Saturday, June 23, 2018

Under-fire payments agency ‘must improve performance’

May 31, 2018 by  
Filed under News & Business

The Rural Payments Agency has been told to improve the way it handles complaints from farmers – including changes to its much-criticised helpline system.

MPs said the agency should improve its performance – and make 98% of Basic Payments Scheme payments by the end of March each year. They said the agency must also thoroughly investigate any complaints of inaccuracies and rectify these as quickly as possible.

The recommendations were made by MPs sitting on the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee. Published on 15 May, their report followed a lengthy investigation into the agency’s performance and how it might be improved.

The report found that the RPA is failing on multiple levels, causing significant difficulties for farmers. The committee said it was concerned that the RPA was incapable of delivering stewardship payments to farmers and rising to its post-Brexit challenges.

‘Not good enough’

Committee chairman Neil Parish said: “The farming industry relies on EU support for financial stability, and on the RPA to distribute subsidies on time. It is crucial that our farmers can rely on consistent and accurate payments.”

Mr Parish said it was “simply not good enough” that over 3,000 farmers had not received their BPS payments by March 2018. He added: “We have real concerns that the RPA is incapable of providing timely support payments in the pre and post-Brexit world.

“Substantial improvements across the organisation are needed to address this. The RPA should set itself more stretching targets, set out a clear strategy for how it will improve handling of complaints, and detail how it will properly deliver the Countryside and Environmental Stewardship schemes.”

‘Numerous errors’

NFU vice president Stuart Roberts said: “In the past few years we have seen the RPA set low and convenient targets, make numerous mapping errors and inaccurate payments, and fail to deal with complaints and communicate with claimants effectively.”

Mr Roberts said he welcomed the report’s recommendation that the RPA should be involved in talks about a new system of support post-Brexit. It was vital that those responsible for implementing and using the new system were at the heart of its development, he added.

“In addition to the recommendations made by the committee in the report, the NFU believes there should be even more focus on ensuring the RPA has the necessary resources available to implement changes and improve its current performance.”

studiopress

barbour pas cher barbour pas cher barbour pas cher barbour pas cher barbour pas cher golden goose saldi golden goose saldi golden goose saldi golden goose saldi golden goose saldi doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online