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Veterinary Investigation Officer (VIO)

Job Type: Full time Non-Clinical Employer: Animal and Plant Health Agency (UK) Sector: Government / Official
  • Location:
  • Post Date: 25/08/2023
  • Apply Before: 02/10/2023
  • Salary: £37,295.00 - £41,425.00 / Annually
  • View(s) 567
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Job Description


To apply for this job, please visit: Veterinary Investigation Officer (VIO) SD23/49 & SD22/272 – Civil Service Jobs – GOV.UK and GRS ref No is 308856

Role Summary

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and works on behalf of the Scottish Government and Welsh Government. Our diverse teams of over 2,000 skilled and committed professionals come together to provide research, advice, and support to UK Government for safeguarding animal, public and plant health for benefit of the environment and economy.

The overarching purpose of the role is to provide veterinary surveillance and disease investigation in order to safeguard animal health and welfare, public health, protect the economy and enhance food security, in support of GB Governments’ policies. In this role you will contribute to a diagnostic service investigating animal diseases and welfare primarily in farmed livestock and wildlife. The role aims to detect notifiable disease, new and re-emerging threats, food safety incidents and zoonotic disease. You will carry out post-mortem examinations and assign relevant laboratory tests interpreting and reporting findings and giving relevant advice to private veterinarians. Farm visits may also be required.  Being able to communicate effectively with famers, private veterinarians, stakeholders, and policy makers is essential in this role. You will be expected to work to quality standards and observe stringent health and safety requirements.  Full training will be given, and you will be encouraged to develop your expertise.

  • % Travel 10
  • Qualifications MRCVS/ DVM / VMD (Veterinary degree)
  • Benefits Other see below
  • Flexible Work Yes
  • Will support visa sponsorship No
  • Role Purpose The overarching purpose of the role is to provide veterinary surveillance and disease investigation in order to safeguard animal health and welfare, public health, protect the economy and enhance food security, in support of GB Governments’ policies.
  • Bonuses / Salary Uplifts This role is eligible for a starting allowance of £3000. For further detail on pay please see below under ‘salary’. A Civil Service Pension with an average employer contribution of 27%
  • Key competencies

    Job Description:

    To carry out any duties commensurate with the grade and purpose of the post including, but not limited to, the following:

    Disease Investigation, Welfare and Diagnostics
    To investigate animal diseases and welfare cases in primarily farmed livestock, wildlife, and other species in order to detect notifiable disease, new and re-emerging threats, food safety incidents and zoonotic disease, and to provide a diagnostic and investigative service. This will be achieved within the quality system by:

    • Conducting post-mortem examinations.
    • Humanely euthanising animals where necessary.
    • Commissioning appropriate laboratory tests.
    • Interpreting results.
    • Reporting conclusions.
    • Carrying out on-farm and field investigations.

    Gathering of information, data, and intelligence to enable understanding of the patterns and trends of endemic diseases and the timely detection and characterisation of new and re-emerging animal-related threats, including, but not limited to, the following:

    • Collecting relevant information and data.
    • Identifying (and where relevant, report and escalate) incidents which may represent statutory, new, re-emerging or changing disease patterns.
    • Collating, interpreting, and reporting surveillance information and data.
    • Work collaboratively to deliver leading edge veterinary research, surveillance, consultancy, and laboratory testing services through a series of integrated science programmes.

    Stakeholder Engagement
    Actively engaging with private veterinary surgeons, farmers, and others to ensure the gathering and sharing of data, information and intelligence to enable understanding of the patterns and trends of endemic diseases and the timely detection of new and re-emerging animal-related threats.

    • To develop effective and sustainable working relationships with end-users of APHA services, representing and promoting the interests of GB Governments to deliver agreed policy outcomes.
    • To engage with animal keepers, wider industry, the veterinary profession, and other operational partners to gather data, information, and intelligence, educate, influence and provide feedback to improve the standards of animal health and welfare.
    • Arrange and/or attend relevant veterinary and other meetings to participate, present and contribute to knowledge exchange.

