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FMD Review (Scotland) 2007

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SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

DISEASE PREPAREDNESS

High Priority (Critical)

Recommendation 20: The Scottish Government should continue to develop a risk hierarchy for priority movements which maps out the sequence of events after FMD confirmation. Different scenarios with appropriate timetables to enable farmers and others to plan for movements and understand how the controls would progress should be prepared as part of the contingency planning process. (High Priority)

Recommendation 23: The Scottish Government, Defra and other Devolved Administrations should develop a full set of veterinary risk assessments for all priority movements listed in the risk hierarchy. The development and up-dating of risk assessments should be a routine component of contingency planning as should regular reviews to take account of changing patterns of trade and other factors. Ideally the three GB administrations should agree to use a single set of risk assessments for GB to ensure a consistent approach to their application. (High Priority)

Recommendation 28: The Scottish Government should work with Defra to review the effectiveness of all the current systems to collect and record animal movement information and take action to ensure the systems are fit for purpose and can provide information on a GB-wide basis. (High Priority)

Recommendation 54: The Scottish Government's FMD Contingency Plan must be updated urgently to ensure it is fit for purpose and to take account of the lessons learned from this review and to incorporate the eight key recommendations from the independent report by Analytic Red. (High Priority)

Recommendation 55: The Scottish Government and Defra should work together to develop an overarching contingency plan which identifies the GB responsibilities and separates these from the specific England component of the current Defra plan. The mechanisms for the implementation of Scottish policy in the event of an outbreak in Scotland must be clearly specified as should the support to be provided by Defra and the funding available. (High Priority)

Medium Priority (Essential)

Recommendation 14: The Scottish Government should undertake a review of the effectiveness of movement standstills in periods of FMD freedom, and consider whether a 6 day or 13 day standstill with variable quality of separation agreements is the most appropriate precautionary measure. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 15: The Scottish Government should conduct a full risk assessment on the effectiveness of separation agreements during periods when movement controls and licensing are in place and consider whether there is a potential for utilising separation agreements during an FMD outbreak to minimise disruption to producers. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 19: The UK administrations should develop a clear policy for the use of the round stamp on carcasses and animal products in advance to ensure the availability of round stamps, and the resolution of the practical problems such as the costs of changing packaging for animal products at short notice. Round stamps should be held in reserve by the Meat Hygiene Service and not destroyed after an outbreak is over. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 24: The Scottish Government should develop a full set of movement licences and export certificates, based on risk assessments, using a standard set of conditions with clearer definitions. The pre-prepared licences should be reviewed on a regular basis to take account of changes in trade or husbandry patterns. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 26: The Scottish Government must ensure that it has access at all times to the expertise necessary to analyse information on movements and conduct risk analysis using the most up-to-date methodologies and techniques. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 27: The Scottish Government should develop and clarify the scientific advice and analysis it requires during times of FMD freedom and during outbreaks in order to ensure appropriate information and analysis are available to enable evidence based decisions to be made on risk areas and control strategies. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 29: The Scottish Government should continue to participate as an active member of the UK National Expert Group which should operate on a UK-wide basis. Membership of the group should be limited to experts with policy makers and delivery agents acting as observers. The input of policy makers should be limited to requesting advice and providing information as appropriate but not influencing discussions or the outcome of meetings. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 53: Procedures should be put in place to ensure regular updating of the FMD Contingency Plan in consultation with all stakeholders with a formal review at least every 3-5 years. (Medium Priority)

Low Priority (Desirable)

Recommendation 16: The Scottish Government may wish to review the need for the national movement ban in all circumstances taking into account the routine movement standstills on susceptible animals which are in force during periods of FMD freedom. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 17: The Scottish Government should provide greater clarity on the procedure for authorising slaughterhouses in the event of an FMD outbreak. This information should be available to stakeholders. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 18: The Scottish Government should work with the industry to review the procedures adopted at slaughterhouses and to develop solutions and protocols for dealing with issues such as unexpected arrivals, modifying the 24 hour rule and ensuring that vehicle wash facilities are adequate. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 21: Milk recording needs to be recognised as a priority for dairy farmers and as soon as risk assessment allows, technicians should be allowed on farm under the conditions of licence. A code of practice should be developed and agreed between the milk recording organisations and the Scottish Government. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 22: The Scottish Government and Animal Health agency should consider whether instructions could be developed to enable Divisional Veterinary Managers to use their judgement pertaining to local circumstances in deciding which movements within a farm business could be permitted. Specific licences could be issued under certain circumstance e.g. where a single farm business is identified and the move presents a low risk. It will be essential to balance flexibility against the need to maintain consistency across Scotland. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 25: Contacts should be developed and maintained with hobby farmers who should be registered in order to ensure they are included in the communications network if an FMD outbreak occurs. They need to be aware of their responsibilities for disease control and in order to achieve this the Scottish Government should work with stakeholders to develop programmes to assist hobby farmers. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 30: The Scottish Government should review how the science challenge and peer review aspects of dealing with emerging scientific evidence informing the response to an outbreak of disease can be improved. It should also consider how best to involve independent experts including economic, social and industry expertise. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 31: The Scottish Government should review its existing Science Advisory Committees to assess whether a new committee should be formed to provide ongoing expert advice and a challenge function for scientific and veterinary advice in the animal health and welfare field. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 32: The Scottish Government should review its links to Defra science, evaluate how robust these are and discuss with Defra the possibility of closer involvement within Defra Scientific Advisory Council and its sub-groups. (Low Priority)

