Official vets

Official vets (OVs) perform veterinary work on behalf of an EU member state. OVs were previously referred to as Local Veterinary Inspectors (LVIs). The work performed by OVs is normally of a statutory nature and is often undertaken at public expense.

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 payment of OVs is based on an agreed fee for service.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) was formed in late 2014 and combined the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) with the four functions of the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA; Bee inspectorate, the Plants Health and Seeds Inspectorate, the Plant Variety and Seeds Group and the GM Inspectorate).

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

Delivery Partners

Region Delivery Partner
Wales North Menter a Busnes
Wales South Iechyd Da (Gwledig) Ltd
England South East XL Farmcare South East Ltd
England South West 1 XL Farmcare Devon and Cornwall Ltd
England South West 2 XL Farmcare Wessex Ltd
England Midlands XL Farmcare Midlands Ltd
England North XL Farmcare North Ltd

BVA activity

  • In June 2010 BVA wrote to AHVLA highlighting members' concerns about the future of disease eradication plans and the management of outbreaks.
  • In 2011 BVA and BCVA wrote to AHVLA to inform them of members’ views on competitive tendering for TB testing.
  • In 2012, BVA provided written and oral evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee inquiry on the rationalisation of AHVLA's laboratory services in England and AHVLA's proposals for competitive tendering for OV services. 
  • On 30 July 2013 Defra announced that they were preparing a tender exercise on behalf of AHVLA for a Veterinary Delivery Partnership and BVA and BCVA issued a joint statement. BVA consulted further with members in September 2013 and wrote to AHVLA outlining a number of comments and concerns:
    BVA letter to AHVLA regarding Veterinary Delivery Partnership Project - August 2013
    AHVLA response to BVA letter - September 2013
  • On 14 February 2014, BVA wrote to the AHVLA to raise member concerns about the IT system, SAM, and to seek reassurance that problems would be resolved before TB testing commenced through the Veterinary Delivery Partnership. 
  • BVA also wrote to HM Treasury on 21 February 2014, to re-state BVA’s position against tendering and emphasise the wealth of experience and flexibility that local vets bring in delivering TB testing.
  • Following the AHVLA announcement that OVs would lose Local Veterinary Inspector (LVI) powers (under the Animal Health Act 1981), BVA communicated potential issues to AHVLA.
  • From 6 April 2014 LVI status was removed from OVs.
  • On 23 June 2014 AHVLA announced that they have awarded a contract for the training and revalidation of OVs in England, Scotland and Wales to Improve International
  • On 27 April 2015 BVA and BCVA wrote to the Secretary of State raising member concerns regarding the Veterinary Delivery Partner contracts and in particular the short time-frame within which to sign. The letter requested an extension to the deadline to the end of May, with a start date of 1 June, in order to give veterinary practices enough time to consider the contracts properly, take legal advice if necessary, and to discuss any questions or concerns with the Delivery Partners.  

More information can be found on the BVA community platform where members can feed in their views.