College of Paramedics Granted Royal Charter


The College of Paramedics is thrilled to announce that we have been granted the Charter of Incorporation by His Majesty King Charles III.

The Royal Charter was granted to the College in recognition of its objectives to inspire and enable all paramedics to participate in the profession within an environment based on safety, collegiality, inclusiveness, mental and physical wellbeing and innovation.

The issue of the Royal Charter represents an important milestone in the development of the College of Paramedics, provides recognition for the profession, gives strength to our professional voice and leadership and offers our members a moment of immense pride. It also cements the College in perpetuity, meaning that there will always be a College of Paramedics for the future, supporting and guiding the profession forevermore.

Chief Executive of the College of Paramedics, Tracy Nicholls said:
“I am delighted we have been able to achieve this on behalf of our members, and to strengthen the College for the future. Gaining the Royal Charter is the first step towards being granted the title ‘Royal’ but our journey to increase leadership and development across our profession has a solid foundation for future chartered titles and more scope for development of paramedics.”

President of the College of Paramedics, Jon Price said:
“I am extremely proud that the College of Paramedics has received this level of recognition, and this represents a monumental effort from a large number of people who have tirelessly worked with the College since its inception to get us to this point.
“The College has been recognised as a well-run charity whose purpose brings value, not only to its members but the nation as a whole. It is also recognition for every paramedic in the UK and beyond, in whatever professional setting you work, that your contribution to the profession is absolutely acknowledged and valued.”

The College of Paramedics began life as the British Paramedic Association on December 14, 2001, when it was established as the professional body for paramedics in the UK. Three years later, the organisation rebranded itself the College of Paramedics and within 15 years of its inception, the College had 10,000 members. This figure has continued to grow over the years and today stands at more than 20,000 members.

Since its early days, the College has been instrumental in developing the paramedic profession and was responsible for writing the first standards of proficiency for paramedics in 2004, introducing the British Paramedic Journal, presenting the first paramedic curriculum framework in 2006, raising the threshold for entry to the Health and Care Professions Council’s register to degree status and achieving independent prescribing for paramedics. More recently, thanks to the College’s work with Public Health England and NHS England Public Health Commissioning and Operations, it was announced in September 2023 that primary care paramedics would be able to undertake the training required to become sample takers in the NHS Cervical Screening Programme.

Several of these achievements occurred under the presidency of Dr John Martin, who has been a member of the College since 2004 and was president between 2017 and 2023, and who has been invaluable in guiding the College on its path to Royal Charter status.

Dr John Martin, currently Chief Executive of South Western Ambulance Service, on secondment from his role as Chief Paramedic and Quality Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at London Ambulance Service said:
“This is a fantastic acknowledgment that paramedics have become a key part of society delivering as a trusted profession to patients. The recognition through a Royal Charter confirms this and means the College of Paramedics will now be in place to support ongoing development for generations to come. It’s excellent news!”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Royal Charter?
A Royal Charter is an instrument of incorporation, granted by The King, which confers independent legal personality on an organisation and defines its objectives, constitution and powers to govern its own affairs. The terms of each Charter are therefore somewhat different, depending on the individual requirements of the type of organisation that is being incorporated. 

Where are we on our journey? 
At the Privy Council meeting held on Wednesday 21st February 2024, His Majesty The King approved an Order formally granting a Charter of Incorporation to the College of Paramedics.   

The Charter will not come into legal effect until the Great Seal is affixed to the vellum copy by the Crown Office at the House of Lords.   

What effect does a Charter of Incorporation have on a professional body? 
Incorporation by Charter is a prestigious way of acquiring legal personality and reflects the high status of that body. The authority for the grant of a Charter comes from the Royal Prerogative, that is to say, the grant is made by the Sovereign (on the advice of the Privy Council). 

An institution incorporated by Charter is, subject to the general law, generally self-regulating and not answerable to the Privy Council or the Privy Council Office in relation to the conduct of its internal affairs. The role of the Privy Council Office only extends to dealing with applications for new Charters and amendments to existing ones. In both cases, the work is instigated by the applicant or the Chartered body itself. 

What is the history of incorporation by Charter?  
Before the 19th century, the grant of a Charter of Incorporation was the principal method of creating separate legal personalities. By this means, universities, colleges, schools, municipalities, guilds and livery companies, a wide range of benevolent institutions and, with the development of trade, a growing number of joint stock companies were incorporated over a long period. Various criteria were applied over the years to such grants. When legislation was introduced in the 19th century facilitating the incorporation of commercial enterprises, and with the advent of charities legislation, the occasion for incorporation by the grant of a Charter became much reduced, and the grant of a Charter came to be seen more as a special token of Royal favour or as a mark of distinction. 

As such, it came to be limited to bodies pre-eminent in their field and satisfying certain criteria, which varied according to the category in which the applicant fell, and since the 1950s one of these criteria has been that the petitioner shall exist not solely to advance the interests of its members but also, and primarily, to advance the public interest. 

Does having a Royal Charter entitle an organisation to use the title ‘Royal’?
No. A Charter does not confer on an organisation the right to use Royal names and titles, including the title ‘Royal’. 

Applications for the use of the title ‘Royal’ in a company or business name are considered by the Royal Names Team of the Constitution Group of the Cabinet Office.

Some Chartered organisations have, separately, applied for and been granted permission to use ‘Royal’ in their title, in addition to receiving a Charter. 

What does this mean to me as a member? 
The receipt of Chartership solidifies the College’s reputation as the recognised authority within Paramedicine. As a member, this recognition gives a greater weight to your collective voice in shaping your profession through the College. 

- Benefits of achieving Royal College status include:  

- Recognition of professional expertise 

- Increased public confidence and awareness 

- Strengthen the organisation 

- Creates aspiration 

Why do some individuals call themselves ‘Chartered’? 
Chartered is used to indicate that someone, such as an accountant or a surveyor, has formally qualified in their profession. Chartered status originates from royal charters issued to professional bodies in the UK by the British Monarch. There is much work to do for the College in this area, will provide updates as we progress. 

What are the next stages?  
The terms of the Charter will not come into legal effect until the Great Seal is affixed to the vellum copy by the Crown Office at the House of Lords. We have been advised that this will be at least a couple of months. The Vellum copy of the Carter will be produced, we will formally approve this, which will then be printed. 

Once printed the vellum will be taken to the Crown Office at the House of Lords for sealing with the Great Seal. Once the Great Seal has been affixed to the vellum copy, the Crown office will contact the College to arrange for collection.