Feeds

IT errors continue to plague EU single payments scheme

Farmers still short changed

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The Rural Payments Agency still has plenty to do to resolve the IT difficulties it experienced in implementing the EU Single Payment Scheme.

A report by the National Audit Office finds that the agency has yet to deal with all those farmers who were paid too little in 2005 – the first year of the scheme – nor recovered the sums from those claimants who were paid too much.

The Single Payment Scheme (SPS) was introduced to replace 11 separate subsidies with a single payment based on land area.

The progress report says the agency had been plagued by considerable difficulties in capturing and processing information about farmers' land areas and failed to meet its own target dates and the EU June deadline for making payments to farmers. Financial hardship was the result for a large number of farmers.

The report says in the scheme's second year, the RPA improved its handling of farmers' payments by processing 98 per cent of payments by value by the June 2007 deadline. But in estimating that overpayments in 2005 could be as high as £6.8m, with underpayments of £19.3m, it also says the risk of the EU imposing a disallowance penalty remains.

According to the NAO, work is scheduled to "streamline the claim process, cleanse data, improve the quality of management information, and support whole-case working" by implementing a range of major IT releases, together with minor system and process enhancements.

NAO chief Sir John Bourn said: "Since my report over a year ago on the implementation of the SPS, the RPA has made encouraging progress in remedying the problems I highlighted, as demonstrated by an increase in farmers' satisfaction with the handling of their claims.

"But until the agency is in the position consistently to meet the June deadline each year, and can process payments within an acceptable tolerance of error, the risk is that farmers' confidence in the scheme will wane and the European Commission will levy financial penalties."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.