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Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency: South-west England

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 14th December 2011.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to address the concerns raised by the National Farmers Union on the effectiveness of the operation of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency in the South West.

Photo of James Paice James Paice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

AHVLA needs to make significant efficiency savings to meet its spending review targets in future years. The restructuring of its operations in the South West is one aspect of this work and includes consolidating some of the administrative work in Exeter. Similar changes have been undertaken in other regions previously, and have delivered significant efficiency savings without negative service impacts. The Agency is confident that the same benefits can be achieved in the South West once changes are fully in place.

Up to the end of September performance in most areas in the region was improving. Ongoing problems with the new IT system (Sam) functionality, which went live at the end of September 2011, have unfortunately had an adverse impact on the quality of some services.

To address service issues, experienced staff are working overtime and additional temporary staff have been employed to support activities. Performance standards are now improving.

Key stakeholders such as the South West NFU are being kept informed by AHVLA managers at regional meetings and via regular verbal updates.

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