Select Committee on Agriculture Minutes of Evidence


  1.   Questions 42-49 related to the programme management and risk management arrangements. I enclose copies of the Restructuring Programme Controls and the guidance on Risk Management within the programme. These explain the systems which have been put in place to identify, assess and manage the risks associated with the programme.

* * * *

  2.   Questions 53-58 related to the expenditure on NURAD. The total spend on NURAD was just under £14 million, most of which will be reutilised. We are currently finalising the amount which will need to be written off, and will include details in the April update for the Committee.

* * * *

  4.   Questions 114-117 ask about expected take-up of electronic IACS claim forms in 2001. MAFF received approximately 74,000 IACS forms in 2000. We have received around 10,000 expressions of interest in electronic submission of IACS 2001 forms, including around 1,000 from agents. If all 10,000 were to submit an electronic application, this would amount to some 13.5% of the total number of claims.

  5.   Questions 141-143 asked about the advantages of electronic claim submission to applicants. The pilot study carried out in East Anglia last year did not collect data on the timing of payments to participants. However, the pilot showed that e-forms will contain fewer errors and inaccuracies because of the inbuilt intelligence and will thus be processed more swiftly than the average manually completed form. E-forms will not require to be manually input to our database. As a consequence e-form applications will complete the full internal checking process more quickly than other forms and thus be ready for payment earlier. Furthermore, the pilot gave a clear indication that participants felt there was "gain for the pain" (to quote Question 142). The users valued the inbuilt intelligence within the e-form which enabled:

    (a)  automatic arithmetic calculations and totalling;

    (b)  internal consistency;

    (c)  online validation;

    (d)  pre-population with last year's data;

    (e)  intelligent Help facility; and

    (f)  compatibility with applicants using farm software packages.

  6.   Questions 145 and 146 related to the savings expected to accrue to CAPPA as a result of electronic forms. The assumptions made in the CAPPA Business case about the anticipated level of processing savings that will result from the receipt of electronic application forms (e-forms) are set out at Line A in the table below.

  However to get a more meaningful profile of the level of processing savings we took into account the percentage of MAFF schemes and Intervention Board schemes that would be made available online (% of schemes in scope), and the different levels of customer take-up for those schemes. The total level of processing savings attributed to e-forms is set out at Lines B and C in the table below.

  (For reference, a separate, more detailed note on the level of customer take-up for CAPPA's electronic services was supplied to the Committee late last year.)

  The resulting level of processing savings from the receipt of e-forms was then combined with the level of processing savings resulting from the use of workflow technology (the system that will automatically distribute work among staff), to give an overall percentage of processing savings. This is shown at Lines D and E in the table below.

20012002 200320042005 200620072008 20092010
Savings from e-Forms
A. Anticipated Level of Processing Savings (for schemes in scope) 5%10%20% 20%30%30% 30%30%30% 30%
% IB schemes in scope40% 50%80%100% 100%100%100% 100%100%100%
% Take-up for IB schemes in scope45% 45%54%61% 65%68%71% 73%74%74%
% MAFF schemes in scope 30%60%100% 100%100%100% 100%100%100%
% Take-up for MAFF schemes in scope5% 5%14%21% 25%28%31% 33%34%34%
B. % Processing savings—IB schemes 1%2%9%12% 20%20%21% 22%22%22%
C. % Processing savings—MAFF schemes 0%0%2%4% 8%8%9% 10%10%10%
Overall Savings from e-Forms AND Workflow)
D. Overall % Processing savings—IB schemes 1%2%12% 17%32%38% 39%39%40% 40%
E. Overall % Processing savings—MAFF schemes 0%0%5% 9%21%29% 34%34%34% 34%

  I hope that the Committee will find this information helpful. We will let you have a further progress report in April.

19 February 2001

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