Complaints procedure

We’re committed to giving good customer service and we welcome your feedback because it helps us to improve.

How to complain

If you’re unhappy with a decision or service you’ve had from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), you can call us, email or write.

For Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)/Single Payment Scheme (SPS):

Rural Payments Agency
PO Box 352
Worksop
S80 9FG

For Countryside Stewardship/Environmental Stewardship:

Rural Payments Agency
PO Box 324
Worksop
S95 1DF

For RDPE socio-economic schemes:

Rural Payments Agency
PO Box 352
Worksop
S80 9FG

Email ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk

Telephone 03000 200 301

For the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS):

BCMS
Rural Payments Agency
Curwen Road
Workington
CA14 2DD

Email bcmsenquiries@rpa.gov.uk

Telephone 0345 050 1234

Welsh language telephone 0345 050 3456

For Trader schemes:

Rural Payments Agency
Lancaster House
Hampshire Court
Newcastle Business Park
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE4 7YH

Email trader@rpa.gov.uk

Telephone 020 776 43836

When you contact us, please tell us:

  • your full name, address and telephone number
  • details of what happened and when
  • how your business was affected
  • who you dealt with at RPA
  • how you’d like us to settle your complaint
  • any reference(s) you may have, for example your Single Business Identifier (SBI), County Parish Holding (CPH) number, Trader, Vendor, Claim or Agreement number or a Project Reference.

For Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) socio-economic schemes, you can only complain against our funding decision if you think that we have:

  • made a mistake with your application
  • made a processing error
  • got the law wrong

You must set out the reason for your complaint under one (or more) of these 3 criteria. You need to complain within 60 working days of receiving our decision letter.

For complaints about any of the above schemes, you may find it helpful to use our ‘Complaint form’CA4 form (MS Word Document, 359KB), although you don’t have to use this.

What happens when we receive your complaint

We’ll call you shortly after we receive your complaint. If we can’t speak with you, we’ll write or email instead. If we can resolve your complaint immediately, we will, and we’ll let you know what we have done.

Where we need to investigate further, we’ll try to settle it quickly. If we can’t, we’ll explain why not and give a timescale for settling the complaint.

For complaints about the conduct of our people, we’ll arrange for a full investigation by an appropriate manager.

If you’re still unhappy with our decision

If you’re not satisfied with the decision our Complaints Team gives you, what happens next will depend on whether you’ve complained about our service, or challenged a decision we’ve made.

  • If it’s about our service, you can ask your MP to raise your case with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. You must do this within 12 months of your initial complaint. (They would only investigate a case after this deadline in special circumstances.)
  • If it’s about a decision we’ve made, you can appeal.

How to appeal

If you’re not satisfied with the decision from the Complaints Team you can appeal.

For any appeal against an RPA decision, other than RDPE socio-economic scheme, you need to fill in the CA1 form (MS Word Document, 371KB)

Basic Payment Scheme, Single Payment Scheme, Trader, Countryside Stewardship or Environmental Stewardship appeals

If your appeal is about the Basic Payment Scheme, you’ll have to pay:

  • £100 towards the appeal panel costs if the amount of the dispute is less than £2,000
  • £250 if it’s between £2,000 and £10,000
  • £450 if it’s more than £10,000

If your appeal is about the Single Payment Scheme or about a Trader Scheme, you’ll have to pay £100 towards the appeal panel costs.

If your appeal is about Countryside Stewardship or Environmental Stewardship schemes there is no charge.

Once we have received your appeal paperwork and checked that it meets our requirements, we will request the appropriate fee and provide you with details on how to make the payment.

Send your completed CA1 form to:

Email reviewappealsteam1@rpa.gov.uk

We’ll acknowledge your appeal within 5 working days.

The Appeals Team will refer your appeal to the Independent Agricultural Appeals Panel. They will hold a hearing at which you may present your case before they make a recommendation to the Minister. The Minister’s decision is final.

If your appeal is successful, we’ll refund the appeal fee.

If you disagree with the Minister’s decision, you can take your own legal advice to challenge the decision through the courts (a judicial review).

RDPE socio-economic scheme

If you disagree with the outcome of an RDPE socio-economic scheme complaint, you can request that your appeal is sent to a panel of senior officials.

Send a letter or email explaining the reasons for your appeal to:

Rural Payments Agency
PO Box 352
Worksop
S80 9FG

Email ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk