You will have heard the news coverage that DEFRA pulled the computer system and paper forms are now to be used.
As with most news stories, this is not factually correct and the current position is as follows:
You must still be registered onto the new Rural Payments computer system. For the majority of our clients, this registration has already taken place. Unless you register onto the Rural Payments system you will not be able to claim BPS or Entry Level Stewardship.
- Submission of forms
There are a number of options being looked at by the RPA to resolve the current position which has been caused by the DEFRA designed front end of the computer system.
The back end that does the processing has worked in other countries and over recent weeks I have been involved with the RPA at looking at alternative ways for agents with multiple claims and those with large claims as to how they can submit electronically. Electronically will ensure that you are in the system to be paid quicker than manually in my view. Therefore, we as a business will not be rushing to complete paper forms when they become available next week. It is likely to be a few weeks before pre-populated forms become available and following a trial that was undertaken at our offices yesterday with about eight RPA staff on this new system called Siti Agri, we are hopeful that this will be the most effective route for us to submit your claims.
As you may or may not have heard, the deadline has now moved to 15 June which gives us a longer period of time but in view of the IT difficulties referred to above, this will be essential to assist with our office workload.
For those of you that we have met, we have all the information available to complete the forms as soon as the system can work in a way that we are confident with.
For those of you that we have not met, we will be continuing to make appointments to meet to ensure those that are not registered are registered and to obtain the information for us to submit. We would ask that you work with us on this process because despite the fact of a new deadline there is still an awful lot of work for us as a business to get through on behalf of our many clients.