CONCORDAT BETWEEN THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD (MAFF) AND THE SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE (SE) IN RESPECT OF THE STATE VETERINARY SERVICE (SVS) AND ANIMAL DISEASE COMPENSATION
This concordat is an agreed framework for co-operation between MAFF and SE in relation to the SVS and animal disease compensation. It sets down the key principles and practices underlying this co-operation. It is not intended to constitute a legally enforceable contract or to create any rights or obligations which are legally enforceable. The concordat is consistent with, and operates within the overarching framework of, the Main Concordat between MAFF and SE.
MAFF and SE agree that the following provisions will apply in respect of the SVS which is a group of MAFF.
Part 1 - PRINCIPLES
1. There is unimpeded movement of animals and products within and between England, Scotland and Wales. All areas are equally at risk from rapidly spreading epidemic diseases and must be regarded as a single disease control unit. GB already has the status of a single epidemiological zone. Efficient disease control demands a rapid and uniform response and to achieve this successfully the following principles should be embraced.
2. A single unified SVS under the line management of the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) allows for rapid decision-taking, prioritisation of responsibilities, efficient use of manpower and prompt deployment of staff within the disease control unit in response to emergencies. MAFF agrees to continue to provide the necessary advice and services to this end.
3. The United Kingdom must be represented by one person the GB CVO in relation to EU and international negotiations and at international forums.
4. SE will retain responsibility for disease compensation payments made under the TB and brucella legislation. Compensation payments for other notifiable diseases will be made by MAFF (Animal Health Group) under procedures agreed between MAFF and SE as appropriate for the particular disease. To this end the Scotland Act 1998 (Concurrent Functions) Order 1999 has been made, giving MAFF the statutory authority to make such payments.
5. The SVS will provide an appropriate level of professional and technical staff to service the requirement of Scottish animal health, public health and animal welfare legislation, subject to the need for flexibility of deployment throughout GB (paragraphs 9-11 of Part II). SE will provide all administrative staff necessary to support the SVS in Scotland.
6. Implementation of animal health and welfare legislation throughout GB will be carried out by the SVS.
7. In the event of SE bringing forward non-EC based legislation or legislation which goes beyond EC requirements on animal health or welfare, there may be implications on staffing requirements. Where there is an additional cost to the introduction of any such Scotland only legislation, this cost will be borne by SE.
Part 2 - DETAILS
Role of the CVO
1. The CVO will be head of the SVS operations in Scotland comprising the SVS headquarters staff and the SVS Field staff. The CVO's nominated representative in Scotland will be the Assistant Chief Veterinary Officer (ACVO) Scotland. Normally, advice to SE will be through the ACVO. However, the CVO will have the right to approach Ministers of OSE directly after first informing the ACVO.
Responsibilities of the CVO will include:-
- confirmation of notifiable disease in Great Britain;
- veterinary export certification of live animals and their products from GB;
- representation of UK interests at International forums;
- liaison with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and,
- liaison with the British Veterinary Association.
2. The CVO will receive advice from the ACVO Scotland on all veterinary matters affecting Scotland which are relevant to the GB situation.
Services to be provided
3. The ACVO will be responsible for providing advice to SE on all veterinary issues, including the animal health, animal welfare and veterinary public health policies.
4. In Scotland, the ACVO will be responsible for ensuring that the policies of SE in relation to animal health, animal welfare and veterinary public health are implemented by the SVS. The ACVO will report to the CVO on the implementation.
5. In Scotland, SE will provide suitably trained administrative staff to administer the animal health, animal welfare and veterinary public health policies of SE and provide support to Scottish HQ and Scottish Field SVS veterinary and technical staff.
6. In Scotland, SE will provide all accommodation and office services for the SVS. It will meet all telecommunication, utility, office consumable, postal and carriage costs incurred by the SVS in its operations in Scotland.
