Official Controls Qualification
(Veterinary) OCQ(V)


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Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on a question below to be taken to the corresponding answer. Alternatively, you can type your question or a key term into the box that appears when you click on the blue 'Help' button at the bottom right of the screen.

For questions specifically related to revalidation, please click here.

If your question is not answered below, please contact us and we will be happy to help.


General questions about the training:

Technical questions about this site:

Questions relating to small/companion animal exports:

Questions relating to tuberculin testing:

Questions relating to OV status (granted/suspended/expired/revoked):

Questions relating to revalidation:

Other questions:


General questions about the training:

Do I have to be a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) to complete the OCQ(V) courses?
No, anyone can take the qualifications but in order to apply to be an OV you must be a Member or a Fellow (MRCVS/FRCVS).
(Please note: to complete the Practical Assessment aspect of the OCQ(V) - TT you will need to be an MRCVS/FRCVS and be working in a practice in England, Scotland or Wales where your duties include TB testing.)

I am about to graduate or have just graduated. Can I complete these qualifications before I join a practice?
Yes, you can start studying now, but when you register do not tick the box to apply to be an OV. Later, once you have your RCVS registration number, log in again and apply for OV status at this stage.

Will I need to book time off work to do the OV training?
No, the training is all online and can be studied and examined anywhere, provided you have an internet connection. You may want to book time off work so that you can study without interruption, but this is not compulsory.
Candidates completing the online examination are required to do so in the presence (remote or in person) of a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) (this can be a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) for overseas students), a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN), a doctor or a lawyer, so you will need to coordinate this in advance. See Assessment and accreditation for further information.
(Please note: there will be a Practical Assessment for OCQ(V) - TT.)

Do I need to do anything differently if I work as a locum?
If you work as a locum, you must ensure that you keep the details of the practices where you are working up to date on your Personal Training Dashboard at all times. If you are working in more than one practice at a time, further addresses may be entered in the comments box in the 'Update details' section. If you are signing Animal Health Certificates (AHCs), you should use the address of the practice from which you issue the AHC in the 'Official Veterinarian' section. This must match the information registered on your Personal Training Dashboard.

I work in Scotland – will the Scottish Government pay for my training for Essential Skills, Tuberculin Testing and Statutory Surveillance?
You can find further information here. Please apply direct to the Scottish Government by emailing animal.health@gov.scot.

Are the OCQ(V)s recognised in Northern Ireland?
No, the OCQ(V) qualifications are not currently recognised in Northern Ireland. Click here for contact details for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland (DAERA), who provide all Official Veterinarian training in Northern Ireland.

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 (Product Exports) 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) - ES and OCQ(V) - EX, which are prerequisites to OCQ(V) - PX.

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Technical questions about this site:

I can’t log in. Please can you help?
Your password will have been emailed to you when you first registered. If you have changed it since then and cannot remember it, there is an option to reset your password via the login page.
We recommend that you use Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari as your internet browser for the courses. We strongly advise that you do not use Internet Explorer. You must also have your cookies enabled. If you are using Chrome, you could also try logging in using incognito mode. If you still can’t access your course, please call us on 0330 202 0380.

The practice email address is shared and doesn't work for my registration – what do I do?
It is an APHA requirement that all OVs have a unique email address and can thereby register and gain OV qualifications and authorisation linked to the individual, not a practice. It must be an email address that you check regularly for OV communications. This email address forms part of your unique log in details.

How do I update the details on my account?
You may amend any of your details by logging in to your Personal Training Dashboard and selecting ‘Update details’ from the left-hand side of the screen. It is important that you do this if you change practice, so that APHA have an up-to-date record to cross check with any certificates that you sign. You may wish to make a note of your old practice in the comments section too.

I am having trouble uploading my signature – what do I do?
We have provided some guidelines to help, but if you cannot upload your signature please call us on 0330 202 0380 for further support.

Who do I contact to find out about filling in APHA forms?
For any queries relating to exports, OVs should contact the APHA Centre for International Trade, Carlisle (03000 200 301). For advice on completing APHA forms, the OV should contact their local APHA office.

How do I nominate an invigilator for my exam?
On your Personal Training Dashboard, go to the 'Training details' page for the qualification that you are studying. Scroll down this page to Section 2: 'Online examination'. You then make your nomination by clicking on the blue button on the right ('Nominate invigilator') and filling in the details. Your nominated invigilator will receive an email with a link they must follow to confirm, with their electronic signature, that they are prepared to undertake the role of invigilator. Once this process is complete you will have access to the online exam. You must have your invigilator with you throughout the exam.

I have nominated an invigilator but there has been a change of plan and they are no longer available. Can I nominate someone else?
Yes. If you return to the 'Training details' page on your Personal Training Dashboard you can change your nomination.

I have enrolled on a full course but not had time to complete it. Is there a time limit for access to the material?
You will continue to have access to the course material for up to four years after enrolling on it, so can go back and complete the qualification within this time.

Where do I find information about revalidation?
Click here to find information about revalidation. FAQs that are specific to revalidation can be found by clicking here.

