OATA calls for customer charter for AHVLA


Aquatic industry voice OATA is calling for the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory Agency (AHVLA) to come up with a Customer Charter after introducing higher fees for its work.

New charges come into force on 24 June for importers of live fish, from the AHVLA.
OATA has spent the last year questioning the new fees and says the charges are still high when the process of releasing consignments of fish can be so variable.
It is now urging the government agency to set standards of service that companies can expect when their shipments reach border inspection in the UK.
AHVLA has revealed a £40 fee per import CVED license, which is six-times the current £6.60 fee, which will rise to £74 as of April 2014.
This is lower than charges first proposed of £48.71 per CVED import license from October 2012, rising to £73.52 from April this year.
Keith Davenport, Chief Executive of OATA, has said: "We've spent a considerable time questioning the AHVLA about how it came up with the first set of charges.
"The idea behind this rise is 'full cost recovery' so we've been pressing for information on exactly how the costs involved in this service have been calculated to make sure the industry was being asked to pay a fair price for the service it gets."
OATA has estimated that they have kept the aquatics industry from paying over £450,000 through their action, however say the new fees are steep for businesses.
"Companies really need more time to plan for how they will find these extra costs," said Davenport. "And our biggest concern remains the extremely variable service that importers get at border inspection posts at UK airports.
"If AHVLA wants to go down the route of full cost recovery then it needs to set service standards for its work.
"Companies have no choice but to use AHVLA yet there is no laid-down set of expectations of the service they will get when their imports arrive at an airport.
"Customer Charters or service standards are an excepted part of business - even within the public sector - so we are now pressing for AHVLA to come up with one of its own that importers can hold its staff to."
OATA ensure that they will continue to discuss these issues.