    Incident and Disease Outbreak Response

    • To contribute to and participate in Delivery Area and National Contingency Planning and exercises as required.
    • To ensure that professional skills are developed and maintained to undertake any allocated role(s) during incidents and emergency activities with an expectation that the roles in which individuals are specifically trained will be called upon first during outbreaks and provision of veterinary leadership and direction in the field during an emergency situation

    Learning and Development

    • To maintain appropriate veterinary expertise by undertaking and recording Continuing Professional Development.
    • To undertake personal learning and development and contribute to organisational learning, supporting continuous improvement. This will include all relevant mandatory training and participation in training/teaching of colleagues and other staff as appropriate.

    Safety, Health and Wellbeing (SHaW)

    • To implement APHA SHaW policy and procedures as relevant to the role including compliance with Occupational Health policies essential for delivery of the role such as screening and prophylactic/ preventive programmes.
    • To carry out appropriate risk assessments when carrying out veterinary duties escalating risks as required.

    Compliance and Enforcement

    • To represent the Agency, engaging with animal keepers, wider industry and operational partners to gather intelligence, and educate and influence to improve the level of understanding, compliance and safe behaviour.
    • To demonstrate an understanding and application of legislation in line with policy and best regulatory practice in order to positively influence behaviours while minimising burdens on industry.
    • To use veterinary expertise to support interventions as necessary, including the gathering, interpretation and presentation of evidence, appearing as a witness of fact or as a professional witness when required, and on occasions providing expert witness testimony if appropriately qualified.

    Duty and Out-of-Hours Rotas

    • In an emergency situation to participate in veterinary, and where applicable, management duty rotas, and out-of-hours rotas as required. An allowance is payable for this work.


    • To assist the Head of Department and Quality Managers in maintaining an efficient and effective quality management system meeting the requirements of third-party accreditation and certification (e.g. ISO 17025, ISO 9001).
    • Work to agreed quality standards and comply with instructions in the Veterinary Surveillance Instructions (VISIs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
  • Responsibilities + duties
    • A good understanding of the UK farming industry, including a sound knowledge of significant diseases and diagnostic processes across the species.
    • A knowledge and experience in pathology is desirable.
    • Good written and oral communication skills. The post holder will have to be comfortable with communicating across people and groups with a range of scientific knowledge.
    • Well-developed interpersonal, decision-making skills.
    • Evidence of collaborative working with different teams of people.
    • Able to maintain and assure appropriate levels of quality assurance for scientific evidence and advice.
    • Highly motivated, corporate, self-aware with high inner resilience and calm under pressure.
    • Able to maintain a customer delivery focus at all times.
    • Knowledge of Government scanning surveillance and threat detection, and an understanding of how data are gathered to provide surveillance intelligence, including sources of threat data and information
    • A strategic thinker with diagnostic, analytical and creative problem-solving abilities.

    Key Relationships

    • Veterinary and science colleagues
    • Private veterinary practices
    • APHA species expert group leads
    • APHA Disease and Test Consultants
    • Defra and devolved administrations


  • Candidate Suitability/Qualifications

    Degree in Veterinary Medicine that is recognised in the UK

    Registration with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

    A valid UK driving licence is required.

    This post may from time to time require travel including to farm visits, to other APHA locations, to veterinary practice or veterinary laboratory visits as part of ongoing engagement research, business meetings and training activities.

    Role locations
    We have vacancies at:

    • APHA Bury St Edmunds IP33 2RX
    • APHA Thirsk YO7 1PZ
    • APHA Carmarthen SA31 3EZ

    We also have Veterinary Investigation Centres (VIC) at APHA Penrith Cumbria, Shrewsbury Shropshire and Starcross Devon.


  • Benefits- additional details

    Alongside your salary of £37,295, Animal and Plant Health Agency contributes £10,069 towards you being a member of the Civil Service Defined Benefit Pension scheme. Find out what benefits a Civil Service Pension provides.

    In return for your dedication, we will support your ongoing personal development through appropriate training. Inclusion, support and the development of our people matter to us. We aim to support the career and personal wellbeing of everyone in APHA.  Our benefits include generous annual leave, flexible working a contributory pension, staff bonuses and recognition, salary sacrifice benefit options, and an employee discount scheme. This post offers the successful candidate the opportunity to receive an additional pay supplement of £3,000 upon appointment. There is a further pay supplement up to £3,000 which may be offered based on candidate’s annual competency assessment. These allowances do not form part of the Terms of Employment.

