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College launches investigation into its JVP

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By Adele Waters and Josh Loeb

The RCVS has launched an investigation into allegations concerning its junior vice president (JVP) David Argyle.

Argyle (pictured right), the current dean of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, has stepped aside from his duties as JVP and as an RCVS council member while the investigation takes place.

The college’s investigation follows receipt of a formal concern about allegations of bullying and unfair treatment at Argyle’s workplace, the University of Edinburgh.

These allegations have been reported by Vet Record (see 17/24 October and 31 October/7 November issues).

The RCVS said the probe would be handled under its ‘normal concerns investigation process’.

Argyle made a statement to fellow council members during a confidential session of an RCVS council meeting on 5 November.

In a statement following the meeting, an RCVS spokesperson said: ‘Further to our previous statement (28 October 2020) concerning our JVP, Professor David Argyle, and reported allegations of bullying at his workplace, the University of Edinburgh, we can confirm that a concern has been raised formally with us about this matter and that we are now investigating it under our normal concerns investigation process.

‘Professor Argyle made a private statement about the reported allegations to RCVS council at its meeting (5 November 2020), having already agreed to answer a number of written questions about the same from a number of council members in the preceding days.

Argyle has made the personal decision to step aside from his JVP and council duties

‘As part of this statement, Professor Argyle told the council that in light of the concern being raised against him with the RCVS, he had made the personal decision to step aside from his JVP and council duties until the concern was investigated and concluded.

‘The council did not request this course of action, but acknowledged that this was Professor Argyle’s personal choice, made for personal reasons.

‘In line with our normal protocols, and to ensure fairness for all parties involved, we will be unable to offer any further public comment about this investigation for the time being.

‘However, we would like to reassure the professions that we remain firmly committed to following due and proper process in all our regulatory activities.’

A spokesperson for the University of Edinburgh said: ‘We fully support the personal decision of Professor David Argyle to step aside from his RCVS duties until the issues raised are looked into and concluded. We will work closely with the RCVS in the course of its investigation and will provide any assistance we are able to. In the meantime, Professor Argyle continues to have the full support of the university.’

The BVA described Argyle’s decision to step aside as ‘judicious’.

Its president, James Russell, said: ‘The whole situation has been deeply challenging for everyone – Professor Argyle, the individuals who reported their experiences, staff and students at Edinburgh, the RCVS, BVA and the wider profession. We know from private correspondence that there has been a wide range of responses.

‘I’d like to remind everyone that the Vetlife helpline is available for the whole veterinary community and the BVA legal helpline can provide advice and support on any workplace concerns – for both employees and employers.’

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