The British Veterinary Association has launched a new accreditation scheme to enhance workplace culture and support the veterinary profession.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) introduced its Great Workplaces accreditation scheme at BVA Live in Birmingham. The scheme aims to foster a thriving veterinary workforce by recognising and rewarding positive workplace cultures. This initiative is part of BVA’s ongoing efforts to address workforce challenges related to recruitment and retention in the veterinary field.

Recognising Excellence in Veterinary Workplaces

The Great Workplaces accreditation scheme is based on BVA’s Good Veterinary Workplaces initiative. It is open to all veterinary professionals and workplaces, including both clinical and non-clinical settings. The scheme celebrates excellence in workplaces that prioritise staff wellbeing and professional development, where employees feel valued and empowered.

The launch coincides with concerning data from BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession Survey, revealing that 62% of vets in clinical practice across the UK don’t always get breaks during their working day to eat and rest. Additionally, 98% of vets emphasise the importance of a workplace’s commitment to work-life balance, yet almost two-thirds report they only ‘sometimes’ or ‘rarely’ have a good work-life balance.

Building a Sustainable Workforce

Dr Anna Judson, President of the British Veterinary Association, highlighted the importance of retaining existing talent alongside attracting new professionals to the field. “Positive workplace culture is central to achieving this and Great Workplaces by BVA is an innovative new approach that puts the well-being of vet teams front and centre. The knock-on impact will be good for vets and vet practices, good for clients and ultimately, good for animal welfare.”

She added that accredited workplaces will be seen as employers of choice, attracting top talent seeking fulfilling careers and a healthy work-life balance. For existing team members, working in a recognised Great Workplace could enhance job satisfaction.

How the Accreditation Works

Securing Great Workplaces by BVA accreditation involves a collaborative assessment process. Each workplace will have a dedicated accreditor from a veterinary background who will work with leadership teams and employees to gather a comprehensive understanding of the workplace environment.

Workplaces will be evaluated against an accreditation framework covering four key themes: health and wellbeing, leadership and management, culture, and learning and development. Successful workplaces will receive either gold or silver accreditation. Those not meeting the criteria will be recognised as ‘working towards’ accreditation and supported to make necessary changes for future success. Accredited workplaces will hold their status for three years, after which they must undergo reassessment.

Trailblazer Workplaces

Several trailblazer workplaces participated in the Great Workplaces accreditation pilots in 2023. Westport Veterinary Clinic in Linlithgow and South Moors in Devon are the first veterinary workplaces to receive Great Workplaces by BVA Silver accreditation.

Fiona Leathers from Westport Veterinary Clinic commented on the achievement: “Our collaboration with the British Veterinary Association and its Great Workplaces accreditation scheme has been transformative. It has given us invaluable insights into how this initiative positively impacts workplace culture and employee well-being. The simplicity of the accreditation process and the approachable nature of BVA’s accreditors facilitated seamless integration of the scheme’s principles into our daily routines. The tangible impact of the Great Workplaces accreditation has been profound. It’s fostered a more inclusive, supportive, and cohesive environment, elevating employee satisfaction and bolstering team morale significantly.”

For more information about the Great Workplaces by BVA and to register interest in the scheme, visit