Complaints procedure

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

The query process

If you’re unhappy with a decision or service you’ve had from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), you can email, write or call us. This is the first step of our complaints process.

We will ask the original department to review their decision and/or the service that has been provided to you. They will let you know the outcome of that review. They will also explain how you can raise a formal complaint if you’re still unhappy following their response. We will not move your complaint to the formal stage until this review has taken place.

Where you have raised concerns about the conduct of our people, we’ll arrange for a full investigation by an appropriate manager.

If your query is about:

  • a Countryside Stewardship (CS) application, agreement or claim, you can use the Countryside Stewardship Scheme query form.

  • an Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreement or claim, you can use the Environmental Stewardship Scheme query form.

  • a BPS payment you have received or you have received confirmation that you are not due any payment, you can use the Basic Payment Scheme: payment query form. For other queries about BPS, you will need to email, write or call us.

  • a Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) socio-economic scheme, you can only query 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 query under one (or more) of these 3 criteria.

Use the list of schemes and addresses below to contact us.

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

Email ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk

Telephone 03000 200 301

Write to us at:

Rural Payments Agency
PO Box 352
Worksop
S80 9FG

For Countryside Stewardship/Environmental Stewardship:

Email ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk

Telephone 03000 200 301

Write to us at:

Rural Payments Agency
PO Box 324
Worksop
S95 1DF

For RDPE socio-economic schemes:

Email:

GPenquiries@rpa.gov.uk for Growth Programme queries

CPSGEnquiries@rpa.gov.uk for Countryside Productivity Small Grant queries

FRF@rpa.gov.uk for Farming Recovery Fund queries

Telephone 03000 200 301

Write to us at:

Rural Payments Agency
PO Box 352
Worksop
S80 9FG

For the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS):

Email bcmsenquiries@rpa.gov.uk

Telephone 0345 050 1234

Welsh language telephone 0345 050 3456

Write to us at:

BCMS
Rural Payments Agency
Curwen Road
Workington
CA14 2DD

For Trader schemes:

Email trader@rpa.gov.uk

Telephone 020 776 43836

Write to us at:

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

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 this matter
  • 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 contact us within 60 working days of receiving our decision letter.

How to complain formally

If you remain unhappy with a decision or service you’ve had from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), you can email, call us or write using the contact details above. We will only raise a formal complaint if you have followed the query process explained above.

For complaints about any of the above schemes, you may find it helpful to use our ‘Complaint form’CA4 form (MS Word Document, 51.3KB), although you don’t have to use this.

What happens when we receive your formal 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, you need to fill in the CA1 form (MS Word Document, 52.9KB)

Basic Payment Scheme, Single Payment Scheme, Trader, Countryside Stewardship, Environmental Stewardship or Rural Development 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 a Countryside Stewardship, Environmental Stewardship or Rural Development scheme there is no charge.

Once we have received your appeal paperwork and checked that it meets our requirements, we will request the appropriate fee (if appropriate) 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 appropriate).

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).