Roles and responsibilities
In accordance with ASPA, The Pirbright Institute has the following roles and responsibilities, all of which work together to ensure the highest standards of animal care and welfare:
Establishment Licence Holder (ELH)
Named Compliance Officer (NCO)
Named Veterinary Surgeon (NVS)
The NVS is a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) with expertise in the species being used at The Pirbright Institute and is actively involved, on a day to day basis, in safeguarding the welfare of animals at Pirbright.
Named Animal Care and Welfare Officer (NACWO)
They are a source of independent advice on welfare and care to minimise suffering and optimise the welfare of all animals that are bred, kept for use or used at the Institute.
A high percentage of Animal Technicians are also trained to NACWO level.
Named Information Officer (NIO)
Named Training and Competency Officer (NTCO)
The Pirbright Institute’s Animal Technicians are experienced specialists in the care of animals. They are all trained in daily animal handling, husbandry, the recognition of signs of pain, distress and disease and the ethics on the use of animals in research.
All of The Pirbright Institute’s Animal Technicians undertake an accredited Personal Licence training course. Once qualified, they receive further practical training and supervision to enable them to undertake Licenced procedures at The Pirbright Institute.
Each animal unit has a Named Animal Care and Welfare Officer (NACWO) to ensure that the highest standards of animal welfare, husbandry and care are in place. A high percentage of Animal Technicians are also trained to NACWO level.
Our NACWO’s meet regularly to provide a platform for capturing suggestions, ideas and promoting the 3Rs. Agenda items are agreed in advance and minutes are taken and later circulated. Relevant points are then condensed into a NACWO report on the AWERB standing Agenda. This ensures that the NACWO’s are provided with a forum for discussion of the use of animals, including welfare, best practice and opportunities for improvements etc.
The Pirbright Institute also has a Home Office Liaison team. The team corresponds with and coordinates all Home Office activities thus ensuring compliance under ASPA.
The Home Office Liaison team are also a key contact for researchers proposing to undertake research involving animals. Research cannot commence until approval from the team has been received.
All animals are checked at a minimum twice daily by the Animal Technicians, the NACWO’s and/or a veterinary surgeon to ensure that they are in good health. The Pirbright Institute ensures that comprehensive veterinary support is available at all times to ensure any welfare concerns are dealt with as quickly as possible.
Animal health records are completed by our Animal Technicians upon receiving the animals. These forms document:
- the identity of the animals (including ear tag numbers);
- descriptions of any illnesses, injuries or behavioral problems;
- dates and details of all medical observations, examinations or procedures
- dates and details of all treatments
The Pirbright Institute recognises that its overall success is dependent upon having employees in place across the organisation that are capable of fulfilling their job roles and making a positive contribution towards the achievement of both short and long term organisational goals.
Until an approved named trainer is satisfied that a member of staff has achieved competence in a particular technique and species, they are not allowed to apply regulated procedures unless given the appropriate level of supervision. This is to ensure that regulated procedures are performed competently.