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What happens during an assessment?

If you're not sure what to expect during the PSS Assessment, the practice team members in this short video share their experiences. You can also find a breakdown of the assessment process - before and during - further down the page, as well as a reminder of what to expect for existing PSS practices. 

Preparing for your initial assessment

We aim to arrange assessments to take place 3-6 months after the initial application fee has been paid – this ensures practices have enough time to prepare.

All new practice premises to the Scheme must be assessed within 6 months of paying the application fee at the latest. If you anticipate that this timeframe won’t be suitable, please discuss this with the PSS team before you submit your application.

If your practice is owned by a group, you may wish to liaise with the relevant team in your group prior to submitting your application.

  • Take a look at the modules which list the requirements for each type of accreditation for each species type.
  • You will also need to use Stanley to work through the requirements for your accreditation, marking requirements as confirmed once you have checked that you are meeting them.
  • Some of the requirements depend on documentation being in place before they can be confirmed as having been met. When preparing for assessment please ensure this documentation is up to date. You should also ensure you’ve scanned copies of any non-digital documents.
  • We ask you to upload some of the required documents to Stanley, so that your Assessor can review them and provide feedback before the assessment. The documents will need to be submitted at least one month before the assessment. Stanley will indicate where an upload is needed with an icon.

About the assessment process

  • We will notify you, via Stanley, with details of our proposed Assessor, including their declarations of interest. Once you have approved the Assessor, they will contact your practice to arrange a mutually convenient date to visit. We will use the practice contact details you provide on RCVS ‘My Account’, so please ensure they are kept up to date.
  • Prior to the visit, the Assessor will review and provide feedback on the pre-assessment uploaded documentation. Please ensure you upload the documents a month before the agreed assessment date, to ensure the Assessor has time to go through them.
  • The length of the assessment visit itself will depend on factors including the presence/quality of the pre-submitted paperwork, the level of accreditation the practice premises is pursuing, the number of premises in the group, and how many team members the assessor speaks to on the day. The assessor should be able to give more precise timeframes once they have been accepted by the practice.
  • During the visit the Assessor will check outstanding paperwork, look at facilities and equipment, and talk to practice team members. They may also wish to talk with your clients in the waiting room and, with permission, observe consultations.
  • Please note! You are not expected to be perfect on the day of the visit – you will be given time to correct any issues found after the assessment visit. Remember that the Assessor is also available for you to ask advice and to share best practice, so please do take the opportunity to ask them questions.
  • The Assessor will provide feedback to you on the day of the visit. 4-6 weeks after the visit the PSS contact for your practice will release your assessment report via Stanley. This will detail any issues identified and any further evidence that needs to be supplied – this is usually required within 1, 3 or 6 months of the report date. Please wait for the report to be released before resolving any issues, as some of the feedback may change following the internal review process. If a serious deficiency has been identified please note that your practice may be required to take immediate remedial action. 
  • The Assessor will review the post-assessment evidence upon submission and mark the relevant requirement(s) as resolved. The Assessor may provide further feedback if the evidence provided is insufficient. The assessment will be complete once the Assessor has marked all the outstanding requirements as being met.
  • After the assessment you will also be sent an invoice for the initial assessment fee
  • Once the Assessor has confirmed compliance for all premises in the group and the invoice has been paid, a certificate pack will be issued to the practice and we will update Find a Vet to reflect that the premises are accredited.

For existing members the assessment process will usually be repeated every 4 years

  • You can continue to use Stanley in the period between your assessments to ensure that you are still meeting the requirements of your accreditation, and to manage your documents. This may also help to reduce the work needed in the lead up to your next routine assessment.
  • You may also be visited randomly for a spot-check assessment in order to ensure consistent high standards across the Scheme’s membership. These visits are usually shorter (around 2 hours) and more focused than routine assessments. Generally, documentation is not needed and it should not be a problem if key team members are not available. As with routine assessments, you will receive a report listing any issues and you will be required to upload evidence to Stanley. If your practice is selected for a spot check, an Assessor will contact you typically with 24-48 hours’ notice.