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How we're improving the Rural Payments service based on feedback

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: CAP Reform

This post is now out of date.  Please check here for the latest information.

The new Rural Payments service is being rolled out in stages so that we can make updates and improvements as we go.

We've been inviting people to register and start telling us about their land in order to get started on their Basic Payment Scheme claim.

If you’ve already registered onto the service, you will notice a couple of things have changed based on user feedback.

We’ve made it easier for you to tell us about your land features  

People told us that they found drawing land features onto the service difficult - so we’ve changed it. You can now drop a pin onto the feature instead of drawing it on, as the RPA only needs an indication of where it is.

If you need any help when adding or editing a land use or land feature, please call 03000 200 301.  We've also published some new guides to help you tell us about your land.

We’ve recently been making some updates to the service and there is more to come. Will keep you updated here.

Please check the service updates page for information about the service and our helpline hours.

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  1. Comment by Oliver Harwood posted on

    Can you please tell us why you haven't migrated all the information we have provided and has been checked by RPA inspectors in respect of features in fields that are recorded on SPS maps to the new system?
    why do we have to reinvent (and re-measure) the wheel, only for RPA inspectors to remeasure it again in search of penalties?
    More than one client has said they would be pleased to pay the RPA to map the land in the first instance rather than attempt to map it themselves and then be penalised for 0.1Ha.

    • Replies to Oliver Harwood>

      Comment by andywebb posted on

      We have migrated all land features held in the Rural Land Registry from 2014 claims, if yours aren’t appearing on the Rural Payments service then please call 03000 200 301 to report it and we will resolve it for you.

  2. Comment by anthony weston posted on

    the system is pathetically slow! i keep getting "submit proposal failed" and it has taken me over 45mins map one 0.58ha parcel and only want claim 0.26ha of it anyway! Do you have any concept whatsoever of the amount of work that we need to do by the 15th May and just how poor your new online service.

    • Replies to anthony weston>

      Comment by andywebb posted on

      We’re working to resolve the issues with ‘submit proposal failed’ error messages and this issue is now only affecting a small minority of customers. Apologies for the inconvenience caused. We’ll update you when the issue is resolved for everyone; keep checking back on this blog. We’re also working on fixes around the service’s speed

  3. Comment by Lesley Booker posted on

    Totally agreed but no reply from RPA yet? ANd no peace to get on with the job, as soon as the RPA workers get in, the system slows to unuseable, really frustrated and worried now

  4. Comment by Neil Bedford posted on

    I have tried getting up at 5am to beat people onto the system so I can look at my land parcels. Even at 5:30 it took 14 seconds to load my land parcels. Then when it I made changes the system is really slow and quite frankly unusable. Between each click there is a really long wait so you are unsure if the computer registered your click. Then waiting 3 plus minutes for the system to respond to open another screen. Therefore one simple land parcel to check and amend, if your lucky, can take 20 min and that was at 6am on a weekend when I presumed that few people would be using the system (14/03/14). Yesterday I managed to check thee land parcels from 5:30 am to 7am when I then gave up. The system at present is not fit for purpose,. It is unreasonably to have a system operating so slowly.
    I have 550 land parcels to check and another 60 to add. Unless the system speeds up just the land parcels before 15th may is near impossible.
    Biggest worry is the threat of an inspection . Having good maps and accurate maps are the core. Currently I have very little faith in what I am achieving on line, so far I have only tackled and check woodland parcels as these should have little impact on my BPS claim. What will happen at inspection if I can't get my maps right now?

  5. Comment by Tina Bardill posted on

    Your lucky I tried yesterday 14/3/15 and today 15/3/15 and both days I have been told that the 'RPA website is unavailalbe please try again later'!! How are we expected to get on?

  6. Comment by Paul Stephens posted on

    Pathetic carry on - unworkable, unreliable, late, lack of information and dreadfully slow. I have tried to be compliant with the suggestions made, but half the time I can't open fields. When I do make an alteration I have no idea whether the computer has frozen or not as there is no indication that stuff is loading and a lot of functions aren't even working yet.
    Only 59 days to go for the boffins at DEFRA to get their act together AND for us to firstly get used to a new system and then to get stuff entered. Plus, I've got a farm to run as well as trying to keep up with ever more bureaucracy, collect the VAT for HMRC, do the wages without making mistakes etc etc - all of which I can get fined for if I make a mistake. On top of this we are in danger of making a mess of this BPS and our payment is at risk.
    Why is it the Brish farmer is the most efficient in the world, but we are being held back by others who can't get their act together?!?