Resources to be committed
7. The SVS permanent staff resources to be committed in Scotland will be the subject of an annual agreement between MAFF and SE. Future resourcing levels would take account of disease incidence in Great Britain.
8. The level of resources provided by SE will be subject to annual agreement. In particular, SE will provide funds for any new non-EC legislative requirements of the Scottish Executive which require expenditure, for example through disease compensation or through additional enforcement.
Flexibility in Service provision
9. Priorities will be set by the CVO who reserves the right to utilise and deploy all veterinary and technical staff of the SVS anywhere in Great Britain to meet the prioritised needs.
10. In the event of an animal health emergency involving the SVS, anywhere in Great Britain, overall operations will be controlled from SVS Headquarters, Tolworth. In the case of limited emergencies in Scotland where ad hoc veterinary advice or action is required, e.g., under a FEPA Order, this will be co-ordinated by the ACVO Scotland in consultation with the CVO.
11. In an emergency situation, on request from the ACVO, SE will arrange for the setting up and support of any necessary local control centres in Scotland.
Powers of SVS staff in Scotland
12. All SVS veterinary staff and all SVS technical staff in Great Britain will be given powers under any Scottish legislation to act as veterinary inspectors or inspectors respectively in carrying out the functions of SE.
13. There will be a unified set of SVS Field instructions so that Field staff may work consistently in any part of GB. Procedures will be set in place to ensure that instructions are updated and revised on a GB-wide basis.
Provision and Use of IT Systems
14. The SVS operating in Scotland will continue to use the GB National IT systems provided and maintained by MAFF including the Work Recording System. Any individual Scottish systems which are developed must be compatible with MAFF systems in format, etc, to enable information to be transferred within the SVS.
Local Veterinary Inspectors
15. Local Veterinary Inspectors (LVIs) appointed for the furtherance of SVS duties will be deployed in Scotland under the direction of the Divisional Veterinary Manager (DVM). Their fees will be paid by MAFF using the VETNET and LVI Claims System. The CVO will be responsible for a GB Memorandum of Conditions of Appointment of LVIs. MAFF will be responsible for negotiation of the LVI Fee structure with the British Veterinary Association.
16. Samples for diagnostic purposes collected by the SVS in Scotland will be sent to the appropriate GB National laboratory as determined by the CVO. All results will be available initially to the CVO. In the case of exports where testing is required in order to provide the certification by the LVI or whole-time Veterinary Officer, the CVO will determine the laboratory to be used. Procedures for the approval of laboratories and negotiations with laboratories on service and levels of payment will be a matter for MAFF.
Animal Disease Surveillance
17. SE will fund animal disease surveillance in Scotland and will continue to provide information in an agreed format to the GB national databases (currently VIDA). Surveillance must be planned, executed and co-ordinated on a GB-wide basis to ensure EU commitments are met. SE will participate in this through its membership of a GB Surveillance Co-ordination Committee.
18. MAFF will remain the employer and line manager of SVS veterinary and technical staff deployed in Scotland. It will be responsible for all matters relating to their personnel management, pay, promotion, transfer and all other conditions of employment. SE will be consulted on the appointment of the ACVO.
19. As the employer of all administrative staff working for the SVS in Scotland, SE will be responsible for all matters relating to their personnel management, pay, promotion, transfer and all other conditions of employment. The staff will however be line managed by SVS staff.
Fees and Charges
20. Any fees or charges collected in furtherance of the activities covered by this Concordat will accrue to MAFF in support of their expenditure on such activities. They shall be separately identifiable with any MAFF accounting systems.
21. As with the Main Concordat the terms of this Concordat will be formally reviewed after one year and three years of operation at five yearly intervals thereafter.
22. This Concordat is agreed and signed on behalf of -
State Veterinary Service
Animal Health Group, MAFF
Animal Health and Welfare, SERAD
Note: The setting up of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) may lead to a change in the allocation of responsibilities noted in this agreement and hence it may need to be reviewed once the final remit and functions of the FSA have been established.