The Rural Payments Agency has published some more details of how it intends to go about getting partial single farm payments to farmers.

DEFRA secretary Margaret Beckett announced on Wednesday (19 April) that she wants interim payments to start “as soon as is operationally possible”.

The RPA’s guidance takes the form of frequently asked questions (FAQ and is as follows)

Q.1 So when will a partial payments system be introduced?
A: As soon as is operationally possible. We are developing a partial payments system which will be deployed when it has been fully tested and we are confident it can deliver payments correctly.

Q.2 Who will be eligible for partial payments?
A: The intention is to pay all eligible claimants by means of a full or partial payment by the end of June. In practice this means that there may be groups who do not receive a partial payment, for example small claimants (under 1,000 euros) or those requesting payment in Euros, for which we would need to look for other solutions to make payments.

Q.3 How long will it take before you can make partial payments?
A: RPA are treating this as their top priority, and will be reporting back to the Secretary of State when a system is in place which will allow partial payments to be made.

Q.4 But why rely on systems? Why not make manual payments?
A: We are potentially dealing with hundreds of millions of pounds being sent to thousands of farmers. The right amounts need to reach the right people (and only those), with sufficient records to ensure the right balance payments can be made in due course. The partial payments system being developed by RPA will deliver this most effectively.

Q.5 But we were told a partial payment system already exists?
A: A partial payment system was built and will form the basis of the new system. However, it is being amended to ensure the widest possible coverage while avoiding double payment to the 39% of claimants who have already received a full payment.

Q.6 But it can’t be that difficult given partial payments used elsewhere in EU and in the devolved administrations? A: Partial payments systems used throughout Europe to date have required a high level of validation, which often meant that 20% or more of claimants didn’t qualify. We want to ensure all claimants receive a full or substantial partial payment by the end of June.

Q.7 Will this delay making full payments?
A: There may be a short delay to some individuals receiving the balance payment as a result of making partial payments.

Q.8 What is happening with small claims?
A: As part of implementing the partial payments system we are looking into the best way to process small claims and further information will be given once all the options have been full considered. (A small claim is defined as 1000 euro or less).

Q.9 What will be the impact on the Hill Farm Allowance ?
A: We recognise the concerns on this and are looking at what we can do as a matter of urgency.

Q.10 How do we know this partial payments system will work?
A: We are obtaining independent assurance to ensure that we have a workable solution as quickly as possible.

Q.11 What is the impact of introducing partial payments for 05 on the processing of 06 applications?
A: The partial payment system we are implementing is designed (amongst other things) to minimise the impact on 06 processing

Single Farm Payment Scheme special report from FWi