  7. Comment by Colin Grice posted on

    There still seems to be no way to indicate Common Land.
    You can't even select a suitable land use.
    (but there are lots of bizarre ones in case you might be commercially growing birds foot trefoil or hedge bedstraw!)
    Then the mapping has split one large open area into dozens of fictional parcels which all seem flagged as needing deductions?
    Hard to imagine how this nonsensical mess can be resolved in the few weeks remaining.

  8. Comment by JC&S posted on

    I note this page is headed up 'How we're improving...'!!!! I have to agree with all the comments that have gone before and after a 2 hour RPA session on mapping last week to amend 3 fields, I cannot see how we will be able to satisfy all our clients' demands by 15th May. For sure, there are other farmers, not currently clients, who will need assistance but it would appear that there are not enough hours in the day nor enough days in the week to cope with our own let alone any new clients, as the system is so slow.

    This needs sorting now. If the RPA have to admit defeat and roll out contingency plans (we hope there are some), so be it, but at least with any simpler quicker system all the farmers should get paid this year and the British Government may not be fined by Europe.

  9. Comment by Tyke posted on

    System completely down this morning, can't even register clients.
    System partly up now, but can't view land.
    the time has arrived. Print 87,000 paper forms and ditch the system.
    No doubt the standard "your feedback is useful and will be used to improve the service" message will appear.
    I hope the Farm Crisis Network are ready for an upsurge in calls.

  10. Comment by Jules posted on

    Please..Please..Please.....This is heading for a total disaster.........havent been able to view land since friday and now Monday pm....system slow and virtually useless...i need to be using when it suits me and not when and if i can ...Just print some forms and lets have another paper year before its too late!!

  11. Comment by Craig posted on

    In light of slow internet connections and the delays in system speed would it not be possible to adapt the ELS online software to allow for desktop applications that could be submitted once completed?

  12. Comment by Dick Faithfull posted on

    Or at the very least keep the old SPS system live rather than closing it down at the end of March. There must be some sort of back up for this. I see Scotland are planning on having paper forms ready in case.

  13. Comment by Hilary posted on

    Ah I see nothing has changed since 2005 when I decided I would not use the software because it was so bad and insisted on paper forms which I could photocopy and keep for my records.

    I have not tried for a week or more as I am dealing with my Entry Level Stewardship scheme which arrived with rather brutal language; so much so my hushand thought I was getting a final demand to complete the paperwork.

  14. Comment by Bob Mosley posted on

    Your comments about migration of information are, at best wrong, and at worst are blatant lies. The land plan information that you have used is years out of date, the drawing system could have been designed better by a 5 year old child and worse still, you do not respond to emails seeking further information.
    It is time that the RPA acknowledged that their system is unfit for purpose, that their programmers are incompetent and that the BPS system was doomed by ignorance, arrogance and stupidity on the part of the RPA.

  15. Comment by anthony weston posted on

    How have your IT contractors been allowed to build such an awful system! it has even populated parcels with more features than there is gross area! if we did that we would incur vast unreasonable and disproportionate penalties!

  16. Comment by HOWARD sMITH posted on

    Your site about availability has not been updated since 10.45 when you say try later however your recorded message on your landline at 17.00 clears tells us it is not working. There is no communication with your clients to tell us when it will be working . There has been no improvement to the service within the last month in fact I would say it is actually worse now than before. Time for Mark Grimshaw to resign from a highly paid job as he is ultimately responsible for the poor performance as unless modifications are made quickly the proposed system will not work and I trust there is a back up plan. The RPA should admit that yet again the mapping is a fiasco as it was in 2005 yet if the inland revenue can after a few yearsoperate a system with much more information surely the RPA can or is it budget restraints ?

  17. Comment by Tom posted on

    Since your website has been launched it has been close to a complete disaster, the hours that have been wasted in playing around to second guess what needed to be done is ridicoulous.

    You have published little to no guidance on the mapping, everything provided has been given to agents as a second hand interpretation by CAAV (thank god).
    • You have used an old version of Google Earth, why would you do that, it’s completely counter productive
    • Until last week you had to mark boundaries by hand, which was extremely time consuming and extremely frustrating
    • Constant down times for no reason
    • The system is slow and there is no loading symbol when you want to enter information, often you can wait over a minute for a page to load.

    • Constant emails have been ignored
    • Your website is near impossible to find unless you have the exact link
    • You have been conducting web advice seminars, of which you seemed proud that around 100 people had registered to view (if you had informed people they were happening you would have had thousands of people registered)
    • Due to your lack of advice provided there is the need to call your agents who to put it bluntly are close to useless, they have no knowledge in the mapping system, what needs to be marked on the maps, when updates are set to happen, why the system is down (the list could go on).

