The RPA announced yesterday evening that the Rural Payments online service has been replaced with emergency paper claim forms for the 2015 claim, following weeks of functionality issues and unscheduled ‘downtime’ of the new online service. The deadline for submission is also likely to be extended to 15th June 2015. The online system costing the tax payer over £150 million has been having on-going problems since its release in January. The ‘technical’ issues that have contributed to weeks of delays in being able to start and submit client’s Basic Payment Scheme claims have failed to be addressed.
The new submission process will be a mixture of the new online system, mapping using paper RLR maps and paper ‘BP5’ forms. Claimants will be divided into a four tiered system as follows:
Straight forward – this will encompass some 39,000 claimants who have (according to the RPA) little or no change on their land since their 2014 SPS claim. These farmers will be ‘fast-tracked’. They will receive an email outlining their land uses and then just have to reply to confirm that the information is correct; no BP5 form will need to be submitted.
Relatively straightforward – where farmers do not have a large number of field parcels and data can be added onto a blank BP5 form.
Large claims – these claimants with large amounts of parcels and lots of changes are advised to wait for a prepopulated BP5 form.
Complex – these will be the highest level of complexity where the RPA will be offering assistance to agents and farmers when submitting the claims.
For anyone who thinks they may be a ‘Large’ or ‘Complex’ claim we advise that claimants act fast to gather as much information as possible on land uses such as cropping, and features such as hedges, areas of trees and water courses and ditches if you haven’t already done so.
The new blank BP5 forms will be available from Monday 23rd March 2015 on the GOV.UK website. It is advisable for all claimants to look at these new forms to familiarise yourself with the process and understand what is needed on the submission.
Entitlement transfers and land and mapping changes are to be made by way of RLE1 forms as before, however we are currently unsure of deadlines for these and if the entitlement transfer window will also be pushed back to 15th June.
What farmers need to do now:
- Make sure you have registered on the new online service
- Begin to gather important information about your claim so the mapping process is as easy as possible. This includes cropping schedules and features such as woods and watercourses.
- Establish what you need to do with regard to entitlements, if you have excess do you need to sell, a deficit, buy some?
- Don’t leave it to the last minute!!!
Sheldon Bosley are here to offer advice and assistance but please come to us in plenty of time!