Official Controls Qualification
(Veterinary) OCQ(V)

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Essential Skills revalidation

What does OCQ(V) - ES (Essential Skills) revalidation involve?

It is now recognised as good practice to ensure that we all remain up to date with the latest policies, advice and techniques for the work that we do. Revalidation is your opportunity to do this and can contribute towards your annual CPD requirements.

Revalidation for the OCQ(V) - ES is required every 4 years. If you do not revalidate, you will not be able to continue with any work as an OV using a qualification for which OCQ(V) - ES is a prerequisite (this covers all OCQ(V)s apart from OCQ(V) - CA (Companion Animals)**).

The only exceptions to the 4-year revalidation cycle are those who had 'grandfather rights', or who had already studied and been awarded the OCQ(V) - ES before 30th June 2019, whose revalidation will be due 5 years from the date that they passed the online exam and completed the declarations. However, for those who are awarded or revalidate the OCQ(V) - ES after 30th June 2019, your next revalidation will be due 4 years from the date that you passed your online exam and completed your declarations.

You may enrol on the revalidation course and start the revalidation process at any time. There will be a 6-month window before the expiry date of your OCQ(V) - ES in which you can complete the revalidation (by signing the declarations) without changing your future revalidation date. We recommend that you don’t leave it until the last minute. You will need to ensure you have enough time to complete ALL the requirements before your expiry date.

If you do not complete revalidation within the permitted timeframe your status will be expired by APHA. If this happens you will be informed by email from APHA and you will not be allowed to use the OCQ(V) - ES or any of the OCQ(V)s for which it is a prerequisite. Once your status has been expired, you will either have to contact APHA in order for your status to be changed to 'suspended' and enable you to complete the revalidation course within 6 months of the missed deadline, or complete the full OCQ(V) course before your OV status can be reinstated. If you wish to appeal the revocation of your status you should contact APHA, as the final decision rests with them. If you are aware of any exceptional or mitigating circumstances it is worth contacting APHA as soon as possible to avoid the necessity to retrain. Please see the APHA Briefing Note 15/19 for more information on the options available to you if you have missed a revalidation deadline. You can view a flowchart illustrating these by clicking here.

Improve International will send a reminder to OVs prior to the expiry date of the OCQ(V) - ES.  

Online training and exam

Revalidation is undertaken by accessing the online training platform.

Everyone studies at their own pace, but the revalidation course will equate to 3 hours of CPD. You may access the training in your own time and it does not have to be completed in one go. Once you are ready, you may then proceed – via your Personal Training Dashboard – to the online exam. You are allowed 30 minutes for this online exam, which involves answering 10 multiple choice questions. You will be required to nominate an invigilator. Candidates completing the online exam are required to do so in the presence of an MRCVS (this can be a DVM for overseas students), an RVN, a doctor or a lawyer. Both the candidate and invigilator will be required to sign the disclaimer and give their professional membership number before the online exam takes place. Any false certification, including the impersonation of another MRCVS or violation of any of the "ESVPS Rules for Examination Candidates", may be reported to the RCVS (or corresponding authority for overseas students) for investigation as potential professional misconduct, and may result in disciplinary action being taken against the candidate by ESVPS, or the revocation of the relevant status with APHA or RCVS.

Once you have passed, you will be able to download a certificate of achievement.

If you fail the exam you have two opportunities to resit. A week is allowed for further study and you do not have access to resit the exam until after this week. If you fail for a third time your status will be revoked and you will have to take and pass the full OCQ(V) - ES course to regain your OV status.


You will be asked to provide evidence of relevant CPD that you have undertaken to support this field of work. You will be expected to have completed at least 10 hours of relevant CPD within the revalidation period, which can include the 3 hours spent on the revalidation course.

CPD should be recorded on your Personal Training Dashboard and you may want to start updating it now and do this as you go along, rather than wait for revalidation to begin. Whilst the CPD should be relevant to this OCQ(V) - ES, it is possible to use the same CPD for other OCQ(V)s. Please highlight which of your OCQ(V)s each CPD activity applies to. 

After taking the online exam, you will be asked to confirm that 'In this revalidation cycle, I have undertaken at least 10 hours of CPD that is relevant to the OCQ(V) - ES and have completed my CPD log on my Personal Training Dashboard to evidence this.' You will not be automatically revalidated until you can tick this statement.

The type of activities that would count as relevant CPD for the OCQ(V) - ES are:

  • Reading relevant articles in the OV section of Veterinary Practice
  • Reading information on policy changes
  • Reading relevant articles in veterinary publications, e.g. relating to welfare and notifiable diseases
  • Attending the annual OV Conference
  • Undertaking a professional key skills course or elements thereof, such as certification, ethics, welfare, professional conduct
  • Mentoring new OVs in this area of work
  • Related case discussions with colleagues
  • Work with APHA relating to a notifiable disease
  • Other relevant conferences and congresses or day courses

Case logs

For the OCQ(V) - ES (Essential Skills), you will not be required to upload any case logs.

Internal Verification (IV)

Once you have passed the online exam and ticked all the declaration boxes to confirm compliance and completion of your CPD record, your revalidation will proceed automatically and you will be able to download new certificates of authorisation. However, there will be a process of internal verification of the CPD records by the awarding body, ESVPS. ESVPS will sample 10% of CPD records within 1 month of completion of all revalidation requirements. If your CPD record is in the sample chosen and does not meet the required standard, you will be contacted by ESVPS and offered an opportunity to update it to a satisfactory condition. If it is updated satisfactorily within 1 month, then no further action is required. However, if it is not updated satisfactorily within the required time, this will be reported to APHA, who will then review your case and may suspend or revoke your OV status. Please note – the ultimate jurisdiction lies with APHA.

Final declarations

Once you have passed the online examination you will asked to confirm the declarations below;

I confirm that:

  1. In this revalidation cycle, I have undertaken at least 10 hours of CPD that is relevant to the OCQ(V) - ES and have completed my CPD log on my Personal Training Dashboard to evidence this.
  2. I have self-reflected on any feedback I have received from colleagues, clients or APHA.
  3. I consider that my knowledge of my legal and professional responsibilities is current.
  4. I have accessed the latest version of the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct and refreshed my knowledge of the following sections: Clinical Governance and Certification.
  5. I have accessed the OV Instructions within the last year.
  6. I have checked that my personal contact details, including my unique email address, are up to date and that I have been receiving OV communications.
  7. My signature is uploaded and is both clear and correct. (You can check your signature by downloading a certificate of authorisation. If you need to update your signature you can replace the one you originally uploaded by going to the 'Update details' section.) 

** If you only wish to maintain OCQ(V) - CA, you do not need Essential Skills and thus do not need to revalidate Essential Skills

Revalidation Fee

£99 + VAT

Please see the Revalidation page for further information.

Registered users

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