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The PSS assessment process

Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) assessment is an ongoing process that begins once you’ve submitted your application.

Find out what to expect at each stage, including what assessment day is like.

The stages of PSS assessment:

Submit your application 

  • You can apply for the PSS via Stanley.
  • We’ll confirm we’ve got your application within a week, then invoice you for the application fee. Payment is due within 30 days of the invoice date.
  • Once we’ve received payment, your practice becomes a candidate.
  • If your practice is part of a Group, please find out what your Group's process is before applying for assessment.

Find out how to apply to the PSS

Prepare your pre-assessment information

  • For each PSS accreditation, there’s a list of requirements, which you can find on Stanley.
  • Before your assessment, you’ll need to work through these requirements on Stanley and confirm that you’re meeting them. For some of them, you’ll need to upload documentation. This is your pre-assessment information.
  • Your assessor will give you a due date for uploading this information. Please upload it by this date so they have time to go through it.
  • It’s important that all documentation is up to date, and that you have scanned copies of any non-digital documents.
  • In the month before your first assessment, your assessor will review your documentation and give you feedback.

Assessment day

  • Once you’ve paid your application fee, the PSS team will contact you to check availability for the assessment visit. This would usually be scheduled for three to six months after this conversation. 
  • Before your assessment day, we’ll contact you with details of our proposed Assessor, who you will be able to accept or decline.
  • Once you’ve accepted an Assessor, they’ll contact your practice to arrange a suitable date for the assessment.
  • We’ll use the practice contact details you’ve given us on My Account, so please make sure they’re up to date.

What happens during a PSS assessment visit

During the visit the Assessor will:

  • check outstanding paperwork,
  • look at facilities and equipment,
  • talk to practice team members.

They might also:

  • talk to your clients in the waiting room,
  • observe consultations (with permission).

You'll get some feedback from your Assessor on the day of the visit.

You aren't expected to be perfect on assessment day – you’ll have time to correct any issues found afterwards.

Please feel free to ask our Assessors questions – they’d be happy to share best practice with you.

Length of assessment visits

The length of the assessment visit itself will depend on:

  • the presence/quality of your pre-assessment information,
  • the level of accreditation your practice premises is pursuing,
  • the number of premises in your group,
  • how many team members the Assessor speaks to on the day.

The Assessor should be able to give you a more precise timeframe once they've been confirmed.

Get your assessment report

  • Four to six weeks after the visit, we'll release your assessment report via Stanley. This will detail any issues we've identified and any further evidence that you need to give us.
  • It’s a good idea to wait for our report to be released before resolving any issues raised. This is because we review reports internally, so some of the feedback may change.

Submit any post-assessment evidence, if needed

  • Depending on the nature of issues identified in the assessment, we’ll ask you to submit further evidence in one, three or six months' time. This evidence is reviewed by the assessor within three weeks of receipt.
  • The PSS team re-releases an updated version of your report after each submission is reviewed. This cycle is ongoing until all evidence is submitted and issues resolved.
  • If we identify a serious issue, your practice may need to take urgent action.

Get confirmation your assessment is resolved

  • Once you’ve submitted your post-assessment evidence, our Assessor will review it. If all outstanding requirements have been met, the assessment will be marked as complete.
  • If the evidence is incomplete, the Assessor may give further feedback.

Pay your fees

After the first assessment we’ll send you an invoice for:

  • the initial assessment fee
  • any additional time
  • any assessor expenses. 

About PSS fees

Practices applying for the Scheme pay an application fee of £73 (£76 from 1 January 2024).

The initial assessment fee is £511 (£621 from 1 January 2024), plus assessor expenses such as travel costs, accommodation and food.

Once practices are part of the scheme, there’s an annual fee of £503 (£560 from 1 January 2024) for main/standalone practices or £138 (£151 from 1 January 2024) for branch practices.

Please note that the PSS assessment is in three parts, the pre assessment stage, the assessment day, and the post assessment stage. The assessment is allocated 4 hours of time on site.

The annual fee for a main/standalone practice covers 1 day of the assessment day every 4 years. A branch premises does not accrue an assessment day. Any additional assessment time exceeding 4 hours will be charged at a minimum of half the equivalent assessment rate, currently £621 to cover the assessor's time. 

The pre and post assessment stages will together be charged at half the equivalent assessment rate per assessment day.

Chargeable expenses may apply where travel costs and hotel costs are incurred.

Awards assessments will be charged based on assessor time, which will be charged at a minimum in half-day blocks of the equivalent day rate plus travel costs and expenses.

Practice Standards fees include a VAT charge of 20%. RVPP fees are exempt.

Note: Practice premises must pay the relevant RVPP fee(s) until accredited.
Fees do not include chargeable expenses, including travel and hotel costs incurred.

Find out more about our fees

Get your certificate pack

  • Once our Assessor has confirmed that all premises in the group meet PSS requirements and your invoice is paid, we'll send you a certificate pack.
  • We will update Find a Vet to reflect that your practice premises is RCVS accredited.

Ongoing assessment

Four-yearly inspections

Once you’re accredited, you'll be assessed every four years.
You can continue to use Stanley between assessments to make sure you're still meeting requirements and to manage your documents. This may also help to reduce the work needed in the lead up to your next routine assessment.

Spot-check assessments

To ensure consistent standards across the Scheme, we carry out spot-check assessments. You'll usually be given 24 to 48 hours’ notice.

These visits are usually shorter (around two hours) and are more focused than routine assessments. Generally, documentation isn't needed and it's not a problem if key team members aren't available.

As with routine assessments, we'll send you a report listing any issues. You'll also be asked to upload evidence to Stanley.

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