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Training and authorisation

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Official Controls Qualification (Veterinary) training

The delivery of the training for APHA’s Official Controls Qualification (Veterinary) is contracted to a training provider, currently Improve International.

Contact Improve International for all requests regarding the OCQ(V) training or revalidation:

  • web:
  • Email:
  • Tel: 0330 202 0380
  • Address:
    OV Customer Services Manager
    Improve International Ltd
    Alexandra House
    Whittingham Drive
    Swindon Wiltshire
    SN4 0QJ

Approvals and authorisation

Administration of OV authorisations and approvals is managed centrally by APHA’s OV team.

APHA will be notified automatically by Improve International once your registration and training is complete and will grant your authorisation for the OV status. This can take up to ten working days.

Once successful, you will be notified by email and APHA will send your OV stamp to you, in most cases, to your main practice address.

To discuss any matters relating to your authorisation and approval as an Official Veterinarian contact APHA’s OV team:

Tel: 03000 200 301
Fax: 01905 768 649

County Hall
Spetchley Road


For the majority of OCQ(V)s, your authorisation as an OV can only be maintained by revalidation of the qualification every four years.

Failure to revalidate by the given deadline will result in suspension of the authorisation. However the qualification can be revalidated at any time during the six month period immediately following the deadline in order to have the authorisation reinstated. If the qualification is not revalidated within the six month period, the authorisation will be expired and it will be necessary to complete the full training course in order to become an authorised OV again.

For more information about the revalidation process, visit the Improve International website.

Extensions and Exceptions to the Training Requirements

There are certain circumstances where it may not be possible to complete the OCQ(V) revalidation within the specified deadline. For the OCQ(V) – TT there may be good reason why it is not possible to complete the training requirements within the period of conditional authorisation. In both cases it may be possible to have an extension or in some cases an exception to these requirements.

For vets whose OCQ(V) – TT authorisation has expired within the previous four years, the requirement to repeat the practical training and assessment for reauthorisation may be waived. Applications will be assessed on a case by case basis. Evidence of any TB audit carried out in the past 4 years must be provided with the application.

For further information about an extension or an exceptionn from the standard processes, please see the guidance on the Requests for Extension or Exceptions from the Official Controls Qualification (OCQ) Training and Revalidation Requirements (TR588) application form. This must be used to apply to the APHA OV Team if you think you may be eligible for an extension or an exemption to the requirements.

TB Testing Training Requirements for Veterinary Surgeons Testing Animals in Zoological Collections

For the majority of Veterinary Surgeons carrying out TB testing there is a requirement for them to be authorised as OVs under the OCQ(V) - TT qualification. There are specific circumstances however when the OCQ(V) - TT qualification and authorisation are not required for TB testing in zoological collections. To note that this only applies to a small minority of vets TB testing in zoological collections.

APHA does not normally require routine surveillance TB testing of bovine animals in zoos in GB, with the exception of domestic cattle on ‘open farms’ (where the public visit and come into contact with the animals). In general, bovine animals in zoos are isolated from agricultural (food-producing) holdings, so, providing that those animals are not slaughtered for human consumption or traded, APHA may exempt them from the requirement for statutory routine, targeted and pre-movement TB testing.

Statutory TB testing is generally instructed and paid for by government (APHA), whereas non-statutory testing is voluntary and funded by the animal keeper. There are some exceptions, such as mandatory pre- or post-movement TB testing of bovine animals (which is statutory but must be arranged and funded by the animal keeper).

APHA assess the need for statutory, targeted surveillance TB testing in non-bovine species of mammals kept in zoos on a case-by-case basis.

“Non-statutory” TB testing in zoological collections can be performed by any registered veterinarian in accordance with normal RCVS professional guidance and a specific OCQ(V) qualification is not required. However:

  • Veterinary Surgeons are expected to act within their own professional competence
  • Prior permission must be sought from APHA for all TB tests in animals covered by the relevant TB Order(s), whether the test is statutory or not.
  • For animals not covered in the TB Orders, non-statutory TB testing can be carried out without the permission of APHA

Testing instructions for statutory tests that are issued by APHA to the OV are also the written notification of permission to test.

Examples of statutory and non-statutory TB testing of zoo animals are in the table below.

“Statutory TB testing”

OCQ(V) - TT qualification is necessary to perform TB testing which is legally required under the TB order(s)(1)

“Non-statutory TB testing”

OCQ(V) - TT is not necessary for “non-statutory” TB testing(2)


Permission from APHA is required if testing in animals covered by the relevant TB Order(s)(1)

Examples: Examples:
Routine active surveillance, enhanced surveillance and movement testing of any domestic bovine(2) animals kept on a premises where they have contact with the public (e.g. cattle on ‘open farms’). Private TB surveillance in bovine and non-bovine animals (domestic or wild), as part of a voluntary zoo health management programme – including where this forms part of a zoo’s “Balai” or “Confined Establishment” approval.

Targeted, ad hoc surveillance of any non-bovine farmed species that may be kept in zoos, such as camelids, deer, goats, sheep and pigs, where required by APHA following suspicion or confirmation of M. bovis infection, or disclosure of an epidemiological link with an infected (TB breakdown) herd.

Pre-export testing where this is required by an importing country for a live non-bovine animal export.

Private testing of wild mammals voluntarily undertaken by a zoo to support the revocation of TB movement restrictions and, if appropriate, regain “Balai” or “Confined Establishment” approval status.

Table: Example of statutory and non-statutory bovine TB testing

Prior to completing the OCQ(V) – TT for the first time or when due to revalidate, veterinary surgeons should check whether the qualification is required for the work that they intend to carry out.

If further clarification is required for specific circumstances, OVs should contact the APHA OV team.

1 The Tuberculosis in Animals (England) Order 2021, The Tuberculosis (Scotland) Order 2007 (as amended), Tuberculosis in Specified Animals (Scotland) Order 2015, The Tuberculosis (Wales) Order 2010 (as amended) and The Tuberculosis (Wales) Order 2011 (as amended). Animals covered by the TB Order(s) are: in England: bovine animals, deer, camelids, domestic pigs, sheep or goats; in Wales: bovine animals, deer, camelids or goats; in Scotland: bovine animals, deer, goats, pigs, sheep, alpacas, guanacos, llamas or vicuñas.

2 In the case of deer, in England, Wales and Scotland OCQ(V) TT qualification is not required for non-statutory skin testing for bTB in a zoo but is required outside of a zoo (e.g. on a farm setting). However, you do need to send a completed form, “Request to Test - TB Testing of Non-bovine Species (TN184)” to APHA, which requires you to outline your competence, experience and training in testing the species you are intending to test.

3 In England “bovine animal” is defined as “domestic cattle of the genus Bos, as well as captive bovines of the genera Bubalus and Bison”, in Scotland as “domestic cattle of the genus Bos, Bubalus bubalis or Bison bison” and in Wales as “domestic cattle of the genus Bos, buffalo or bison”.

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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