Official Controls Qualification
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Revalidation

APHA Notification of Extensions to Revalidation Deadlines for Specific OCQ(V) Qualifications

APHA Briefing Note 19/18.

Summary of New Requirements for OVs
For those with a current revalidation deadline of 31 March 2019:

OCQ(V) New Enrolment Deadline New Completion Deadline New Window for Completion
TT 28 Feb 2020 31 March 2020 1 Feb 2019 - 31 March 2020
CA 31 March 2019 30 April 2019 1 Feb 2019 – 30 April 2019
SX 31 March 2019 30 April 2019 1 Feb 2019 – 30 April 2019
EX 31 May 2019 30 June 2019 1 Feb 2019 – 30 June 2019
ES 31 May 2019 30 June 2019 1 Feb 2019 – 30 June 2019

Why is revalidation important?

It is no longer appropriate for vets authorised to perform official functions to be trained once and then given minimal support for the rest of their careers.  Procedures change, skills can be lost, and it is important that vets are confident that their knowledge is up-to-date when they carry out an official function, not least to have a defence should something go wrong.  Other professions have introduced revalidation and, while it may not be a requirement for many aspects of veterinary practice, it is considered essential for duties discharged on behalf of government in order to meet international standards. For this reason APHA has introduced a revalidation requirement for OCQ(V)s to provide assurance that OVs are maintaining and continuously improving their competence and applying the same to their work.

For more information please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below.

How does it work?

The validation period for each OCQ(V) is shown below. To retain the qualification, it is necessary to successfully complete revalidation training before the end of the revalidation period appropriate to the specific OCQ(V).

If an OV does not revalidate an OCQ(V) by its expiry date, their status for this qualification will be expired by APHA  and they will be unable to continue to carry out OV work that requires this OCQ(V). The expiry date of each OCQ(V) is determined from one of the following:

  • the date on which an OV passed the original OCQ(V) 
  • the 1st April 2015, if the OCQ(V) was granted by grandfather rights  
  • the date of completing previous revalidation training.

Improve International will send reminders to OVs prior to the expiry date of each OCQ(V).  If you do not complete the revalidation and your OV status is withdrawn you will be required to complete the full OCQ(V) before applying again for OV status. If you hold multiple OCQ(V)s, this will only apply to the relevant OCQ(V).

OCQ(V)

Follow the links in this
column for further
information about each
qualification
Frequency of revalidation Number of Case Logs or Scenario Exercises required to revalidate this OCQ(V) CPD in the revalidation cycle Audit required
ES  Essential Skills    5 years (4 in first cycle) None 10 hrs No
TT  Tuberculin Testing 2 years 3 minimum 10 hrs Yes
CA  Companion Animal 5 years (4 in first cycle) 3 10 hrs No
SS  Statutory Surveillance 3 years 5  6 hrs No
EX  Exports General 5 years (4 in first cycle) None unless this is
the only export panel held
10 hrs No
UX  Ungulate Exports 3 years 3 10 hrs No
EQ Equine Exports 3 years 3 10 hrs No
SX  Small Animal Exports 5 years (4 in first cycle) 3 10 hrs No
PX  Product Exports 3 years 3 10 hrs No
AX  Avian Exports 3 years 3 10 hrs No
GX  Germinal Products Exports 3 years 3 10 hrs No

What if I fail to revalidate a prerequisite OCQ(V)?

As OCQ(V) - ES is an essential requirement to act as an OV, the failure to revalidate this qualification will result in you losing all OV status, irrespective of what other OCQ(V)s you hold. The exception to this is vets holding only the OCQ(V) – CA qualification, as this is a self-contained qualification which does not require an OV to also hold the separate OCQ(V) – ES. 

The same applies to OCQ(V)s requiring the OCQ(V) - EX qualification. Failure to revalidate this qualification will result in a vet losing OV status in any of the following qualifications: OCQ(V) - SX, OCQ(V) - UX, OCQ(V) EQ, OCQ(V) - GX, OCQ(V) - AX and OCQ(V) - PX. 

When can I enrol to revalidate?

You may enrol to revalidate at any time. You can complete the revalidation of OCQ(V) courses up to two months before the expiry date without changing your future revalidation date. For example, if your OCQ(V) - CA expires on the 31st March 2019 and you complete your revalidation at any time between the 1st February 2019 and the 31st March 2019 your next revalidation for this OCQ(V) will be reset to the 31st March 2024. However, if you complete the revalidation on the 31st January 2019 your next revalidation date will be set for the 31st January 2024.

The revalidation date is reset when you sign the revalidation declarations. This is the final step in the revalidation process. You can enrol on a revalidation course early and complete the course at a time to suit you. If you do not wish to bring forward your next revalidation date you can return to the course and complete the declarations in the two month window before the qualification expires.

