FSA prioritisation report leads to in-house OV resources put on hold - Veterinary Practice
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FSA prioritisation report leads to in-house OV resources put on hold

Concerns have arise after FSA officials identified that work to bring their OV resources in-house are likely to be put on hold



In a paper on “In year prioritisation”, Food Standards Agency (FSA) officials have identified that work to bring the FSA’s Official Veterinarian (OV) resources in-house is an area they can “reduce, pause or stop work”.

They also stated that they are “minded to put on hold” their project to directly employ OVs to deliver official controls in abattoirs due to the “severe pressure public finances are currently under”.

This presentation is due to be presented at the FSA’s Board Meeting on Wednesday 7 December.

“The FSA’s decision earlier this year to look at insourcing was taken because the current public/state sponsored monopoly was deemed to be failing both in quality and veterinary consistency” said Norman Bagley, head of policy at the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers.

“However, the FSA now appears to be using cost pressures as an excuse for a poor service” he continued.

The FSA’s business committee meeting (18 June 2022) identified that if the current “service delivery partner (SDP) [was] to fail to deliver, it would have a catastrophic effect on the FSA”.

It also revealed that “the SDP will actively support the FSA’s move to a new resourcing model, which is a strategic priority and focuses initially on directly employing around 25 percent of OV roles by April 2023.”

“We and our members have very real concerns that if the FSA carry on with their failing delivery model that it could damage this country’s livestock processing sector purely based on cost,” said Norman. “And yet, the existing monopoly position has already cost the taxpayer an addition £8 million to deliver.

“Insourcing could actually save the Exchequer money as it would remove some of the duplication which currently exists and the costs of managing the contract.

“The meat industry doesn’t mind paying for a high quality flexible and effective service, but I believe it does resent paying for the failures of the current contractor.”

The paper to the board states that FSA Chief Executive Emily Miles “is planning to take a final decision in the coming weeks”.

“We would urge Ms Miles to make the correct decision to push ahead with OV insourcing to their previously stated timeframe of April 2023 on the basis that it is the best option to improve the service and deliver real value back to the taxpayer” said Norman.

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