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.
This is vitally important that all sheep producers read this.
We have been made aware of many farmers having experienced full RPA sheep inspections. To our shock and dismay we learn that the inspectors are out sourced to a company called HallMark Ltd. This has unearthed rather dangerous results in the inspectors application of the legislation criteria and therefore is causing many false inspection issues and breaches of cross compliance.
One of the issues raised is the fact that sheep producers must present a copy of the Holding Register in original booklet form as supplied by the RPA.
It is NOT a requirement to have the manual Holding register completed as an addition to any correctly presented print outs or correctly presented records. This is NOT a breach of cross compliance and if this is suggested by the inspector we strongly recommend protesting this issue and informing the RPA of the matter.
We are confident that Farm Matters Software will produce the correct records for RPA sheep inspections in accordance with cross compliance and government regulations.
If you have any experiences like this or wish to discuss the matter please get in touch.
We are very sad to announce we will not be releasing any software for the electronic submission of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications in 2015. DEFRA in their wisdom have decided to exclude us from the electronic BPS project this year due to what they claim is a lack of financial resources.
This will leave the DEFRA website as the sole means of submitting your 2015 BPS claim (For those unable to submit online DEFRA claim there will be a contingency but what form this will take remains a mystery). After piloting electronic SPS in 2008, it’s inaugural year, we have consistently been involved with e-SPS and submitted the most claims by a third party software supplier each year.
Our customer base have been very supportive of the software and service we’ve provided and are very disappointed by DEFRAs decision to exclude us. As several customers have said, let’s hope the new system being developed is alot more reliable then RPAs was last year.
DEFRA have indicated they will be happy to work with us next year in preparation for 2016. Hopefully this is true and we will be back!
With over 100,00 claims submitted and over 100 a day still being received RPA have proudly informed stakeholders that this year will see approximately 70% of all submissions being made online (3.5% of those come from our Single Payment Supervisor software as RPA include these in their online figures). This is another big step in RPA’s vision of getting everything happening online.
It’s not all good news though, with RPA informing us that the, at times severe, problems they were having with their SPS Online website were in fact caused by a corruption in file transmission whenever RPA issued an update. Attempts by RPA to keep customers informed were in fact contributing the continuation of the problem. RPA have acknowledged that this caused significant issues but it will still leave a shadow of disappointment for those left racing to submit forms at the last minute.
Yesterday saw the SPS e-Channel go live for 2014. This is six days earlier than RPA have ever gone live before giving farmers and land agents longer to complete their applications. As usual you have until 15th May to complete all your applications without penalty.
Our Single Payment Supervisor software has already been used to download hundreds of forms, with a few early birds having submitted applications too. As with previous years our software is significantly faster than using SPS Online and offers a host of other features.
If you are struggling with your Single Payment Scheme application or want piece of mind that it has been completed correctly we recommend you get professional advice from a reputable land agent such as Countryside Consulting Ltd (01409 281 038).
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!