Current OVs with ‘Grandfather Rights’ had their revalidation dates set from 1 April 2015, regardless of when they registered.  

OCQ(V) revalidation requirements

Revalidation requires OVs to undertake a short online course.  As a minimum the process will incorporate the following elements relevant to the appropriate OCQ(V) work area:

1.      Maintenance of key skills: to ensure the ability to meet APHA, legal and professional requirements relevant to the role as a vet, OV and specific to the relevant OV work area.  This includes reinforcement of health & safety, biosecurity, and certification principles, avoidance of conflicts of interest, and protection of animal welfare. It also includes the requirement for OVs to understand their responsibility to update/refresh their knowledge on a regular basis and as needed in response to legislative and procedural changes. Any current issues with OV performance will be addressed.

2.      Information sources: the requirement for accessing and ensuring familiarity with the location and content of Defra, Gov.UK, APHA, RCVS, legislation and other relevant websites as a source of documents, information and guidance directly related to OV work.

3.      Updating of knowledge and key skills crucial to role as an OV within the relevant OCQ(V)s being revalidated.

4.     Awareness of own performance:  an element of self-reflection to provide evidence of ability to learn from adverse incidents, peer review of performance, customer feedback etc.

5.      Assessment:  to provide evidence of both knowledge and the ability to apply knowledge in order to meet the responsibilities and high standards of work expected of an OV within the relevant work area.  This includes scenario-based aspects, incorporating problem solving and the opportunity for the OV to access OV instructions and other information sources for its completion, reflecting APHA requirements for training outcomes.

It is important to note that much of your CPD will be relevant and can be counted towards more than one OCQ(V). Each Revalidation course equates to 3 hours CPD and this should also be counted towards your total.

The revalidation process does not contain a great deal of taught information compared to the full OCQ(V) but you are expected to complete case logs or scenario/certification exercises and to record relevant CPD undertaken.  It is important that you are aware of this requirement and are able to access your own case log and CPD online folder, once registered.  If you are unsuccessful with your revalidation, you will have an opportunity for two retakes before taking the full qualification again.

The price of each revalidation courses is £99 plus VAT.  It is important that you understand the minimum revalidation requirements to avoid unnecessarily paying a revalidation fee and then having to take the full OCQ(V) if you are unsuccessful. 


TT Revalidation

In order to revalidate your OCQ(V)-TT you will be asked to declare that you have tested a minimum of 250 animals in the two year revalidation cycle.

You are no longer required to write case logs for the OCQ(V) TT revalidation. Instead you will be required to complete three scenario exercises. Information about these is in the revalidation course.

You will also be asked to confirm you have had a successful VDP or APHA audit. (Please see FAQs below for special arrangements in Scotland) This confirmation is part of the declarations you complete to finalise your revalidation. You are not required to provide evidence of an audit to Improve International but you should retain the relevant information for APHA, who may request it at any time. If you have not had an audit in the two year revalidation cycle you may request a Peer Review from a colleague. The report of your Peer Review must be uploaded with your case logs/scenarios. 

If you do not carry out sufficient testing of cattle to meet these requirement but need to maintain your OCQ(V) -TT, because of the geographic location of your practice or your specialisation in other species (e.g. Zoo animals or Pigs), please email CSC One Health OV Team (APHA). APHA will consider your special circumstances and decide if an exception to the minimum criteria can be made for you. This must be agreed before enrolling for revalidation. There is further information here http://ahvla.defra.gov.uk/official-vets/training-and-authorisation/tt-revalidation-exempt.htm

If you are unsuccessful with your revalidation, you will have an opportunity for two retakes before having to take the full OCQ(V) again.

In addition there will be spot check audits (internal verification) to ensure that the information being submitted at revalidation is correct and compliant. This will occur on an ongoing basis so it won’t delay the revalidation process, but if an OV or ‘Peer Reviewer’ is found to have breached RCVS code it could have serious repercussions. In addition, if appropriate, APHA could withdraw your OV status.


Frequently Asked Questions

General:

I have not received any information about revalidation; how do you let me know?
We will send you a number of emails as your revalidation date approaches, starting three months before you must complete the process. It is your responsibility to ensure that all your registered information is kept up-to-date, including your unique personal email address, in order to receive the reminders. Please check that emails from Improve International are not being diverted to your spam folder.

Will Improve send me reminders so I know when my revalidation is due?
Yes, Improve will send all OVs regular reminders in the lead up to their revalidation dates. These will be sent to the email address registered on the database so it is important that this address is one that is monitored and that it recognises the Improve International enquiries email address as a trusted address and does not divert the reminders to your spam file. The first reminder will be sent three months before the expiry date of each qualification. All reminders go to the unique personal email address registered.

