Why we audit

We audit how well farms and their herd vets are adhering to the requirements laid down by their Health Scheme, which in turn should follow the standards set out by CHeCS. Having health accreditation through a CHeCS Health Scheme can increase the value of both commercial and pedigree animals at sale, and so it is important that buyers can have confidence that the Health Scheme is testing accurately for disease, and the selling farm and their vet are abiding by the rules. This will ensure that the stock being sold has the stated level of health.



How we audit

We ensure our member Health Schemes providing testing services have their laboratories accredited to ISO 17025, ISO 9001 and Good Laboratory Practice standards.

During an on-farm audit, the following are inspected:

  • Livestock
  • Boundaries, especially where stock are grazed on neighbouring land
  • Isolation units and Bio-Security, collection and delivery of stock
  • Housing and Handling Facilities
  • Feed Source and Storage
  • Grazing  [other stock species]
  • Water Supply – Source
  • Use of and sharing equipment. Special attention made of contractors and manure spreaders.
  • Transports [Vehicles and any Sharing of.]
  • Semen use and Embryo Transfer
  • Colostrum Management, attention made to replacement colostrum and its source.
  • The IDs of animals to enable the laboratories to cross check that the stock arriving on farm has been blood tested for the relevant diseases.
  • Certificates of Accreditation are requested to clarify level of accreditation.

Approximately 250 on-farm audits are conducted each year, and one week’s notice is given of inspection.


Audit results

The main non-conformances found are:

  • Accredited and non-accredited animals or species either co grazed or housed together.
  • Boundary Fences inadequate
  • Access to watercourses
  • Cattle not isolated correctly
  • Certificates of accreditation, where awarded, not available at time of visit
  • Inadequate isolation and biosecurity measures taken around attendance at Summer Shows, Shows and Sales and more especially the Winter Fairs, and markets.

Where non-conformances have been found, notices to improve have been issued and the relevant Health Scheme notified. The Health Scheme is then required to follow up with the herd manager to ensure that remedial action has been taken. If it is not, CHeCS requires that the Health Scheme removes the accreditation for that herd, and the herd returns to unaccredited status with shows, sales and markets notified.