DEFRA is spending £5m on a review of the way the RPA works, despite claims that England’s payments scheme is “ahead of its time”.


Katrina Williams, DEFRA director general for food and farming, told a cross-party group of MPs that the department had earmarked millions of pounds to examine the ways its departments operate.

The review, which was announced in September, would give RPA staff an indication of which areas they should target to improve the system, she said.

The multi-million pound review is being carried out despite claims from RPA chief Tony Cooper that the agency’s systems are working.

“Two years ago the agency was in chaos,” he told MPs on the EFRA committee. “They might still be rough around the edges, but they do work.”

Mr Cooper said the review would be helpful in helping the agency deal with “immediate issues”, as well as getting into a position to negotiate within Europe ahead of the 2013 CAP negotiations.

Helen Ghosh, DEFRA permanent secretary, insisted the agency was “getting to a good place” and said England’s single payment system was ahead of its time in comparison with other EU countries.