RPA needs to ‘think differently’ to resolve issues – NFU

Statistics from the NFU’s annual BPS survey of members released today have given the NFU the opportunity to directly urge RPA chief executive Paul Caldwell to deal with ‘problem areas’.

Both NFU Vice President Guy Smith and Mr Caldwell addressed NFU Council at NFU HQ in Stoneleigh where the survey results and the latest on RPA progress were discussed.

  • 86% of members surveyed said they had been paid from BPS 2017, 4% of these said they think they have been paid incorrectly.
  • 74% of unpaid members from BPS 2017 have not received any reasons from the RPA for non-payment. The NFU is highlighting the importance of allowing farmers the appropriate time to plan cash flows and argues that communication with claimants is an important part of this.
  • 5% of members having outstanding problems from BPS 2015 and 9% from BPS 2016.The NFU is, once again, urging the RPA to resolve these cases to avoid compounding more recent complications from its remapping exercise.

NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “When you look at current payment performance and the levels of outstanding issues from previous years you could describe the RPA as ‘just about managing’.

“However when you add onto that the extra workload caused by the remapping exercise you worry the creaking cart might start to lose wheels.

“We think the RPA is going to have to think differently going forward in how it engages with members to resolve all outstanding issues and mapping corrections.

“Only just over a quarter of those surveyed (28%) have looked at their online mapping since September 2017 but over a third of these have identified problems with the mapping. This is concerning for us – it will be a problem for farm businesses if issues like this snowball due to the delay in sorting them out.

“Whole case workers to provide a more considered and thorough service, as well as regional walk-in centres, will go a long way in ensuring certainty and confidence for farmers.”

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About The Author

John Swire - Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.