REGIONALISATION

High Priority (Critical)

Recommendation 1: The Scottish Government working with Defra and the Devolved Administrations should take the lead to produce a standardised set of terms for regionalisation. The concepts of restricted zones, high and low risk areas as defined in the Directive and Decisions need to be developed further by the UK Government in co-operation with the European Commission to ensure that a single set of well defined terms is used effectively for the purposes of regionalisation in the event of an FMD outbreak. (High Priority)

Recommendation 3: In the light of experience in 2007 the Scottish Government and Defra should work with the European Commission to review, clarify and develop detailed rules for movement of livestock and their products between different risk areas and zones. (High Priority)

Recommendation 8: The Scottish Government and Defra should identify the criteria for the re-classification of risk areas from high to low risk and finally to disease free status with a view to moving down the chain as quickly as possible. The criteria should be discussed and agreed with the European Commission in the light of lessons learned from the 2007 outbreaks. (High Priority)

Recommendation 10: A number of regionalisation scenarios should be developed by the Scottish Government in order to evaluate the implications and impact of regionalisation taking into account the EU rules which applied in 2007. These should be debated by the Scottish Government with all the stakeholders representing each sector of the supply chain in Scotland to ensure that there is consensus on how regionalisation would be handled in the event of an FMD outbreak. (High Priority)

Recommendation 12: The Scottish Government and Defra should develop a protocol identifying the criteria for classifying GB into risk areas which could be used to relax movement controls in a proportionate manner. (High Priority)

Medium Priority (Essential)

Recommendation 2: The Scottish Government should work with Defra to assess whether compartmentalisation could be used effectively within the pig industry to permit internal trade and exports when an area is in a restricted zone or a national movement ban is in place. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 4: The prohibition by the Commission Decision 2007/554 on the movement of susceptible animals from low risk to high risk areas should be reviewed by Defra with the European Commission as this could act as a major constraint to the re-classification of the risk based areas. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 5: The UK administrations should review their FMD legislation to clarify terminology and avoid the requirement to declare a GB-wide restricted zone in order to impose the national movement ban. This review should be undertaken in conjunction with the European Commission and other Member States to incorporate the lessons learned from the 2007 FMD outbreak into UK and EU legislation. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 6: Discussions should take place between the UK national authorities and the European Commission to determine the way in which areas could be included in the free zone even if a national movement ban has been imposed on the whole of GB. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 11: A UK-wide plan and agreement on regionalisation must be developed in partnership with Defra and the Devolved Administrations during an FMD free period to be implemented whenever outbreaks occur in any part of the UK. (Medium Priority)

Low Priority (Desirable)

Recommendation 7: The Scottish Government should ensure detailed up-to-date information on the whole of the supply chain from producer through to retailer is regularly reviewed to ensure that the determination of the size and boundaries of a restricted zone and associated risk areas is based not only on the epidemiology of the outbreak but also takes into account the economic, trade and welfare implications for the areas concerned. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 9: Scottish Government officials should visit other EU Member States to assess their policies, progress and planning to regionalise in the event of an FMD outbreak. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 13: The Scottish Government should review with stakeholders the capacity for the processing and packaging of meat in Scotland to assess whether it could be increased with a view to reducing dependence on facilities in England and Wales. (Low Priority)

RELATIONSHIPS WITH UK GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS

High Priority (Critical)

Recommendation 35: The Scottish Government and Defra should prepare a guidance paper on relationships with the Devolved Administrations in order to stress the importance of respecting confidentiality and of being as open as possible. The benefits of agreeing such a protocol with the Devolved Administrations should be emphasised in order to improve working relationships at both Ministerial and official level. (High Priority)

Recommendation 36: In light of political, financial and organisational developments the Scottish Government and the UK Government must urgently review the existing Concordats to take account of these changes. They should ensure that the financial arrangements are clear and that budgets where appropriate are transferred to the Scottish Government to implement all the policies related to exotic disease control. Defra should not be required to fund any exotic disease control measures in Scotland. (High Priority)

Recommendation 37: Scottish Government should consult with the Cabinet Office to review existing arrangements to take account of the lessons learned in 2007 and to agree formally the protocol for involvement by Scottish Government Ministers and officials in the Civil Contingencies Committee ( CCC) when Cabinet Office Briefing Room ( COBR) is activated during an FMD outbreak. (High Priority)

