Richard Wordsworth, Single Payment Scheme adviser, said common problems included forms not reaching the Rural Payments Agency and simple, but significant errors being discovered when it was too late to change them.
The 15 May deadline for applications has passed but Mr Wordsworth said he would like to encourage farmers to check the following:
DID THE 2007 SPS APPLICATION GET TO THE RPA? – HAVE YOU GOT PROOF OF DELIVERY?
The most important things to have done is to have taken a full copy of the application and accompanying documents and remembered to record when the application was sent / hand delivered to the RPA and recorded in the diary when the acknowledgement postcard should have been received by.
The postcard should be received back within 10 working days. If not, you should contact the RPA on 0845 603 7777 as soon as possible. Check the postcard has the right date and covers the whole SFP form (one farmer has had one recording his supplementary evidence, but not his Sp5).
If you hand-delivered your form you will get a postcard confirming receipt of delivery at the drop-in centre and a further postcard received by post acknowledging the form has been received by the RPA in Newcastle. The date of the first postcard will be the one used by the RPA.
Farmers who posted their form should make sure they also keep in a safe place any proof of delivery or posting to the RPA.
REVIEW YOUR 2007 SPS APPLICATION NOW
It may be tempting to push your copy of the form back in the file, but it is worth checking it over one last time. The deadline to amend or increase a claim that has been submitted by the 15 May is the 9 June 2007. Any written amendments received by the RPA after that date will be rejected.
Remember that the checks carried out by the RPA upon presentation of the 2007 SPS application are very basic and are no guarantee that the forms are correct.
Section P of the 2006 SPS Handbook contains information on penalties applied to incorrect applications. It also covers amendments to forms already submitted, notifiable errors, obvious error and withdrawal of all or part of an SPS application.
Common errors include:
• Insufficient Postage paid / Recorded Delivery not used;
• RPA reply envelope not used, form then folded and put in a smaller envelope to presumably to avoid postage cost, this will cause scanning and processing problems;
• Not completing column C7 – 2003 Land Use Code
• Failing to include sufficient supporting documents
• No 2007 land use codes recorded for field parcels or invalid land use codes from pre SPS used e.g. WH1 for wheat instead of OT1 (column C8);
• Column C10 not containing an entry where pre-populated data is not shown;
• Failing to check the pre-populated data entries, especially if you had a previously notified dual claim or been involved in an entitlement transfer;
• Activation of Entitlements (Column E8) not correcting entries shown as 0.00, or writing in the word “All”, not crossing the “All” box.
• Failure to sign the forms
Catch up with all the latest stories on the Single Payment Scheme on FWi’s special report into single farm payments