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Movement Assistance Scheme

Defra has extended the Movement Assistance Scheme (MAS) to the end of December 2023, to further support traders and businesses in meeting new requirements of the NI Protocol, for moving certain agri-food products from Great Britain (GB) to Northern Ireland (NI).

Products covered under the scheme include but are not limited to:

Full details of MAS support are available in the FAQs.

The scheme also covers movements to NI via Ireland.

The scheme will close in December 2023.

Certifiers: get help with costs

Certifiers of agri-foods moving from GB-NI that require certification can receive financial support for some of the direct costs of checking and issuing certain certificates.

They include:

  • Certificates of Inspection (COIs)
  • Export Health Certificates (EHCs)
  • Official Certificates for HRFNAO (From 1 April 2021)
  • Phytosanitary Certificates (PCs)
  • Plant Health Exports Audited Trader Scheme (PHEATS)

If you are an official veterinarian or other certifier, you must not charge for inspecting and certifying certain certification costs - up to a certain amount. You need to invoice the Government for the costs of the service you provide.

There is no requirement for certifiers to engage with MAS if the agri-food goods moving from GB to NI are not subject to the new NI Protocol requirements.

Certifiers of Export Health Certificates (EHCs)

Movements of live animals and animal products from GB to NI may require an EHC. Businesses and traders will not incur a cost for an EHC - up to a set amount. This will be reimbursed directly to certifiers by the Government through the Movement Assistance Scheme (MAS).

You must be registered with EHC Online to be eligible for support via MAS. If you already have an EHC Online account you do not need to register again, your current registration remains valid.

What you need to do

  • Register on EHC Online if you have not already done so.
  • You’ll be notified of new certification requests on EHC Online.
  • After your first request you’ll be contacted by APHA with details of how to receive payment.
  • You’ll then be provided with a Purchase Order (PO) number via email, which can be used when raising invoices.
  • If you have issues getting set up, please email ServiceDeliveryVetandExportInvoices@apha.gov.uk.
  • Follow the current inspection process to perform an EHC check.
  • If the goods pass inspection you can sign the certificate as you do now.
  • You’ll need to log into EHC Online after the inspection to confirm the checks have been completed, and the details in EHC Online are in line with the certification you’ve provided on the EHC.
  • When completing section 1.9 of the EHC (country of destination): Indicate the name (must be Northern Ireland) and ISO country code (XI) of Member State destination of the animals or products
  • When completing section 1.12 of the EHC (place of Destination): Indicate the name and address, country (must be Northern Ireland) and ISO country code (XI) of the place where the consignment is being delivered for final unloading. Where applicable, also indicate the registration or approval number of the establishment destination.

Reimbursement information

The steps required for reimbursement of certification costs for live animals and animal products are as follows:

  • Determine whether the trader’s goods require an EHC.
  • If so, the trader applies online using the EHC Online portal for an OV or other certifier to inspect their goods. Note that EHCs must state NI as the final destination before they can be reimbursed.
  • The trader and OV/other certifier arrange an appointment for the necessary checks and, if appropriate, the certifier provides the EHC. Remember that all EHCs issued through MAS must have NI as the end destination, as onward movement is not permitted if EHCs are to be successfully reimbursed. Note that movements from GB to NI through the Republic of Ireland are also covered by MAS. Where animals or products of animal origin have an end destination other than NI, OVs should charge the trader for the EHC.
  • The OV/other certifier invoices the certification costs to the Government directly. The trader incurs no direct cost.
  • You can claim:
    • up to £150 excluding VAT for each non-equine EHC.
    • up to £500 excluding VAT for each equine EHC.

You can include time you spend on travel on your invoice, based on your charge out rates.

You can invoice the trader for the remaining amount should the total cost exceed these limits.

You can also claim:

  • up to £150 excluding VAT for the costs related to testing sheep for scrapie disease, as required as part of the export health certification when a trader does not have Scrapie Qualifying Status (SQS).

From 1 September 2022, MAS will cover the costs as follows:

  • Costs relating to Brucella Ovis testing in Northern Ireland (NI) prior to movement to Great Britain (GB) to attend agricultural shows before returning to NI - flock owners will incur these costs and in turn be reimbursed by APHA up to a cap of £150 (vet administration of testing) plus VAT and £34 plus VAT (cost of test)
  • Costs relating to Brucella Ovis testing in GB prior to movement to NI - the vet will not charge the flock owner but be reimbursed by APHA up to a cap of £150 (vet administration of testing) plus VAT and £34 plus VAT (cost of test).

