Frequently Asked Questions

The contract with each Delivery Partner is for a period of three years, and APHA have an option to extend for up to a further two years if the companies are successful.  APHA will review the contract towards the end of the three year term and make the decision as to whether to extend the contract.

The contract between the Delivery Partner and the sub-contractor is for a period of 12 months. There will be a renewal process towards the end of the contract.  We don’t anticipate there being any costs for the suppliers at that stage.

The delivery of TB testing and other Government veterinary services in England and Wales is set to transfer to seven regional ‘Delivery Partners’, commencing on 1st April 2015 in Wales and 1st May 2015 in England.  The changes do not apply in Scotland.

Any testing allocated under the existing system will continue to be completed by working with APHA in the previous system. New tests issued after contract start dates will be allocated by the regional Delivery Partner to sub-contracting veterinary practices.

By introducing well-structured contracts with clear terms and conditions the obligation is on the seven regional suppliers (known as Delivery Partners) to assure the quality of services delivered. APHA, as the regulatory body, will then audit the Delivery Partners’ quality systems. This will include continued spot-check audits of individual OV’s work in the field by APHA staff.  Service quality is a key part of the Delivery Partner contractual terms.

No, they are five independent companies, each owned and managed by separate consortiums of farm veterinary practices.  The companies named as the contract ‘Delivery Partners’ for the five APHA designated English regions are; XL Farmcare North Ltd; XL Farmcare Midlands Ltd; XL Farmcare South East Ltd; XL Farmcare Devon and Cornwall Ltd (for South West 1); XL Farmcare Wessex Ltd (for region South West 2).

Suppliers will need to complete tests within the window as with the existing arrangements.  The Delivery Partners and their Supplier network will have to meet targets for matters such as the time taken to submit work via Sam.  These targets are part of the Supplier’s contractual terms with the Delivery Partner.

The transition period specified within the tender was from the contract award date until April 1st.  Because of a legal challenge, the award of contracts was delayed a little.  In light of the delay, the Authority moved the start date for the English regions to May 1st.

It was only after award of contract that the communication process could begin, with a series of meetings being held around the country.  There is also pressure to establish who will be willing to work as a Supplier practice in advance of the start date such that a supply system can be implemented in areas where practices decide not to participate.

Unfortunately, the time pressures imposed on veterinary practices reflect the time pressures imposed on the Delivery Partners.

During the application to the tender process, each XL Farmcare regional company gained the support of a number of practices within their region. The supporting practices signed either a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ or a ‘Letter of Intent’ essentially committing to work under the regional company in the case of a successful bid.  This meant that there are already a high number of supporting vets within each region in addition to the consortia of veterinary practices who comprise the XL Farmcare regional companies.  If there are not enough sub-contracted practices to cover the work required, the regional Delivery Partner will be responsible for covering this workload.