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Movement Assistance Scheme

Defra has introduced the Movement Assistance Scheme (MAS), to 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 not limited to:

The scheme provides advice to businesses through a helpline, and provides financial support by reimbursing some certification costs associated with the new requirements.

The scheme also covers movements to NI via the Republic of Ireland.

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 (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, other animal 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.

Reimbursement information

The steps required for reimbursement of certification costs for 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.
  • The trader and OV/other certifier arrange an appointment for the necessary checks and, if appropriate, provides 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

The claim amounts only apply to what the Government will reimburse.

For GB-EU and GB-ROW certificates, you should continue to invoice traders as normal.

How to submit an invoice

Invoices should be submitted on a weekly and at least monthly basis to include all Export Health Certificates where certification checks have been completed. To ensure payments are made promptly, include all the following information:

  • Unique invoice number.
  • Practice details, registered trading name, address on letter-head to include VAT registration number.
  • PO number, as supplied by APHA team.
  • A separate line for each transaction per Official Veterinarian with the following detail:
    • Date of certification completion. This should match the date in EHC Online
    • EHC serial number.
    • Cost of checks based on existing fees - time spent x charge out rate/hour
    • From 1 April, travel time spent based on charge out rate. Travel time can only be claimed for if it is not already included in your existing charge out rates.
    • Certifier ID
    • VAT (at the appropriate rate) should be shown separately on the invoice as a separate charge.
  • Before submitting, PDF all invoices and include all EHC checks which have been completed.

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

From 1 April 2021, 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 listed above are as follows:

  • You (Local Authority) receive a request from a trader to inspect HRFNAO goods. 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
    • 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 goods.
  • 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

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Sam OV support

For queries about using Sam or the initial registration process please contact the Sam support desk on:

03300 416999
Email Sam support desk