NFU visit licensing team at Worcester APHA

The NFU poultry team has visited Worcester APHA to meet people responsible for movement licenses during disease outbreaks.

NFU poultry adviser, Aimee Mahony said: “The purpose of the visit was to meet face to face with the individuals from the licensing team of whom we have spent many an hour on the phone or exchanged emails with over the past 8 months during the AI outbreaks. Over time, the NFU has developed a good working relationship with the licensing team at Worcester APHA and this provides great benefit to our members.”

The meeting also gave the APHA licensing team a chance to ask questions about the poultry industry and provided all involved the opportunity to share challenges, review lessons learnt and set joint actions for the coming months.

Top tips for movement license requests:

  1. Have one person within your business who is responsible for liaising with the APHA. There have been incidences where three people from one company have each made a phone call requesting an update on the status of a license and the time taken to deal with these calls could be better utilised by the licensing team i.e. to actually approve the license!
  2. Plan for the next few weeks following the confirmation of an outbreak- it’s easier to make a license application and withdraw it if it’s no longer needed than it is for one to be made and approved at the last minute.
  3. It’s imperative to use the correct CPH number on the license request form.
  4. Don’t rely on Restriction Zones being lifted at the earliest opportunity, there may be complications and therefore it’s important to plan ahead.

Sue Tarran, Customer Service Centre Operations Manager – One Health at the APHA is responsible for getting a team of colleagues together when a disease outbreak is confirmed and the team is then responsible for issuing movement licenses. Sue said “in an ideal scenario we try to train members of the team during ‘real-‘life’ situations but this is not always possible. We try to recruit the skills we need to the team and everyone really pulls together to ensure we can issue licenses in a timely manner”. APHA have recently centralised their licensing function which means the team now works out of an office within County Hall, Worcester. Several members of the team usually work within other areas such as TB or animal by-products.

Whilst we all agreed that service wise the issuing of movement licenses became much slicker as time went on both industry and the APHA recognised the need to iron out any problems either producers or the licensing team may have experienced. Aimee said “It was really interesting to meet the team and hear from them what the challenges are that they face and to work together to continue to improve the service they provide during what can be a very demanding period of time. We covered three key areas during the meeting: managing expectations, contingency planning and the movement licensing process.”

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