Formerly Deputy Director, Food and Farming Group, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).
In this Senior Civil Service post, Ruth led and developed a team of 40 staff to deliver government policy on animal health, and was accountable for a budget of £50 Million per annum.
Ruth made a number of key contributions to Defra and the tax-payer in this role, including:
• Rapid development of a Great Britain Poultry Register IT system, including a publicity campaign, and on-line and telephone registration processes. These were all completed within 9 weeks of an emergency decision by government that a poultry register was required to prevent a major outbreak of Avian Influenza. Within this time, we registered over 2,400 premises and 250 million birds.
• Senior veterinary decision-maker on actions to be taken to control major animal disease outbreaks, including Foot and Mouth Disease, Avian Influenza and Swine ‘flu.
• Development and implementation of the UK Government Strategy on animal disease surveillance to ensure early detection and assessment of new disease incidents, to enable rapid control and minimise adverse consequences.
• Improved food safety through development of National Control Programmes for Salmonella in Poultry, including negotiation of disease control plans so that they met the European Union requirements and were also acceptable to representatives of the British poultry industry.
• Development of a new £11 million Surveillance information management data-warehouse ‘RADAR’ (Rapid analysis & detection of animal- related risks), to assist with disease control decision- making, including detailed specification of business requirements, and close partnership working with Defra’s strategic IT supplier (IBM).
In addition to working in two large animal veterinary practices, Ruth undertook the role of Head of Diagnostics Service for the Veterinary Laboratories Agency. During this period Ruth led the introduction of an accredited quality system (ISO 17025) throughout the network of labs to improve the quality and consistency of the work. Since leaving Defra, she has worked in the Food Technology Department at Waitrose Head Office.