    How you have not done the entitlement update yet is completely ridiculous, there is now no way that I can see that agents can complete everything by May 15th on your substandard system. The only way that you could of got everyone registered would have been if farmers completed everything themselves, which you have made impossible to do by your complex and impractical system.

    If i was a stock broker I would be telling my clients to invest in printer ink, because the amount of paper forms and associated paper work you are going to be printing over the next week or so, to cover up the complete failure of your website is a frightening prospect

  18. Comment by Simon carr posted on

    Last week the system was down until Tuesday ,from Friday thats 41/2 days. this weekend it's been down. It's 5 o'clock Monday and still down, luckily I have managed to check fields but nothing else cos waiting for next up date to be rolled out . I suggest that every day that the system is down another day should be added to the 15 May deadline, someone needs to be checking how many days it has been down for improvements !! Someone needs to be telling the ag minister cos he keeps sending me letters telling me to register and not to delay in starting to fill in the application ,obviously one hand doesn't know what the other is doing,

  19. Comment by Charles Tydeman posted on

    Every time I try to log in all I get is a blank page with "IT WORKS" in the top corner is someone having a laugh?!!

  20. Comment by Mike Eastman posted on

    Sadly all of the above is true and it seems to be getting worse not better. So many things we CANNOT do - map land use, transfer entitlements, add parcels, move parcel boundaries, yesterday even register clients. Please at least tell us what is happening - no replies to any of the posts on this blog from RPA. The amount of work you are leaving and relying on farmers and their agents completing in a SHORT TIME is fast becoming completely unfeasible. The back up plans had better be good Mr Grimshaw .......

  21. Comment by HOWARD sMITH posted on

    Trying to register existing farming partnership comprised of 5 partners of which only 2 were legally empowered. These two partners are deceased and the Probate team cannot add the remaining partners as empowered to act on behalf of the business because they have been locked out of both the old and the new system and have no idea when this work will be permitted. Without it the business cannot be registered for BPS .
    Another own goal for the RPA . Mr.Grimshaw please sort this out but of course your track record at the CSA and computer systems does not give me the confidence you can. Please prove me wrong.

  22. Comment by Office girl posted on

    How can you even think of saying "how we are improving"? We were supposed to be able to register in October last year - but the vast majority of claimants were not advised that they could register until this January! The mapping is supposed to be the same as the most up to date maps we had received - yet it would appear that they are not. Why do we need to indicate the area on the map if it is correct as previously claimed and inspected? For goodness sake stop trying to get a system that tries to do everything and so far is really not doing anything useful.

  23. Comment by Office Boy posted on

    8.50pm on the 18th march - no land use access. Has Andy Webb done a runner or gone on permanent sick leave? No comments from him / her since the 14th!!
    This whole thing is a bit of a joke. I do like the comment about using the ELS software; it was brilliant - so many more options to use and gave us total area mapped, but of course none of it is any good at all without access to the system.
    I suspect that the rpa (my small letters as I refuse to give them capitals) thought each and every farmer claimant would do their own claim and that 45 days was sufficient even for the slowest - but how wrong they are.

  24. Comment by George posted on

    Still not working. We need a solution now. We cannot wait any longer Mark Grimshaw

  25. Comment by Elizabeth Mouland posted on

    HILARY - I need to introduce you to my husband, he has done the same as you and even went so far as to deliver his paperwork by hand be it Reading or Newmarket!! This year is the first time I have had to be involved with his farm office work as he does not do computers and why should he? I am a junior school teacher not a farmer, and I agree with all the comments made that I have read in the past 5 minutes. The system is unfit for purpose, frustrating and unacceptable; frankly that is being polite and kind. In real terms farmers have work to be getting on with and in my instance I have a class to go to in the afternoons, I cannot 'come back in a few hours' to attempt to access the system. It is taking an unreasonable amount of time to check just one parcel of land. And since when has a pond been a scattered water feature? Totally absurd and insulting. Shame on those responsible for this. We need paper copies and we need them sooner rather than later and we need the RPA to stop using its threatening language and maybe an apology or an acknowledgement that they have got it badly wrong.

  26. Comment by Alice Hammond posted on

    Thank you for all of your feedback over the last week. To respond to recent comments received on this blog post about the Rural Payments service, we’d like to draw your attention to an announcement the Rural Payments Agency made on 19 March. We are going to offer farmers and agents the use of established forms and processes to complete their Basic Payment Scheme claims. You can find out more about the announcement here: If your comment above was not about the availability of the Rural Payments service, we will respond to your questions directly.