Official Veterinarian (OV)

About the role:

Operate as the Team Leader in plant. Line managing and providing technical advice to the plant inspection team to ensure the efficient and consistent delivery of Official Controls, as defined within the Manual for Official Controls (MOC). Building and managing effective relationships with the plant FBO and other stakeholders. R-esponsible for health & safety management at plant level.

Main duties and responsibilities:

  • Our Official Veterinarians (OVs) work in slaughterhouses or meat processing plants and ensure that all meat is being produced safely and in accordance with the relevant laws.
  • As an OV you will provide a technical and leadership role, offering advice and direction to the plant inspection team to ensure the efficient and consistent delivery of Official Controls.
  • You will build and manage effective relationships with the plant Food Business Operator and other stakeholders and will take responsibility for health and safety management at the plant level.
  • You’ll also guarantee that the highest animal welfare standards are maintained and that all animals are cared for properly and transported safely.
  • This is a very important role, as you will be responsible for the safety of the public who purchase and consume meat products.

Official Veterinarian tasks typically vary from day to day, but include the following:

  • Assessment of food chain information.
  • Conducting antemortem inspection of animals for slaughter.
  • Verification of animal welfare compliance.
  • Conducting post-mortem inspection and health marking.
  • Verification of slaughter hygiene standards, FBO traceability systems and food safety management systems.
  • Assessment of and decision making in relation to food chain information, live animals, animal welfare and meat.
  • Verifying that the FBO complies with legislative requirements through their own food safety management procedures.
  • Line management of the plant Meat Hygiene Inspectors (MHIs) and Meat Technicians (MTs) including formal and informal performance management (e.g. resolving issues informally wherever possible, approving applications for leave and authorising time sheets and travel and subsistence claims).
  • Responsible for the performance of the plant inspection team by providing appropriate advice, coaching and support, and ensuring technical compliance.
  • Assessment of ongoing competencies of Plant Inspection Assistants (PIAs) and providing coaching and support as appropriate.
  • Contributing to the Lead Veterinarian's (LVs) assessment of the Senior Meat Hygiene Inspector's (SMHI) technical and leadership and management competencies.
  • Ensure that trainee MHI, PIA, NOV and veterinary students' practical training is carried out appropriately at the plant.
  • Manage sickness absence at plant level, including conducting return to work interviews, and referring long-term sickness absence cases to the LV/SMHI.
  • Demonstrate commitment to FSA Equal Opportunities and related policies and procedures with regard to all aspects of managing and training staff, by taking appropriate and timely action.
  • Maintain all standards laid down in the Customer Service Statement.
  • Maintain confidentiality of internal E&J and FSA communications and commercially sensitive information.
  • Identify personal training needs, and undertake continuing educational activities including appropriate uptake of FSA training and CPD in accordance with Corporate People Development Plan.
  • To undertake on-farm TB testing of cattle and submission of the associated test results (following appropriate training and authorisation by AHVLA) as and when instructed by the AVM.
  • Any other duties as requested by line management.
  • Establish and maintain productive working relationships with plant FBOs and other stakeholders (other government departments, Local Authorities, etc).
  • Discuss any required changes to agreed working hours with the FBO and consult the AVM to discuss any potential impact that this may have across the cluster.
  • Health and Safety Management
  • Implement E & J and FSA Health and Safety Policy at plant level and provide support to the SMHI in completion of risk assessments and the implementation of control measures.
  • Investigate and document accidents and incidents involving the FSA plant inspection team and make initial recommendations for preventative actions.
  • Ensure the FSA plant inspection team are aware of fire, first aid and other emergency procedures, and provide them with health and safety information, instruction and coaching as necessary.

Auditing & Enforcement

  • Verify that the FBO complies with legislation through the FBO's own food safety management procedures, and target inspection and enforcement tasks accordingly.
  • Follow risk based procedures to take fair and proportionate enforcement actions, and liaise with other enforcement bodies as required.
  • Act as an expert witness in legal cases as required.

OV skills and experience requirements:

  • Education: RCVS accredited veterinary degree
  • RCVS registration or eligibility to obtain it
  • Experience: training will be provided; however, previous experience is desirable
  • English: advanced level of written and spoken English (UKVI) IELTS Academic min level 7 in all parts of examination (overseas)*

             *Temporary registration with RCVS with UKVI IELTS Academic level 6 in all parts of the examination allows you to temporary registration for 18 months.

  • Driving license: B category – mandatory, with a minimum of 1-year driving experience

What we can offer:

  • Attractive salary
  • Company car / car allowance
  • Mobile phone and laptop
  • Permanent / Casual contracts
  • 20 Days Annual Leave (plus bank holidays) rising to 25 days
  • Company Pension Scheme
  • Perkbox Scheme – a variety of discounts & benefits
  • Personal Accident Insurance
  • Visa sponsorship scheme  available if required



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