Extra help to get farmers online for BPS
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has announced a package of measures to help farmers get online for the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) including the launch of regional digital support centres offering appointments for one-to-one sessions for those most in need.
Farmers applying in 2015 for the BPS, which replaces the current Single Payment Scheme (SPS), will need to use the new Common Agricultural Policy Information Service online system.
Letters are going out this week to thousands of farmers whom the RPA believes are likely to need help getting online. The first 13,000 to be approached have always made paper claims for their SPS payments and have no digital footprint with RPA.
The RPA will later contact a further 12,000 customers who have some electronic history with the Agency including those who have registered an e-mail address with Agency or who have previously started, but not submitted, an SPS application online.
Anyone responding to a letter will get a telephone call from a trained RPA agent who will talk them through the process, while those most in need of extra help will be offered face-to-face sessions with an RPA rep at their local Digital Support Centre.
The centres are currently being trialled at Exeter, Penrith and Carlisle but the plan is to roll them out across England by early next year.