Steps to ensure that farmers and their agents can complete their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claims on time have been announced by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) today.
While the core and registration parts of the Rural Payments system are working well, there have been performance problems with the online interface that farmers and agents use. The RPA is now offering farmers and their agents the use of established forms and processes to complete their claims by the deadline. The RPA will then input this data on to the system.
The RPA has ensured it has the resources it needs to undertake this work on time. This means that it will be able to make payments to farmers from December 2015.
Apart from registering, farmers will not be asked to enter any further data online now. Data that has already been entered onto the system has been saved and will be used.
From 23rd March, two forms will be available to download from the RPA’s website. These are:
- RLE1, which allows claimants to transfer land and entitlements and make changes to their land;
- BP5, the BPS claim form.
RPA Chief Executive, Mark Grimshaw said: “My priority is to ensure that every farmer and agent has the help they need to make their claims on time. Using tried-and-tested RPA forms will make this happen.”
“Having listened to feedback, the RPA will now combine existing forms that farming businesses are used to, with data that the Rural Payments system already has. This will mean that everyone who is registered and wants to complete a 2015 Basic Payment Scheme claim can do so.”
The RPA will tomorrow (20th March) begin to email all farmers and agents who have already registered on the Rural Payments website to provide further detail on completing and submitting claims.
The new ways farmers can complete their claims are:
- Farm businesses with little change to their land will be fast-tracked by the RPA. They will receive an email in April that summarises the land and entitlement information already held, together with simple instructions on completing their claim by email. The RPA has identified approximately 39,000 farmers in this category.
- Farm businesses that need to map new features can use blank existing forms to prepare their claims, before they are sent a pre-populated form in April. They can submit their claim by post or through an RPA drop-in centre.
Any farmer who has not received an up-to-date map of their land from the RPA in the last six months will be sent one during April.
All agents will have received maps of their clients’ land from the RPA by the end of next week. Those dealing with the most complex cases will be offered additional support. The RPA is also working to give them direct access to the system.
Mark Grimshaw also said: “We welcome today’s announcement by Commissioner Hogan to offer an extension of the deadline for BPS claims to 15th June.”
All farmers and their agents can get tailored help at any of 50 RPA drop-in centres or by calling the RPA helpline on 03000 200 301. The RPA is also providing mobile units to help reach the most isolated and vulnerable farmers.
Farmers still need to register using the online Rural Payments service to begin the process of making their claim. So far over 80% of farmer businesses have successfully done this. It remains the only way that farmers and their agents can register to make a claim.