Recommendation 49: The Scottish Government should conduct a fundamental review on the way in which animal health and welfare policy is delivered in Scotland in order to bring funding of service delivery into line with its devolved policy responsibilities. This may include the option of establishing a separate Animal Health agency for Scotland funded from a Scottish held budget or for maintaining a GB-wide agency but funded by the Scottish Government for the work undertaken in Scotland. (High Priority)

Medium Priority (Essential)

Recommendation 33: The Scottish Government and Defra should review the role and arrangements for the Animal Disease Policy Group ( ADPG) and consider whether a more effective system for agreeing policy and resolving differences on a UK-wide basis should be established to ensure a UK-wide approach to disease outbreaks no matter where the disease occurred or how small the outbreak. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 42: The Scottish Government must recognise that if FMD occurs at certain critical times of year it may be necessary to introduce a welfare scheme. The trigger points for this should be set out in the Scottish Government's FMD Contingency Plan. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 43: The Scottish Government should work with Defra and the Department for Transport (DfT) to identify trigger points for requesting relaxations in drivers' hours rules in the light of national movement ban requirements and licensing arrangements, to catalogue the information and analysis required from the Scottish Government for a successful application to ensure derogation is justified and available when needed. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 50: The Scottish Government, Defra and the Meat Hygiene Service ( MHS) should review the current arrangements for service delivery during an outbreak of notifiable disease and a revised service level agreement ( SLA) prepared to clarify the position. The SLA should be between the MHS and the Scottish Government alone and funding to support the SLA activities in Scotland should be held by the Scottish Government. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 52: The Scottish Government should instigate regular meetings between delivery partners at various levels, and agree a new mechanism for Scottish Government, Animal Health agency, Meat Hygiene Service and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities ( COSLA) to work together by developing a joint Memorandum of Understanding. (Medium Priority)

Low Priority (Desirable)

Recommendation 34: As indicated in the contingency plans of the Scottish Government and Defra an official from Scottish Government should be embedded at the National Disease Control Centre ( NDCC) from the outset of an outbreak. The reverse should be true if the outbreak occurs in Scotland. A detailed protocol for the role and responsibility of the liaison officer should be developed jointly by Defra and the Scottish Government. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 48: In the event of an FMD outbreak in GB the Senior Operations Manager, as well as the Scottish Account Manager from Animal Health agency, would need to be based in Scotland for the duration of an FMD outbreak. A detailed job description for both post holders during an outbreak should be prepared based on the role that the Head of Operations for Animal Health agency fulfilled during the 2007 outbreak. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 51: In the event of an FMD outbreak a senior HQ representative of the Meat Hygiene Service with delegated powers to make decisions and responsibility for issuing instructions should be present at the Disease Strategy Group ( DSG) and stakeholder meetings in Scotland. Attendance in person would be preferable but failing that use of teleconference or if feasible via videoconferencing. (Low Priority)

RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION

High Priority (Critical)

Recommendation 38: The Scottish Government should work with Defra and the other Devolved Administrations to develop a clear protocol for formal representation at routine and emergency meetings of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health ( SCoFCAH) when appropriate. This could be expanded to include representation by Devolved Administrations at other EU Council and Commission meetings. (High Priority)

Recommendation 40: The Scottish Government and Defra should establish a procedure or arbitration process to resolve issues which arise when an agreed UK-line for negotiations in Brussels cannot be established to the satisfaction of all parties. (High Priority)

Medium Priority (Essential)

nil

Low Priority (Desirable)

Recommendation 39: Defra should review the procedures for reporting the outcome of critical EU meetings to ensure that the Scottish Government and other Devolved Administrations receive the details as rapidly as possible. (Low Priority)

Recommendation 41: Relationships between Scottish Government officials and European Commission officials should be developed and improved with regular meetings and visits to Brussels. When arranging such visits the Scottish Government should liaise closely with UKRep. A procedure for information on agendas and minutes of meetings and discussions in Brussels to be passed to Edinburgh for information should be developed with UKRep. (Low Priority)

COMMUNICATIONS WITH STAKEHOLDERS

High Priority (Critical)

Recommendation 44: The Scottish Government must update their Communications Strategy for exotic diseases incorporating the recommendations of the Barkers report, the relevant lessons learned in this report and agree the revised Strategy with all stakeholders. Areas where joint action with stakeholders is practical should be developed and incorporated into the Strategy. (High Priority)

Medium Priority (Essential)

Recommendation 45: The Scottish Government should work with stakeholders to define the precise role and membership of the Stakeholder Group during an outbreak of FMD or other notifiable disease. This should include the practicality of establishing small sub-groups with relevant industry bodies where specialist expertise is required to discuss specific issues. (Medium Priority)

Recommendation 47: Scottish Government should continue to work with stakeholders to use a range of communications and to develop cost effective communication methods to ensure maximum distribution of information that meets the needs of all stakeholders, groups and individuals in the event of an outbreak. (Medium Priority)

Low Priority (Desirable)

Recommendation 46: The Scottish Government should make better use of teleconferencing and develop the facility by obtaining improved and more effective equipment. Videoconferencing facilities should be developed for use by key stakeholders. (Low Priority)