3 May 1996

Inquiry into IACSforms distributor

CONCERN over IACS forms which went astray has prompted an investigation by the external contractor involved in sending out the forms.

Junior farm minister Tim Boswell admitted that about 0.2% of farmers had reported receiving wrongly addressed IACS field data printouts, or had missing field data printouts.

About a fifth of the claimants came from Warwicks, prompting local MP Sir Dudley Smith (Cons, Warwick and Leamington) to demand what action MAFF would take to make sure the mistakes were not repeated.

Mr Boswell said it was impossible for MAFF to handle the delivery of IACS forms internally. It had given the contract to one of Europes largest computing/mailing houses, which had successfully carried out the work in the past.

But Mr Boswell said the company had carried out an investigation into this years faults. "It was concluded that the mistakes in the mailing arose because of very limited operator error.

The contractor for this mailing already operates to ISO standards.

"Nevertheless we are considering additional measures further to safeguard personalised packages in respect of the next IACS round."