    A career in the Civil Service is like no other. If you’re looking to join a world class team and develop your career with us, then the Civil Service is the place for you! You might be wondering, “what’s in it for me”? Take a look below at some of the benefits available to you as a civil servant in Defra.

    Strategy Directorate Benefits
    Learning and Development

    Everyone in APHA is supported to develop their skills and capabilities. When you join the Directorate, you will be welcomed into your new team through an induction programme that will provide you with helpful information on the civil service, our work and our policies. Your line manager will also work with you to establish your priorities for the year, developing a performance, learning and development plan tailored to you and your role, while also working with you to connect you with a civil service mentor to help empower you in your new role with the opportunity to benefit from paid for coaching.

    Most importantly, we’re keen to invest in you! As a civil servant, you will also have access to Civil Service Learning where you can participate in professional development programmes across a wide spectrum of subjects and professions.

    Department Benefits

    We’re a firm believer in agile and flexible working. When you join Defra, we’ll kit you out with a new Windows 10 Laptop, smartphone and rucksack to make sure that you perform your best wherever you are.

    25 days’ paid leave per annum rising to 30 days after five years’ service, in addition to eight public holidays and the Queen’s Birthday privilege day. We also offer
    – Competitive maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave;
    – Study leave for the pursuit of academic studies;
    – 3 days paid leave for volunteering per annum
    – 15 days paid leave per year for reservist training
    – Generous paid sick leave.

    Cycle to Work Scheme
    Defra loans you a bike for your commute as a tax-free benefit. At the end of the loan period, you have the option to buy the bike, saving 30% of the original cost.

    Season Ticket and Bicycle Loan
    We offer interest-free season ticket loans, to all employees with more than three months’ service, for purchasing train and bus season tickets, as well as station car parking. For those unable to take advantage of tax-free benefits, we also offer an interest-free bicycle loan to enable the purchase of a bicycle for commuting.

    Gym, Social and Sports Activities
    Some of our offices have a range of different onsite facilities, including gym, fitness facilities, games room, showers and cycle storage. There are also a variety of networks and social groups to join. Ask your line manager for more information.

    Civil Service Benefits

    Civil Service Sports Council
    The Civil Service Sports Council (CSSC) organises a wide choice of activities throughout the UK, from art, gliding, abseiling and orienteering to cabaret weekends and quiz and curry nights. Your CSSC membership will provide you with FREE access to hundreds of national and local sites, in addition to savings at many high street stores, cinemas, restaurants and historic houses.

    Benefis also include:

    An environment with flexible working options.
    A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity.


  • Interview process details


    To apply for this job, please visit: Veterinary Investigation Officer (VIO) SD23/49 & SD22/272 – Civil Service Jobs – GOV.UK and GRS ref No is 308856

    Interviews will take place October 24-27, 2023 at Worchestershire County Hall,

    Spetchley Road, Worchester


    Other information
    Should you be successful at interview you will be required to a baseline security check along with a Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) check.

    This includes:

    • identity
    • employment status
    • nationality and immigration status,
    • criminal records
    • any other essential pre-employment checks.

    Flexibility in working hours is required if called upon to finish a particular urgent task or call upon in an event of an outbreak. The post is full-time, we may consider two part-time staff on a job-share basis if continuity can be arranged.

    This post will also require Health clearance.


    You will be asked to complete a CV-style application template outlining your career history and give a 750-word personal statement detailing your suitability as a Veterinary Investigation Officer. If successful at application stage, you will be invited to interview where you will be assessed on Behaviours, Experience, Technical criteria and Strengths.

    Prior to the start of the interview, candidates will be asked to complete an in-tray exercise and veterinary scenario. Candidates are to complete the in-tray exercise and provide headings (in bullet format) of their presentation prior to starting the formal interview.


    • Making Effective Decisions
    • Communicating and Influencing

    Please use the STAR technique (Situation Task, Action, Result) to provide evidence of each of the criteria at the interview.

    Technical ability

    • Applicable UK farm animal knowledge and farm animal veterinary experience
    • At interview, you will be presented with a series of photographs to test your veterinary knowledge
    • In Tray Exercise – Prior to interview, you will be sent a short in-tray exercise to complete
    • Presentation demonstrating veterinary knowledge

    Watch back this video: ‘How to ace your civil service job application’

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