Richard Lochhead(c) Tim Scrivener/Rex

The Scottish government is to set up a body that will simplify form filling and challenge organisations and officials to work more efficiently.

The move follows the Cutting Red Tape review written by Scottish consultant Brian Pack and delivered to the Scottish government last summer.

In an address to NFU Scotland council, Scotland’s rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead announced the formation of a Rural Affairs Food and Environment Board and said he had decided to chair the organisation himself. Mr Pack will also be a member along with senior Scottish government policy officials and the chief executives of public bodies and agencies.

See also: Red tape report being ignored, says NFU Scotland

“I will send EU agriculture commissioner Philip Hogan a copy of Brian Pack’s red tape review to help persuade him that Europe needs to be more outcome focused rather than process obsessed.”
Richard Lochhead

“I will also be inviting several independent members on to the board to challenge conventional thinking,” he said.

Mr Lochhead said the government was now in a position to accept almost three-quarters of Mr Pack’s recommendations. Work to examine the remainder is under way.

In his speech Mr Lochhead also criticised the CAP, describing it as not fit for purpose.

He called on EU agriculture commissioner Philip Hogan to move faster on simplification.

“When it comes to helping Scotland implement the new CAP in ways that suit us, we need the commissioner to take his foot off the brakes and put it on the gas instead,” he said. “He needs to drive forward the early review of CAP and tackle issues such as the crazy EU auditing regime. And I will send him a copy of Brian Pack’s red tape review to help persuade him that Europe needs to be more outcome focused rather than process obsessed.”