting and then extensively debated by Policy Advisory Council at that meeting. Often further changes are made in response to this second debate.
The final draft is arrived at by majority vote, and it is sent to the AVA Board for review. When the Board ratifies the policy it becomes official organisational policy and the Policy Compendium and website are updated.
How else is policy decided?
If action is required on an issue where no policy exists, either the Board makes the policy decision, or delegates that responsibility to a group of members with the appropriate knowledge and expertise to reach consensus. This group is usually led by the AVA President, and includes policy staff, appropriate special interest group representatives, and any other special experts that are required.