Veterinary Investigation Officer

£35,895 – £40,613
The 2022 pay award is yet to be release but is expected to effect October 2022


Senior Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area

Science Laboratory Services Department (SLSD)

Type of role

Science Veterinary Services

Working pattern

Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Number of posts

Thirsk, Yorkshire and the Humber, YO7 1PZ
About the job


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.

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.
Surveillance – 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.
Quality –
  • 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).
This role is a Full Time Post. However, if two suitable candidates can be identified at interview, and if business continuity can be maintained as Job Share may be considered.


  • 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 .
  • 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


Valid Full UK Driving Licence


Degree in Veterinary Medicine that is recognised in the UK


Membership Registration with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Technical skills

We’ll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:
  • 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 testing Veterinary knowledge.
We only ask for evidence of these technical skills on your application form:
  • Applicable UK farm animal knowledge and farm animal veterinary experience
  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension
  • On site parking
Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.


Successful candidates will be expected to have a medical.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.
Application Process As part of the application process, you will be asked to submit a CV and personal statement. Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form. Sift Subject to numbers of applications received, an initial sift may be conducted using your CV. Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift or be progressed straight to assessment/interview. Sift is expected to be held early November 2022. Interview If successful at application stage, you will be invited to interview where you will be assessed on Experience, Technical criteria and Strengths. We will be assessing applicable UK farm animal knowledge and farm animal veterinary experience ability and technical skills from the application and during the interview. Candidates will be asked to describe/diagnose animal diseases based on a series of photographs, graphs and questions. Prior to the start of the interview candidates will be emailed an in-tray exercise and veterinary scenario. 30 minutes as been allocated for the completion of the in-tray exercise and preparation time to deliver a 10 minute presentation, Candidates are to complete the in-tray exercise and provide headings (in bullet format) of their presentation prior to starting the formal interview. Interviews are expected to be held Interviews are expected to be held early November 2022 The successful candidate will be required to pass APHA Health Clearance prior to being offer the post of VIO Location Please be aware that this role(s) will be contractually based in a Defra group workplace/office. The successful candidate is required to carry out all their duties from a UK location, and cannot do so from an overseas location at any time. Reserve List A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made. Salary New entrants are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band. New entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band. The internal roles rules apply to existing Civil Servants, i.e. level transfers move on current salary or the pay range minimum, transfers on promotion move to new pay range minimum or receive 10% increase. Either case is determined by whichever is the highest. Visa Sponsorship Statement Please take note that Defra does not hold a UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) Skilled Worker License sponsor and are unable to sponsor any individuals for Skilled Worker Sponsorship. Reasonable Adjustment If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes. If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:
  • Contact Government Recruitment Service via as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.
  • Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.
Accessibility If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the ‘Contact point for applicants’ section. Criminal Record Check If successful and transferring from another Government Department, a criminal record check may be carried out. In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing stating the job reference number in the subject heading. Internal Fraud Database Check Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment. A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5-year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government. Childcare Vouchers Any move to Defra from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at Coronavirus We are closely monitoring the situation with regard to Coronavirus, and will be following central Government advice as it is issued. There is therefore a risk that recruitment to this post may be subject to change at short notice. Please continue to follow the application process as normal and ensure that you check your emails regularly for any updates from us as this is how we will communicate with you. Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:
  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals
Further information on nationality requirements

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants. We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
Apply and further information
This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans initiative.
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