Flock owners can claim for reimbursement for Brucella Ovis testing by completing an application form and submitting to APHA. Claims can be made for testing done from 1 September 2022 for movements of live uncastrated rams from GB to NI.

OVs and other certifiers carrying out Brucella ovis tests should invoice the APHA finance team by emailing ServiceDeliveryVetandExportInvoices@apha.gov.uk.

Claims can be made for testing from 1 September 2022 for movements of live uncastrated rams from GB to NI.  A sample invoice showing information to include can be found here

How to submit an invoice

You must invoice within 90 days of the completion of the work, which is classed as the date of the movement of live animals or products of animal origin. This is to help ensure EHC reimbursements aren’t unduly delayed, and to improve scheme turnaround times.

Invoices should be submitted on a regular basis (weekly ideally or monthly) and should include all EHCs where certification checks have been completed. To ensure payments are made promptly, include all the information on this list below. Note that payments cannot be made until you include all of the necessary information on an invoice.

Use a separate line for each transaction per Official Veterinarian with the following detail:

  • Cost of checks based on existing fees up to £150 (£500 for equine EHCs) excluding VAT. 
  • Cost of laboratories processing samples and associated costs up to £34 excluding VAT where applicable
  • Travel time spent based on charge out rate. Please note that travel time can only be claimed for if it is not already included in your existing charge out rates. It can only be claimed on NI EHCs. This cost must be within the cap of £150 (£500 for equine EHCs) excluding VAT.
  • Date of certification completion. This should match the date in EHC Online or eTrade.
  • Certifier ID
  • EHC serial number (if generated by EHC Online) or the certificate reference (if generated by eTrade)
  • VAT (at the appropriate rate) should be shown separately on the invoice as a separate charge
  • Unique invoice number
  • Practice details, registered trading name, address on letterhead and VAT registration number
  • PO number, as supplied by APHA team.

Do not include hand-written amendments on an invoice or it will be returned. Note that it is not possible to submit invoices by post. They should be emailed to ServiceDeliveryVetandExportInvoices@apha.gov.uk.

Important

Before submitting, PDF all invoices and include all EHC checks which have been completed.

Remember – you should not include any other Official Veterinarian tasks in these invoices.

Send your invoices by email to ServiceDeliveryVetandExportInvoices@apha.gov.uk.

Sample invoices are available in the following documents:

Certifiers of High-Risk Foods and Feed of Non-Animal Origin

Certifiers of certain high-risk foods of non-animal origin (HRFNAO) products listed in Annex 2 of regulation 2019/1793 and products originating from countries listed in Annex 1 of regulation 2020/1158, must invoice the Government for Official Certification costs.

Reimbursement information

The steps required for reimbursement of the HRFNAO products listed above are as follows:

  • You (Local Authority) receive a request from a trader to inspect HRFNAO products. You should conduct that assessment as usual.
  • When the request is received, you should, for first time only:
    • Contact APHA to notify them and check to see if you have been set up as a supplier for payment at ServiceDeliveryVetandExportInvoices@apha.gov.uk.
    • You must supply APHA with evidence that you have received an application from a trader to move HRFNAO to NI such as evidence of the cost of lab sampling/analysis.
    • You’ll then be provided with a unique PO number via email, which must be used when raising invoices.
  • Follow the current inspection process to perform checks on the HRFNAO products.
  • If the goods pass inspection you can sign the certificate as you do now.

How to submit an invoice

  • Each month you should generate an invoice and submit a PDF version to APHA at: ServiceDeliveryVetandExportInvoices@apha.gov.uk.
  • To ensure payments are made promptly, include all the following information:
    • PO number.
    • Official certificate unique reference number.
    • Copy of the certificate - including date processed and destination of goods.
    • Breakdown of costs - charge out rates, time spent on travel and lab costs.
    • Receipt or evidence of lab sampling costs (including a copy of the invoice if not in-house lab costs).
  • The invoice/s will be processed by APHA and checks carried out. Any clarifications will be sent back to you via email if required.

Payment queries

Queries regarding the payment of invoices or  PO number should be raised with APHA on: ServiceDeliveryVetandExportInvoices@apha.gov.uk  
+44 (0)20 80265644.

Queries relating to invoices for organic products should be raised with Defra on:
organic.standards@defra.gov.uk.

The MAS contact helpline is not able to answer any queries about reimbursement of certifier costs. Instead, please find detail below:

Further information

Helpline Change - Defra helplines are not able to answer any queries about reimbursement of certifier costs. Instead, please find detail below:

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