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Questions relating to small/companion animal exports:

I am a small animal vet and I only want to do Animal Health Certificates (AHCs) for dogs or cats, how do I become an OV?
You will only need to do OCQ(V) - CA (Companion Animals). This qualification covers pet exports and the commercial export of dogs, cats and ferrets. It incorporates elements of OCQ(V) - ES and OCQ(V) - EX applicable to small animal practitioners. It should be noted that the scope of coverage of these elements (e.g. notifiable disease, welfare, export certification and procedures) will be limited to that required for this work.
Please note: if you also want to cover the commercial export of small animals you may require OCQ(V) - SX (Small Animal Exports) instead. This qualification covers work relating to commercial exports of a variety of small animals, including export to/from laboratories, zoos and other establishments under the Balai Directive, in addition to the export of pet animals. As prerequisites to the OCQ(V) - SX, practitioners must first complete OCQ(V) - ES and OCQ(V) - EX – the scope of these qualifications is significantly wider than the OCQ(V) - CA in terms of the key elements of notifiable disease, welfare, export certification and procedures, which reflects the complexity of the scenarios under which this work is undertaken and the commercial nature of the OV work in this area.

What is covered in OCQ(V) - CA?
The OCQ(V) - CA (Companion Animals) relates mainly to pets. It covers exports (either to the EU or to countries outside of the EU) of:

  • Pet dogs, cats, ferrets, small mammals (guinea pigs, mice, rabbits, etc.)
  • Pet birds – these are all birds (excluding poultry) that are accompanied by their owner and are not intended to be sold or transferred to another owner
  • Pet reptiles travelling with their owner
  • Pets from breeding establishments and rescue centres as a commercial exercise
  • More than five pets

What is covered in OCQ(V) - SX?
The OCQ(V) - SX (Small Animal Exports) is a more commercial qualification. Everything listed above (in OCQ(V) - CA) is included, plus:

  • Commercial export of small laboratory animals, including all primates, to the EU or to countries outside of the EU
  • Commercial export of zoo animals, including primates, carnivores, etc. (except zoo ungulates (hoofed animals), which fall under OCQ(V) - UX), to the EU or to countries outside of the EU
  • Commercial export of reptiles to the EU or to countries outside of the EU
  • Export of zoo birds to the EU or to countries outside of the EU
  • Export of bees to the EU or to countries outside of the EU

Where do I find Animal Health Certificate guidance/an example AHC?
Guidance for the completion of an AHC has been added to the OCQ(V) - CA (Companion Animals), OCQ(V) - CAr (Companion Animals revalidation), OCQ(V) - SX (Small Animal Exports) and OCQ(V) - SXr (Small Animal Exports revalidation) courses.
To access this, you will need to:

  1. Log in to your Personal Training Dashboard
  2. Access your online learning, either by scrolling down to the 'Access online learning' button on your overview page or by clicking through to your CA/CAr/SX/SXr training details page
  3. Once on Moodle (the online learning platform), scroll down to view your courses
  4. Select OCQ(V) - CA / OCQ(V) - CAr / OCQ(V) - SX / OCQ(V) - SXr
  5. Go to Module 6 (CA), Module 5 (CAr) or Module 1 (SX/SXr)
  6. Scroll down to 'Example AHC' and click through the tabs and buttons to view the guidance for each page of the AHC

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Questions relating to tuberculin testing:

I want to train to test cattle for TB. How soon can I start testing on my own?
The initial training is online. Once you have successfully completed the training and passed the online exam, you then nominate a Supervisor and complete and return your Sam declaration form. Once your Supervisor has accepted the role and APHA have received the completed Sam declaration form, your authorisation for conditional OV status will be processed. When your conditional approval as an OV for OCQ(V) - TT is granted, which can take up to ten working days, APHA will send you your OV stamp and set up your Sam access. You have up to four months from the date you are granted conditional OV status to complete your Practical Assessment and achieve full approval. During this supervisory period you will be allowed to carry out tuberculin testing under the supervision of an experienced member of your veterinary practice OV team. You must test a minimum of 50 animals under ‘direct and continuous’ supervision. When your Supervisor is able to sign you off as competent to test, you may progress to testing under ‘direction’, where an experienced OV is available to consult, but is not necessarily present. This experienced OV does not have to be your nominated Supervisor. For further information about the practical training aspect of the OCQ(V) - TT course, please click here.

I am a conditional OV for OCQ(V) - TT and am testing under direction. An APHA vet audited my testing last week. Does that count as my Practical Assessment?
The APHA may conduct random, unannounced audits at any time. We are pleased to hear that your audit was successful but it does not replace your OCQ(V) - TT Practical Assessment. These are two separate processes. You must still arrange your Practical Assessment with Improve International. Please contact us in good time to book this.

I need to arrange my OCQ(V) - TT Practical Assessment – what is the minimum number of cattle I will need to test during this?
When contacting us to arrange your Practical Assessment, we ask that you suggest tests with a minimum of 30 cattle. An email with further details about booking the Practical Assessment will be sent out to you. 

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 that is supported by your MRCVS number. However, you should retain any relevant information as it may be requested by APHA at any time.

