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A second progress update on the administration of the Single Payment Scheme by the Rural Payments Agency

“This is the third time we have looked at the Single Payment Scheme and there are still significant issues to be resolved. There has been a serious lack of attention to the protection of taxpayers’ interests over the administration of the scheme.  There has been a lack of senior management ownership of the scheme in the Agency and DEFRA, even though the risks were previously highlighted by the Committee of Public Accounts.

 

“Previous assurances on overall progress in recovering overpayments from farmers proved optimistic and reflect a lack of reliable information on actual progress.  DEFRA should urgently address the risks to ongoing IT system support and the inaccuracy of the scheme’s data, explore alternative payment systems and resolve the ongoing management issues.”

 

Published:
15 Oct 2009
Report cover showing a field

Agricultural Fraud: The case of Joseph Bowden

“The Report highlights what can happen when checks on claims for agricultural subsidies are not sufficiently rigorous. In this case the authorities successfully prosecuted a fraudster but his illegal activities would have come to light earlier had the Ministry’s checks been more thorough. Large sums of public money are at risk under Common Agricultural Policy Schemes, and although systems have been put in place to prevent a repetition of the fraud, the Department and the Rural Payments Agency will have to maintain a careful watch.”

Published:
22 Feb 2002
Report cover showing a harvester in a field

DEFRA: A progress update in resolving the difficulties in administering the Single Payment Scheme in England

“Since my report over a year ago on the implementation of the Single Payment Scheme, the Rural Payments Agency 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.”

Published:
12 Dec 2007