We all though BPS stood for Basic Payment Scheme. Well it seems we were wrong … it appears it stands for Back to Paper Scheme! In an almost unbelievable turn of events DEFRA/RPA have admitted there new multi-million pound system which they have been working on for quite sometime is simply not yet fit for purpose.
Following last year’s problem with their SPS Online system being unavailable for periods (Please note our Single Payment software was fully functional during most of the down periods) this news will only serve to undermine confidence in the ability of RPA to produce a robost and reliable solution to subsidy claims. With the importance of these subsidies to farmers and the farm industry as a whole it is simply not acceptable to offer anything but the best service possible.
We hope RPA get the new system working and give claimants and their agents the solution they deserve. We are still hopeful of being involved with BPS next year but given the lack of communication from RPA we are still unsure.
RPA have reported the proportion of cattle movements reported electronically to BCMS has hit record highs for two consecutive months. December saw a record 95% of movements reported electronically either through CTS Online, CTS Web Services or the CTS Self-Service Line. This represented an increase of 17% over reporting in December 2010. However the record high didn’t last long as in January 95.49% of cattle movements were reported electronically.
With such a small proportion of cattle movements being reported using paper forms (Only 10% of births too) it does raise the question might it worth stopping the paper form method and force 100% electronic reporting by farmers?
There are now several different methods of electronic reporting through the Internet, telephone or farm software. This gives the farmer a choice of services to meet their needs with the minimum requirement being a telephone. In addition farm software packages can reduce the duplication of record keeping and reporting. Electronic record keeping would help to reduce RPA costs, reduce farmers costs and improve the reliability of reporting (we won’t get into the Royal Mail’s reliability).
There does appear to be a strong case for compulsary electronic reporting, however not everyone has confidence in the technology and it is important that all farmers have confidence in how the system works. Also it seems doubtful in the current financial climate that any reduction in operating costs, once the need to process the paper forms is gone, will result in any benefit to the farming community.
While we are strong advocates of electronic reporting we would suggest that even higher proportions of farmers need to voluntarily use electronic methods before it should be made compulsory.
It’s approaching that time of year again (so soon!) where farmers must make they Single Payment Scheme subsidy claim. Land agents are run off their feet and farmers are panicking about making a correct submission. We now understand from RPA that the application period will open on the 26th February (assuming testing doesn’t highlight any issues).
Every year we have our keen Single Payment Supervisor users desperately wanting to know how soon before they can download and submit their SP5 forms. We thought we could investigate how long the submission period has been over the last five years.
2013: 26th February – 15th May (79 days)
2012: 28th February – 15th May (78 days)
2011: 1st March – 16th May (77 days)
2010: 15th March – 17th May (64 days)
2009: 4th March – 15th May (73 days)
Well the results are in and it’s good news. Each year, 2010 excepted, the period in which to make your Single Payment Scheme submission is increasing with six more days available this year than in 2009, an increase of 8%. For the individual farmer this probably doesn’t make too much difference in submitting their one or two applications, however for a land agent filling in dozens if not hundreds of these important claims those extra days are crucial. In conclusion we congratulate RPA on moving in the right direction!
In our efforts to reach you, our cherished customers, with information about our products and the general goings on of the farming industry, we are very pleased to announce our new blog open!