Official vets

Official vets (OVs) are veterinary surgeons appointed by government to carry out authorised duties on its behalf. They are not employees of the Minister but are rather appointed under the terms of a Memorandum. The work performed by OVs is normally of a statutory nature and is often undertaken at public expense.

Following a tendering exercise in 2014, OV services, including TB testing in cattle, non-bovines, brucellosis testing, anthrax investigations, and disease outbreak response are now provided by Delivery Partners using a network of subcontracted veterinary practices in England and Wales.

In 2014 the contract for the training and revalidation of OVs was awarded to Improve International.

Revalidation of Official Vet qualifications

We’re aware of member concerns around the revalidation requirements for OCQ(V)s and understand that this could have a detrimental impact on the UK’s ability to respond to disease outbreak and service export certification needs both now and post-Brexit.

In summer 2018 we asked you to complete a survey telling us which qualifications you hold, or have dropped, and why.

The response rate was unprecedented, with almost 1300 of you getting in touch, citing expiry of grandfather rights and the onerous and repetitive nature of the training as key reasons for deciding to drop your qualifications.

Read the summary results of the OV revalidation survey (PDF 241 KB).

Following presentation of the findings to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and joint working on a series of recommendations, APHA announced plans for reform in January 2019. Under the new plans:

  • The revalidation interval will be standardised to four years for all courses, and the revalidation window extended to 6 months
  • The option of more flexible invigilator choice will be explored
  • Multiple Choice Questions will be reviewed
  • The relevance of the course content will be reviewed
  • A separate farm animal course will be introduced
  • APHA will work with BVA and the relevant divisions to develop other species specific courses where required

These changes could not have happened without your input, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who took part as your input provided us with invaluable data to support our campaign.

Read the APHA briefing document

We are looking forward to continuing to work closely with APHA as the proposals are developed and implemented to help support this critical section of the veterinary workforce. Your continued input is welcomed via

Expiry of grandfather rights – ES and EX

Please note that Improve International recently issued reminders to OVs holding Grandfather Rights for OCQ(V) - ES and OCQ(V) - EX that the revalidation deadline for these qualifications is 30 June 2019. The OCQ(V) - ES is a prerequisite for the authorisation of OVs under specific qualifications and failure to revalidate the OCQ(V) - ES will result in expiry of any OV authorisation that requires ES to be held.

Similarly OCQ(V) - EX is a prerequisite for the authorisation of OVs under the specific export qualifications and failure to revalidate OCQ(V) - EX will result in expiry of any OV authorisation that requires EX to be held.

Read the APHA Briefing Note (PDF 138 KB)

Revalidation must be completed by the 30 June 2019 deadline in order to retain any OV status for which ES or EX is a prerequisite.