13 October 2000
Civil servants promise to do better

WELSH farmers have been promised better service from civil servants following a survey of their complaints.

The NOP telephone poll involved 3000 producers representing all sectors, sizes of farm business and geographical areas.

Carwyn Jones, National Assembly agriculture secretary, has accepted the findings and published an action plan.

In response to 81% of the farmers surveyed, divisional and area offices will be open longer in the last two weeks before closing dates for scheme applications to provide advice and guidance.

A time-saving appointments system is being introduced, and officers will attend livestock markets in areas remote from caller offices.

Claim forms will be simplified and target payment dates set. Civil servants will provide clearer guidance on how to claim grants and subsidies, and on avoiding penalties.