The Farriers Registration Bill 2016-17 passed into law as the Farriers Registration Act 2017 on April 27, 2017. This new statute is the product of a 5-year consultation between farriery professionals, equine owners, the public and government.
The act delivers much needed modernization to the constitution of the Farriers Registration Council (FRC), which has been the regulatory body for farriery in Great Britain for 42 years.
The act delivers separation of powers for the investigation and discipline functions of the FRC. No longer will FRC members, who make policy, adjudicate on the application of policy in pursuit of complaints. This will align the practices and procedures of the FRC with current Human Right Legislation.
Other key constitutional improvements include limiting council members to two periods of 4 years only on the FRC. This will attend to the weakness in regulatory bodies, described by Lord Paul Bew in his report on regulatory bodies to the prime minster in 2016 as the “revolving door.” The FRC shall now also set fitness to practice standards for FRC members that will serve to raise the professional standards of the FRC as a national regulatory body.
“The FRC is grateful to all those who contributed to an extensive consultation with government,” says Tony Charlwood, FRC chairman. “The product is a modernized statute that will set a sound platform for regulation of farriery in the early to mid-21st century.”
Kevin Willard, executive committee member and senior farriery examiner for the British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association, commented, “The new act is long overdue. It will ensure the essential fairness that must be at the heart of the investigation and discipline system. Farriers have recognized this and have played a significant part in bringing about these improvements.”
Charlwood added, “All those with an interest in the effective regulation of farriery are indebted to Byron Davies MP (Con, Gower) for sponsoring the bill in the House of Commons, and to the Earl of Caithness (Con) for sponsoring the bill in the House of Lords. That the bill succeeded in passing into law is due to the very considerable hard work and commitment of George Eustice MP, (Con, Redruth and Camborne) minister of state for agriculture, fisheries and food, and of Lord Gardiner of Kimble, parliamentary under secretary of state for rural affairs and biosecurity, supported by their officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.”