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Questions relating to OV status (granted/suspended/expired/revoked):

What do I need to do in order to be granted authorisation?
Anyone can complete the OCQ(V) courses but only Members (or Fellows) of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS/FRCVS) can be authorised as OVs. Once you have completed the online course and passed the online exam, ensure that you have ticked the box requesting OV authorisation on your Personal Training Dashboard. 

Why has my authorisation been suspended?
If you have received a notification to say that your authorisation has been suspended, this may be for one of the following reasons:

  1. Your revalidation due date has passed and you have not yet revalidated: once your revalidation due date passes, your authorisation is automatically suspended. While suspended, you may still enrol on and complete the revalidation course but you may not use your qualification until your authorisation has been re-granted. If you do not complete your revalidation within six months of being suspended, your authorisation will be automatically expired.
    Please note that you must complete the declarations after passing the online exam and uploading your certification exercises in order to complete the revalidation process and be granted authorisation.
    You can still regain your authorisation by revalidating, provided you do so within six months of the missed deadline.
  2. You have notified APHA that you are or will be on maternity/parental leave: APHA will then manually change your authorisation to suspended for an agreed period of time. Please note that while your OV authorisation is suspended, you must not use your qualification. Carrying out OV work without the relevant OCQ(V) may result in a referral to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
  3. APHA have changed your status and notified you of the reason: For example, this may be as a result of allegations of non-compliance made against you. The authorisation may be suspended pending the outcome of the investigation and the outcome of the investigation may be a period of suspension.

Why has my authorisation been expired?
If you have received a notification to say that your authorisation has been expired, this may be for one of the following reasons:

  1. It has been six months since your revalidation due date and you have not revalidated: once your revalidation due date passes, your authorisation is automatically suspended. If you do not complete your revalidation within six months of being suspended, you will be automatically expired.
    Please note that you must complete the declarations after passing the online exam and uploading your certification exercises in order to complete the revalidation process and be granted authorisation.
    You must complete the full course(s) again in order to regain authorisation.
  2. Your RCVS number has been rejected: only 'UK-practising' members of the RCVS can be authorised to work as OVs in GB. Our system runs a daily check on RCVS numbers, so if your RCVS number is not validated, any authorisations you hold will be expired. RCVS numbers will be rejected if you update your registration status to anything other than 'UK-practising' (for example, if you change it to non-practising while on maternity/parental leave or a career break or if you move abroad).
    Please note that while your OV authorisation is expired, you must not use your qualification. Carrying out OV work without the relevant OCQ(V) may result in a referral to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). If you subsequently update your RCVS membership to 'UK-practising', you can apply to APHA to see whether your authorisation can be reinstated. In most cases, the application will be considered by an APHA review panel.

Why has my authorisation been revoked?
If your authorisation has been revoked, it is most likely because APHA have changed your status – if this is the case they will have notified you of the reason. For example, this may be following an investigation into allegations of non-compliance made against you.
Please note that while your OV authorisation is revoked, you must not use your qualification. Carrying out OV work without the relevant OCQ(V) may result in a referral to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

I do not intend to continue with OV work. What should I do with my stamp?
If you no longer need your OV stamp, please return it to the APHA OV Team, APHA Specialist Service Centre, Worcestershire County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester, WR5 2NP.

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Other questions:

What is covered in OCQ(V) - AX?
The OCQ(V) - AX (Avian Exports) covers exports (either to the EU or to countries outside of the EU) of:

  • Hatching eggs – eggs for incubation, laid by poultry
  • Poultry – defined as: fowl, turkeys, guinea fowl, ducks, geese, quail, pigeons, pheasants, partridges and ratites (flightless birds like ostrich and emu), reared or kept in captivity for breeding, the production of meat or eggs for consumption, or for re-stocking supplies of game
  • Captive birds – birds usually kept as a hobby, for pleasure, scientific interest or sport

(Please note: although people keep ducks, chickens and geese as pets they are not considered as pets for export certification and are not covered by OCQ(V) - CA.)

What is covered in OCQ(V) - PX?
The OCQ(V) - PX (Product Exports) covers the export of animal products. This includes:

  • Foodstuffs of animal origin
  • Certain live animals for direct human consumption such as mussels
  • Animal by-products such as wool, hides and skins
  • Goods that may have come in contact with animals, such as hay and straw

(Please note: semen and ova are also animal products but are covered in the OCQ(V) - GX (Germinal Products Exports) course.)
If in doubt please contact us on 0330 202 0380 to clarify.

I have been asked to certify the effective disinfection of a fishing rod (or another inanimate object) that is going to Iceland. What qualifications do I need to complete this document?
In order to sign the relevant certificate in this case, you will be required to hold the OCQ(V) - ES and the OCQ(V) - EX. When asked to certify the export of equipment or machinery, it is always best to check the requirements with the Centre for International Trade, Carlisle (03000 200 301).

My OV stamp is damaged or lost. How may I get a replacement?
APHA are responsible for issuing OV stamps. Please contact them at CSCOneHealthOVTeam@apha.gov.uk.

 

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