In the second of a series of BPS 2020 focused blogs, NFU BPS adviser Richard Wordsworth looks at some of the things farmers need to think of now, as the BPS application window progresses. He writes:
It has certainly been a busy time for the NFU's BPS team. In recent weeks we have continued to update our suite of guidance, which focuses around three briefings covering policy changes, application information and the greening crop diversification rules being relaxed. This and other support can be found in our dedicated BPS channel on NFUonline, here.
We have continued to have regular meetings with the RPA and Defra and have sought flexibility around what can be submitted around the original application deadline and the challenges faced with lockdown conditions. The NFU’s underlying view is that we should have stuck with the 15 May BPS deadline (now changed to 15 June 2020), but with increased flexibility to help farmers either side of that deadline. At the heart of the reason for this is our concern that the delivery of timely payments comes later this year.
Not applied yet for BPS 2020? Keep looking at the latest information on how to apply for BPS 2020
The NFU has continued to work with the RPA around its COVID-19 focused Gov.uk information, which can be found here. It is best to read this information carefully. Save this link and refer to it regularly as the content will change. This link also includes a new piece of information the RPA has put together following NFU requests on the options and ways to get certain forms and documents to the RPA at this time. Read the information here. Please do follow this information carefully. Please also remember, as a result of the disruption of COVID-19, there are no drop in centres for BPS, CS and ES 2020 applications and claims this year.
We would urge you to get your BPS claims submitted as soon as possible and take up the online claim option where possible. This is to help the processing of claims as, essentially, a paper form adds a month to the validation process, with ingestion, checking and clarifying data before it can move forward, most of which is not needed for an online only submission. Remember, we recently held our first BPS 2020 webinar, which can be watched back online here, as well as a summary of the question and answers that were covered to help you with an online claim.
Already applied for BPS 2020? Do one final check to get things right
Even though you may have submitted your claim, carrying out one final check or clarifying any information on the application form, or what you need to submit, is now critical. Each year we come across cases where a little more care when the application was being put together would have avoided adverse financial impact later on, be that a lower or a late payment.
There is still time to get things right and amend the claim without penalty. Here are some points to consider:
- Rules. Was there anything you did not understand that you want to double check before it is too late? Did you understand your EFA greening requirements, what to claim on etc.?
- Does your copy of the application submitted show correctly what you want to claim on? Double check your BPS claim PDF summary and the areas shown in column C8 of the field data sheet and the summary total. Is this what you expected? Equally, for commons or EFA, check the options you have applied for and the EFA summary. Again, is this what you expected to see?
- Has the RPA got your online claim? In terms of receipts, for online claim there are four ways to see a claim has been successfully submitted. Immediately after submission an online notification should have appeared, as well as the status of claim showing as ‘submitted’ with time and date. There will also be a message in the messages tab that shows it is submitted. Finally, after submitting the claim, you should have generated and downloaded a final PDF of the application. This will show the document as being submitted and with the time and date showing. That copy should show the correct entries
- Supporting Documents. Did you send to the RPA what was required and in the right way? E.g. RLE1 forms covering mapping changes etc.
- Copies of documents – Have you really got a ‘carbon copy’ of everything sent to the RPA (for BPS claims that is a hardcopy / copy saved on PC showing time and date of submission) in case RPA seek clarification on an element of the claim made?
- Posted information. If you have posted documents, follow the RPA guidance on what receipts should be received. Chase the RPA if they do not arrive.
- Keeping the claim under review. Below are some BPS related topics to look at, as remember, BPS is not just about the spring, these are shortly to be joined by a reminder on greening issues to be aware of at this time.
Thanks for reading and that is it from me for now.
If you need any further support on BPS please call NFU CallFirst on 0870 8458458.