How do I revalidate?
Please go to the main OV website at www.improve-ov.com and then log in to your Personal Training Dashboard, click on the details of the relevant OCQ(V) and then click on ‘How do I revalidate’. Once you pay you will gain access to course materials etc.

How much is it to revalidate?
Each OCQ(V) costs £99 +VAT to revalidate.

Why do I have to pay? OV training used to be free.

The training has never been free but it used to be subsidised by APHA. The training is no longer underwritten by Defra/APHA hence there is a cost to cover the management of the database and the training and accreditation as well as telephone and email support.

I don’t use a computer. Is there another way to complete my Revalidation?
Not at the moment. Government policy is ‘digital by default’. However, please do get in touch and our customer services team will endeavour to help you.

What is the earliest date I can start the training?

You may enrol to revalidate at any time. You can complete the revalidation of OCQ(V) courses up to two months before the expiry date without changing your future revalidation date. For example, if your OCQ(V) - CA expires on the 31st March 2019 and you complete your revalidation at any time between the 1st February 2019 and the 31st March 2019 your next revalidation for this OCQ(V) will be reset to the 31st March 2024. However, if you complete the revalidation on the 31st January 2019 your next revalidation date will be set for the 31st January 2024.

The revalidation date is reset when you sign the revalidation declarations. This is the final step in the revalidation process. You can enrol on a revalidation course early and complete the course at a time to suit you. If you do not wish to bring forward your next revalidation date you can return to the course and complete the declarations in the two month window before the qualification expires.

You will need to ensure you have enough time to complete ALL the requirements before your expiry date.

Do I need to book time off work to do my revalidation?
Not necessarily. The training will all be online and can be accessed and studied at any time from anywhere; all you need is a computer with internet access.

How long is the revalidation training?
Whilst everyone studies at their own pace, the revalidation training is equivalent to three hours CPD

Why do I have to revalidate?
It is no longer appropriate for vets authorised to perform official functions to be trained once and then given minimal support for the rest of their careers. Procedures change, skills can be lost and it is important that vets are confident that their knowledge is up-to-date when they carry out an official function, not least to have a defence should something go wrong.  Other professions have introduced revalidation and, while it may not be a requirement for many aspects of veterinary practice, it is considered essential for duties discharged on behalf of government in order to meet international standards. For this reason APHA has introduced a revalidation requirement for OCQ(V)s to provide assurance that OVs are maintaining and continuously improving their competence and applying the same to their work.

What happens if I do not revalidate?
If you do not complete revalidation within the permitted time frame your status will be expired by APHA. If this happens you will be informed by email from APHA and you will not be allowed to use the OCQ(V). Once expired you will have to enrol and successfully complete the full OCQ(V) to regain your status. If you wish to appeal against being expired you should contact CSC One Health OV Team (APHA) as the final decision rests with them. If you are aware of any exceptional or mitigating circumstances it is worth contacting APHA as soon as possible to avoid the necessity to retrain.

I have decided not to revalidate. How do I stop the reminders?
If you have decided not to revalidate we advise you to log in to your personal training dashboard and click the ‘I do not wish to revalidate button’. This will stop the reminder emails and your OV status for this qualification will be expired on your revalidation due date.

I have failed my revalidation exam. What happens now?
You have two further attempts to pass the exam. There is an enforced one week study period between each retake. If during this time your revalidation date has passed you will be suspended by APHA until you pass the exam. Whilst suspended you can’t use this OCQ(V). If you fail on the third attempt your status for this qualification will be revoked and you will be required to take and pass the full course to regain your OV authorisation. If you would like feedback from ESVPS before you re sit the exam please contact them via email english@esvps.org.

I was on my maternity leave/outside the UK during my revalidation due date. What do I do now?
Please contact the APHA OV Team on 0208 026 1094 or via email CSC One Health OV Team (APHA) to discuss further actions.

I am going on maternity leave/will be working outside Great Britain over my revalidation due date. What do I do now?
There is nothing to stop you from doing your revalidation from outside the country or from home. Courses are easy to access; all you need is internet connection to complete your online learning. Provided you can fulfil all the requirements you can also enrol and revalidate early.

When does the next revalidation date begin?
That depends on the qualification you are revalidating. Please see the information above for the length of each revalidation cycle.

What if I’m late revalidating?
If you do not complete your revalidation by the due date APHA will expire your OV status for the relevant qualification/s.

Can I appeal if my status is expired?
Yes, there will be an appeals process for those OVs who have a valid reason for not completing their revalidation

What if my qualification is expired and is also a prerequisite for other qualifications?
Until you regain your OCQ(V) status then you cannot use any of the other OCQ(V)s of which that is a prerequisite, even if they are still current.

