Introduction to the Review
1.1 The State Veterinary Service, which historically delivered animal health and welfare services in Great Britain was restructured as an Executive Agency of Defra on 1 April 2005 and has transitioned over time to its current model as the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Most of the policy relating to animal health and welfare was fully devolved to Scottish Ministers as part of the devolution settlement in 2000. In 2011 parts of the animal health and welfare delivery budgets were devolved to Scottish Government. The "Concordat on animal health and welfare matters between (1) the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2) the Scottish Ministers and (3) the Welsh Ministers" provided an undertaking that Scottish Government would continue funding APHA for at least the duration of the Spending Review period starting in April 2011 and ending in March 2015.
1.2 Scottish Ministers pledged to work with livestock keepers to get best value from the devolved budgets and to continue building on the good progress made across a number of animal health issues in Scotland in recent years.
1.3 Scottish Ministers committed to carrying out a review to consider the way forward noting that this review would need to carefully consider the diverse nature of APHA, and the benefits Scotland receives from being part of a GB organisation
2 Terms of reference
2.1 The terms of reference were developed by Scottish Government to direct the work undertaken during the review of the delivery of animal health and welfare work delivered for Scottish Ministers by the APHA. The full terms of reference can be found in Annex 1. The aim and objectives of this work are:
a. The review will consider whether it would be most beneficial for Scottish Ministers to either retain some or all the existing services delivered by the APHA, or create a Scottish Veterinary Service by:
- Identifying advantages and disadvantages of each option;
- Outlining one or more alternative delivery models; and
- Identifying critical areas where further work may be required to allow Ministers to make an informed decision
b. The reviewer may also identify activities and operations by APHA (other than the Scottish APHA Field Service), or other organisations in the field of animal health and veterinary controls, that may also be considered for delivery by a potential Scottish Veterinary Service.
c. The research objectives for this project are to:
Assess the current cost and infrastructure of the field delivery of animal health and welfare services delivered by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in Scotland.
Review whether the existing staff numbers are adequate in order to deliver an efficient and resilient service.
Provide recommendations for the future delivery of animal health and welfare field services delivered by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in Scotland.
2.2 The terms of reference also required the production of a final report, containing an executive summary and providing recommendations SG regarding the delivery of field services in line with the aim and objectives of the project.
3.1 Whilst commissioned by the SG the review was carried out independently from both SG and APHA. SG provided secretariat support to arrange meetings, visits and teleconferences and, where required, provision of documentation relevant to the work.
3.2 The review was undertaken in a short time period and consequently, was limited to a review of documentation relating to current arrangements and interviews with a wide range of partners and stakeholders with roles or interest in the delivery of animal health and welfare services in Scotland. These included industry, delivery, enforcement, surveillance and research organisations. Recognising the impact of any potential change the reviewer engaged with interested organisations across Scotland as well as consulting APHA and the UK CVOs.
3.3 Interviewees were asked a set of core questions which were augmented by questions specific to their areas of interest. All participants were invited to provide any further evidence that they thought was relevant. Any further information or clarification required was sought through the secretariat.
4.1 I am grateful to officials in the Scottish Government and APHA for their contributions to the review which were open and comprehensive. This allowed an assessment of current delivery, the identification of the many strengths of the existing arrangements as well as issues of concern. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the various organisations and individuals who contributed their time and thoughts to the review. Finally, I would like to thank the secretariat for the high-quality support and resilience provided throughout the review process.