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Notification to local authorities

The Riding Establishments Act 1964 S.1(3) states:

“A local authority shall not authorise a veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner to inspect any premises under this section except one chosen by them from a list of such persons drawn up jointly by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the British Veterinary Association”.

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations S.2 states:

“listed” means for the time being listed as authorised to carry out an inspection on the list of veterinarians drawn up by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons;”

Method of choosing RE inspectors

The RCVS Riding Establishment sub-Committee require certain criteria to be met, for a veterinary practitioner to be included in the list.

  1. The inspector will have at least five years’ experience post registration by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, of which at least the last two years should fulfil the requirements below.  Discretion may be exercised for overseas qualified veterinary surgeons.
  2. Normally, at least 30% of the potential inspector’s practice workload, (being a minimum of 10 hours per week), will be with horses.  This requirement may be relaxed, particularly, for example, in remote geographical areas and for veterinary surgeons working in local government corporations.
  3. The veterinary surgeon will have attended an induction course before inclusion and will also attend an approved refresher course every 5 years thereafter.

In particular, re-applicants and part-time workers should ensure that they fulfil the criteria of a minimum of 10 hours equine practice weekly.

The committee will consider the continuing appointment of inspectors over the age of 65 for a further period following the submission of a self-declaration of fitness to continue in practice.

Inspectors must have personal indemnity insurance.

Appointing an inspector

The local authority must only appoint an inspector from the approved list.  The local authority must choose which inspector to appoint, not the riding establishment.

Audit of inspectors’ reports

Each year several local authorities are asked to provide copies of their inspectors’ reports for scrutiny by the Riding Establishment Sub-Committee.  Action will be taken by the Committee should the reports fall below the required standard.

Conflicts of interest

Ideally, an inspector should not carry out an inspection where there is a real or perceived conflict of interest, for example, where the riding establishment is an existing client of the inspector’s practice. In such cases, the inspector should where possible, suggest an alternative inspector to the local authority.

Method of paying RE inspectors

The veterinary inspector is contracted (appointed) to carry out the inspection by the local authority.  The invoice for the veterinary inspection should be made out to the local authority, who will then reclaim the costs from the riding establishment as part of the licence fees. 

Recommended fees for RE inspectors

The Riding Establishments Sub-Committee has agreed to recommend that the normal hourly rate of the veterinary practice should be charged, including the time taken for preparing the report.  It was accepted that there would be variations nationally but it was felt that there would be reasonable consistency within any given area.