Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Session 2005-06 

15 December 2005

Rural Payments Agency: evidence session

In October 2005, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee appointed two of its Members, David Taylor MP and Roger Williams MP, to act as rapporteurs in examining aspects of the Rural Payments Agency. In the light of their initial inquiries, the EFRA Committee has decided to hold the following evidence session:

Wednesday 11 January 2006

3.15 pmLord Bach of Lutterworth, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Sustainable Farming and Food), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Johnston McNeill, Chief Executive, Rural Payments Agency



1. The terms of reference for the rapporteurs' study were as follows:

To follow up the Committee's earlier report on the Rural Payments Agency (Sixth Report of Session 2002-03, Rural Payments Agency, HC382) by examining:

•why the RPA is unable to make payments under the Single Payment Scheme at the start of the payment window in December;

•the issues involved in making an interim payment to farmers, in advance of the new February target;

•what impact the RPA's own Change Programme has had in the introduction of the new CAP payments and the agri-environment schemes; and

•the extent to which the RPA's IT systems have failed to evolve to deliver what is required of them.

The rapporteurs requested written submissions from key stakeholders to address these terms of reference. The rapporteurs have also recently conducted a visit to the headquarters of the Rural Payments Agency, in Reading.

2. The Committee's previous report on the RPA can be found at:


3. The Committee normally meets in a committee room at Westminster. There are often last minute changes of room and meetings may be held either in the Palace of Westminster or in Portcullis House. Those wishing to attend should check the venue by calling the committee office information line the day before the hearing on 020 7219 2033. Website: www.parliament.uk/efracom