(2) how many hours of staff training were undertaken (a) in total and (b) per head by (i) permanent and (ii) agency staff at the Rural Payments Agency in each year from 2001-02 to 2006-07.
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) allocates an equal proportion of training time to both permanent staff and agency workers to meet scheme operational requirements. Training is provided to equip staff with the skills required to perform their duties to meet the RPA's key business targets.
The following table sets out the average time spent on formal operational training time per head and in total for each financial year:
Hours per head Total staff trained Total hours 2001-02 17.5 484 8,470 2002-03 21 250 5,250 2003-04 21 142 2,982 2004-05 35 2,600 91,000 2005-06 35 2,000 70,000 2006-07 15 1,800 27,000
Hours per head
Total staff trained
The following table sets out the average costs of formal operational training per head and in total for each financial year:
Total operational training expenditure per head Total expenditure 2001-02 115 50,820 2002-03 161 37,750 2003-04 178 23,572 2004-05 407 730,600 2005-06 294 582,000 2006-07 132 230,400
Total operational training expenditure per head
New permanent management staff spent an average of 70 hours per head on management related training across the period 2001-02 to 2006-07. 70 permanent middle managers spent an average of 46 hours per head participating in the RPA's Leadership Development Programme between 2003-04 and 2006-07 at a total cost of circa £600,000 and average £8,570 per head.
In addition to formal training, RPA staff receive varying amounts of training ‘at the desk’, which as an ongoing process is dependant on individual learning needs and changes in operational requirements. The time spent and expenditure on this informal training cannot be quantified, without incurring disproportionate costs.
In 2007-08, RPA will make similar financial provision to that spent in 2006-07 on the training of permanent staff and agency temporary workers. Budgetary increases will also be made as required to take account of changes in operational and system requirements that may occur during the period. A project has also been initiated to review the level and adequacy of training for the future delivery of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS). The outcome of this review may result in further increases in the provision and scope of operational training for SPS.
(2) how many claims for single farm payment have been rejected following cross-compliance inspections.
For the 2005 scheme year, 243 full cross-compliance inspections were carried out in England. Of these RPA have applied a financial penalty to 91 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) claimants.
In one case, the full SPS claim was rejected for failing to allow a cross-compliance inspection to take place on the holding.
The Minister of State (Lords) is working closely with the new management team at the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to ensure that the lessons from the 2005 and 2006 scheme years are properly addressed.
The RPA has implemented a series of initiatives in consultation with key stakeholder groups to simplify and streamline the application process and is targeting those areas that caused problems in the first two years of the scheme.
In the meantime and in accordance with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's statement of 7 November the RPA is seeking to make a payment to all those 2006 scheme year claimants due to receive at least €1000 as early as possible in the claim payment window.