Official Controls Qualification
(Animal Health Paraprofessional) OCQ(AHP)

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Supervisor Requirements

Eligibility checks


All candidates will be required to nominate their employer or a representative of their employer when they register on the AHP database. The nominated person will receive an email request to confirm the candidate's eligibility to apply for the intended course. The nominated person must respond to this request before the candidate can proceed to enrol on their chosen course.     

APHA requires employers to confirm the following:

  • the identity and age of the candidate
  • the candidate's basic disclosure as required in their country of residence (click the links for further information for England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland)
  • the candidate's academic or equivalent qualifications
  • the candidate's English language skills
  • that the candidate has no known Conflict of Interest in the proposed work

For the CSO course

The employer or representative of the employer must be a Certifying Officer (CO) who is either an Official Veterinarian (OV) who holds the OCQ(V) - PX qualification or an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) duly appointed by a food authority in the UK and with relevant Food Law Code of Practice competence. The CO must carry out a number of eligibility checks, listed below, and confirm that they have done so. The CO must confirm:

  • the candidate’s identity, by checking a combination of: (a) 1 valid official photo-identity document such as a passport or driving licence, with (b) at least 2 other recent documents establishing their address, such as a bank statement, utility bill or demand for Council Tax. Further guidance is available here
  • that the candidate is over 18 years of age
  • that the candidate has the right to work in the UK
  • that the candidate meets at least the minimum requirement of 3 A levels, one of which must be in a science or a food technology subject. Equivalent qualifications are eligible, for example Scottish Highers or qualifications awarded outside the UK. All UK university degrees are eligible. The candidate may be eligible based on relevant experience if they cannot meet the above criteria. As a guide, at least 3 years’ experience of working in a regulatory, industrial food processing environment or working as a veterinary paraprofessional will be considered.
    • Candidates in GB should make an application for eligibility by email to, stating relevant experience and other relevant information. The APHA will then consider the application and advise them, in writing, on their eligibility.
    • Candidates in Northern Ireland should apply to DAERA will then assess eligibility (based on relevant experience) and send a confirmation to the candidate if they are eligible.
  • that the candidate has shown their CO the APHA/DAERA eligibility confirmation communication before their CO is able to confirm the candidate's eligibility details
  • that the candidate has presented their CO with a ‘basic disclosure check’ with no recorded convictions
  • that the candidate is proficient in English, being able to communicate for the purposes of the role of an Animal Health Paraprofessional
  • that the candidate has no known Conflict of Interest in the proposed work

CSO theory training must be completed by an exam to be invigilated by a Certifying Officer. 

Change of employment

If an ATT or CSO subsequently changes their place of work they must update the database and nominate their new employer or a representative of their new employer. The eligibility criteria must be confirmed with every change of employment.


Supervision of OCQ(AHP) - ATT candidates

To be eligible to supervise OCQ(AHP) - ATT candidates, an Approved Veterinary Supervisor (AVS) must be an Official Veterinarian who holds the OCQ(V) - TT qualification. The AVS must have had a fully compliant XL Farmcare UK, APHA or other Veterinary Delivery Partner (VDP) audit within the two years prior to accepting the AVS role. Where there have been multiple audits within that period the last audit must have been fully compliant. There will be a maximum number of Approved Tuberculin Testers that an AVS is permitted to supervise. This maximum number will be set following feedback from the pilot trial of the training.

Each candidate must nominate an AVS prior to being granted conditional authorisation by APHA. The AVS will receive an email asking them to follow a link which will give them the information on the supervision requirements. The AVS will be asked to confirm that they understand and are prepared to undertake the role. They will also be asked to nominate a deputy AVS who will be available to cover holidays and other occasions when the AVS is not available. A second deputy can be nominated if required.

Whilst the ATT is in their conditional testing phase the AVS must provide direct and continuous supervision at every test. Once the ATT has tested the required number of cattle and seen the prescribed number of reactions, their AVS must confirm that this has been done. The ATT will then be required to undertake a Practical Assessment with an Improve International Assessor in order to be given full authorisation by APHA. The AVS must be present at the ATT's Practical Assessment and continue to provide direct and continuous supervision until the ATT is notified by APHA that they have been granted full authorisation to conduct TB testing.

Once an ATT has been granted full authorisation by APHA they may test alone, under the direction of their AVS, and the AVS must be available to join them, on a farm, if required. The ATT must report all test results to their AVS who, following consultation of the findings, will confirm the result of the test.

The AVS must audit every ATT under their supervision 6 months after the ATT passes their Practical Assessment. If this is not done the ATT's authorisation to conduct TB tests will be removed by APHA.


Supervision of OCQ(AHP) - CSO candidates

After passing the online exam there is no formal period of supervision, but CSOs must work under the direction of a CO:

  • In GB, the CO will be an Official Veterinarian (OV) holding the OCQ(V) - PX (Product Exports) qualification or an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) duly appointed by a food authority in the UK and with relevant Food Law Code of Practice competence.
  • In NI, CSOs with full authorisation from DAERA will be required to work under the direction or supervision of a DAERA-authorised CO who is an Official Veterinarian (OV) in a private veterinary practice in Northern Ireland or an Environmental Health Officer who is a Food Competent Certifying Officer (FCCO) in a Local Authority in Northern Ireland.

The CO is responsible for training them in the details of the products they will be working with, the processes involved and the evidence that is required for certifying those products. There is further information in the OV instructions here.

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