However, for those without a computer, they either need to liaise with their agent to see if they can register online via them or visit one of the assistance centres which DEFRA is setting up across England where farmers will be able to go to an RPA office to complete the process under guidance.
Once farmers have accessed the RPA’s online BPS system they need to check their business details are correct, that the appropriate people are registered against the business, and that the plans of their land are up to date. At present there is not much else that can be done online but with only four months to go until the application deadline there is clearly still a lot of work to be done to ensure the system becomes functional in time for farmers to be able to make their claim.
Memories of the disastrous implementation of the SPS back in 2005 are etched into the memory of many a farmer and thus there is nervousness that the faltering start to the online identity verification process may be a prelude of much worse to come. However, I do hope that this time the RPA will have learnt from the mistakes of the past.
The fact that they have organised a telephone identity verification system at relatively short notice is to be commended and I just hope the RPA’s new BPS software will be similarly user friendly.