OCQ(V) - TT Revalidation

My OCQ(V) - TT Revalidation will be due soon but I will be away on maternity leave. What will happen?

If you can fulfil all the requirements of the revalidation it is possible for you to revalidate before or during your maternity leave. If you are not able to do this you should contact the APHA OV Team by emailing CSC One Health OV Team (APHA). The full details of how APHA will manage exceptional/varied circumstances are  on APHAs Vet Gateway at this link http://ahvla.defra.gov.uk/official-vets/training-and-authorisation/tt-revalidation-exempt.htm. 

I live in a very low TB testing area but need to retain my TB testing qualification. What can I do about this?

If you have not tested 250 animals in the two year revalidation cycle, due to the region in which you work, you should contact the APHA OV Team by emailing CSC One Health OV Team (APHA). The full details of how APHA will manage exceptional/varied circumstances are on APHAs Vet Gateway at this link http://ahvla.defra.gov.uk/official-vets/training-and-authorisation/tt-revalidation-exempt.htm

I use my TB testing qualification to test other species not cattle. How do I revalidate this?

You should contact the APHA OV Team by emailing CSC One Health OV Team (APHA)  and provided them with details of the TB work that you undertake. They will consider the information that you provided and if your case is accepted you will be asked to provide alternative case logs which are relevant to your work. The full details of how APHA will manage exceptional/varied circumstances are APHAs Vet Gateway at this link http://ahvla.defra.gov.uk/official-vets/training-and-authorisation/tt-revalidation-exempt.htm

I have heard that there is the option to complete set scenario exercises instead of writing case logs for TT revalidation. Is this true?

Yes. You will find a selection of scenarios and the guidance notes in the revalidation course.

I have been told that photographs are required for the case logs. Is this true?

No you do not have to provide photographs. You are asked to provided evidence of at least 10 reactions that you have seen. (Please note this number is set for OVs working in low TB areas and we are aware that many OVs will see many more reactions than this) You are asked for reactions NOT reactors or IRs.

Photographs are one form of evidence but screenshots from SAM, scans of farm worklists or a table providing all the relevant details are as good and often provide better evidence.

Do I need to upload a certificate to confirm an APHA or VDP audit?

No, you are not required to upload a certificate. You will be asked for a declaration which is supported by your MRCVS number. However you should retain any relevant information as it may be requested by APHA at any time.

 

Other OCQ(V)s

I have the qualifications CA, ES, EX and SX awarded by grandfather rights. I only work with companion animals. Do I need to revalidate all these qualifications?
If you do not do any commercial small animal export work such as small zoo or laboratory animals you only need the standalone OCQ(V) - CA qualification so this is the only one that you need to revalidate.

Alternatively if you do undertake export of Zoo or Laboratory animals or similar, you should revalidate OCQ(V)s ES, EX and SX. These also cover the work of CA so you do not need this as well. Please see the FAQs page of this website for more information on the CA and SX qualifications 

I have failed my revalidation exam for OCQ(V) - ES and I have now passed my revalidation date. How will this affect my OV status?
You cannot do any OV work, as ES is a prerequisite for all the other OCQ(V)s, until you have regained your OCQ(V) - ES. (This does not apply to OCQ(V) - CA which is a stand alone qualification and does not require OCQ(V) - ES.)

I have failed my revalidation exam for OCQ(V) - EX and I have now passed my revalidation date. How does this affect my OV work?
You will not be able to do any OV work for which EX is a prerequisite, until you have regained you OCQ(V) - EX status. This includes OCQ(V)s SX, UX, EQ, AX, PX, and GX

I work in an abattoir. Are these OV qualifications relevant to me?
The OCQ(V) qualifications do not cover Red Meat, White Meat or Game inspection work. But you will be required to hold the OCQ(V) - PX if you are certifying any meat or meat products for export. To have the qualification OCQ(V) - PX you will also require the OCQ(V)s ES and EX which are prerequisites to PX. You will be required to revalidate all these OCQ(V) qualifications.

Equine

I have grandfather rights to OCQ(V) - UX but only do equine work. Can I revalidate the new OCQ(V) - EQ instead of UX?

Yes. You can choose the EQ course instead of the UX course at revalidation. You will still require the OCQ(V)s ES and EX as pre requisites. Please call the office on 0330 202 0380 or email enquiries@improve-ov.com with your request.

Which species are covered by the OCQ(V) UX course? 

The OCQ(V) - UX course covers all ungulate species. (Farm animals, Horses and Zoo Ungulates)

Do I need to be covering all species in my practice to be able revalidate?

No, you can revalidate the OCQ(V) UX even if you work with only one of the species covered by the qualification.

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