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Zoonoses Regulations

Volume 708: debated on Thursday 26 February 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government in the Zoonoses and Animal By-Products (Fees) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/3196), why, in the same year that fees were last set, it has been necessary to raise the charge for taking official samples from £45 to £55; and what are the cost elements involved. [HL1444]

The base charge of £55 is a fixed fee that covers costs that are associated with the supervision of, or the taking of, official control samples on all holdings. Costs are derived on estimates of the time taken to process an application (eg organising visits, systems inputs, checking test results et cetara) by the various grades of staff involved. These estimates of time have been multiplied by the Animal Health charge out rate.

The animal health charge out rates are based upon the average employment costs for each grade of Animal Health staff (includes salary, employer's NIC and employer's pension contributions) plus overheads and notional costs (taken from the Animal Health budgets for 2007-08). These rates are then adjusted for productivity. An hourly rate is then calculated by dividing the annual rate by 215 working days and 7.4 hours per day. The 215 working days are arrived at by taking 260 weekdays and adjusting for holiday and estimated other non-delivery time (eg training).

The other costs relating to the base fee are based upon estimates from Defra Shared Service Division (SSD) which provides most of Animal Health's back office functions including: accounts receivable, accounts payable, human resources costs, et cetera Due to changes in the mechanism for government accounting between Defra and Animal Health, the overall SSD charge to Animal Health has increased to £2.9 million from £900,000 in 2007 (322 per cent increase). This change provides a more accurate reflection of the costs to Animal Health in providing these services as costs are no longer subsumed/subsidised by core Defra.

Analysis of base fee by cost factors



Salaries, overtime, national insurance and superannuation costs



Recruitment and training costs



Travel and incidental expenses



Office accommodation, equipment and services


5 & 6.

Protective clothing and equipment



Sampling and analysis costs



Shared service costs