MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED BY RT HON JOYCE QUIN
MP, MINISTER OF STATE, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND
I enclose as requested, an update on progress
on the regional restructuring programme. This covers all aspects
of the programme (ie the creation of the CAP Payments Agency (CAPPA))about
which you will be taking evidence from Johnston McNeill on 7 Februarythe
establishment of a MAFF presence in the Government Offices and
the creation of the Rural Development Service.
It may be helpful to the Committee if we provide
these updates on a regular footing. I propose therefore that we
submit updates on a quarterly basis. The next updates would be
produced in April. Please let me know if this would be helpful
to the Committee.
AGRICULTURAL SELECT COMMITTEE: QUARTERLY
UPDATE ON REGIONAL RESTRUCTURING (JANUARY 2001)
1. This quarterly briefing note is intended
to update the Committee on recent progress on the restructuring
of MAFF's Regional Service Centres. The first section deals with
the creation of the new CAP Payments Agency (CAPPA) and the second
section deals with other aspects of restructuring (the establishment
of a MAFF presence in Government Offices and the creation of the
new Rural Development Service to deliver the England Rural Development
(i) CAPPA creation
2. The aim is that CAPPA will be launched
as a single paying agency during 2001-02. At that point the Intervention
Board will be wound up and a fully independent coordinating body
established. A joint delegation from MAFF, IB and the UK Co-ordinating
Body met with the Commission in December to outline the current
progress with the design and preparation for CAPPA. The Commission
officials were briefed on the decisions taken by Ministers in
July 2000 to promote and fund the new Paying Agency and the proposed
transition arrangements for making and accounting for CAP payments.
The Commission reacted favourably at the meeting, and their written
agreement to the proposals has now been sought.
(ii) Programme progress
3. The design work on the creation of CAPPA
is progressing well and programme plans are being finalised. The
draft IT strategy and high level logical design is being refined
as further work on business processes, IT design and the sourcing
strategy progresses. Initial design activities in key areas will
be completed by April 2001 to enable the IT and detailed requirements
to be specified in outline for a high-level Statement of Service
Requirement. This will allow procurement to begin of the IT tools,
products and services needed to develop CAPPA systems and migrate
from existing systems in MAFF and IB.
(iii) CAPPA senior structure and programme
4. The Minister of State, Joyce Quin, wrote
to the Chairman of the Committee on 23 November advising that
Johnston McNeill has been appointed as CAPPA's Chief Executive.
The News Release that accompanied the letter set out Mr McNeill's
previous experience and highlighted the relevant practical experience
he brings to the issues that face the CAPPA Programme team. Subsequently
the structure of the CAPPA senior management team has been agreed,
and the recruitment process is under way. The appointments to
the CAPPA senior team will aim to blend internal experience within
the operational areas with external skills and experience, particularly
in the IT and Finance areas.
5. A Director of Business Operations will
have overall accountability to the Chief Executive for all Scheme
Management and Operational issues and will be supported by operational
site heads at each of the CAPPA Processing Centres. A Director
of Business Continuity, reporting to the Director of Operations,
will ensure that MAFF scheme management and processing on the
downsizing sites are transferred across to the CAPPA sites without
any disruptionthe post will lapse once the transfers have
been completed. A Director of Business Development will support
the CE in planning the development of the new CAPPA organisation
towards its long-term goals.
6. In addition, there will be three Director
posts, covering Finance, Information Technology and Human Resources,
a Legal Adviser and a Head of Audit.
7. The CAPPA design envisages four commodity
Scheme Management Units (SMUs) and a further SMU dealing with
horizontal issues. These will undertake the work currently done
by the MAFF National Scheme Management Centres, IB scheme managers
and most of the existing functions of MAFF's Headquarters CAP
Scheme Management Division. The new Rural Development Service
(RDS) will also have centres of expertise on ERDP scheme design
and delivery, working closely with the CAPPA SMU. The location
of the SMU responsibilities will be as follows:
ExeterRural Development Regulation schemes.
Newcastlemulti-commodity trader schemes.
Readinghorizontal issues (including IACS).
8. Additional external and internal expertise
has been brought in to the CAPPA Programme Team. An experienced
communications expert, working with the COI, is currently leading
the work to implement the Restructuring Programme communications
strategy in respect of both internal and external communications.
(iv) Customer communications (including take
up of electronic services)
9. An external consultation document was
issued in July 2000. This principally covered the implications
of CAPPA but also sought comments from external stakeholders on
other elements of the restructuring programme. The analysis of
the exercise is attached to this update at Annex A [not printed].
Consultation is continuing and a regular "Industry Forum"
will be established to continue a two-way dialogue with stakeholders.
10. Further to the pilot exercise on electronic
submission of IACS/AAPS forms, conducted in Anglia Region in Spring
2000, all IACS applicants have been invited to register interest
in submitting their IACS 2001 applications electronically. Some
10,000 "expressions of interest" have been received.
This is higher than the original, conservative planning assumption.
(v) Business Continuity
11. A Business Continuity Project Board,
under the chairmanship of an experienced MAFF Regional Director,
has been established with the responsibility for developing strategic
plans for managing the detailed work transfer arrangements between
sites. The aim will be to minimise disruption for claimants, maintain
efficient service delivery and ensure the maintenance of MAFF's
paying agency accreditation status during the transition to CAPPA,
the creation of the Rural Development Service, and the integration
of work with Government Offices. A critical path is being prepared,
underpinned by site specific contingency plans in the event that
some of the planned work transfers might have to be brought forward
ahead of schedule. The identification of risk plays a key role
in the management of this project.
(vi) Risk management
12. The Restructuring Programme includes
a formal risk identification and management procedure. Risks are
reviewed monthly by the Programme and Business Continuity Managers
to evaluate the risk, identify mitigating actions and ensure that
each risk is "owned" by a named individual with the
Programme team. The work of the review team and the changing status
of the risks are evaluated by a monthly Restructuring Programme
Board, chaired by the Permanent Secretary.
13. The Office of Government Commerce has
reviewed the NURAD project and their report is expected imminently.
The lessons identified by OGC will be taken into account in developing
CAPPA's IT strategy and systems.
14. MAFF's updated response to the Committee's
tenth report in October explained that the Ministry intended to
place a Director and support staff in each of the Government Offices
(GOs) for the Regions with effect from 1 April 2001 so as to strengthen
MAFF's strategic role within the regional organisation and to
foster closer links between the department and the regional stakeholders.
The response also explained that the role and responsibilities
of the MAFF Directors were being worked out in consultation with
the Regional Co-ordination Unit (RCU) based in the DETR and with
the GO Regional Directors.
15. Since then the MAFF Directors have been
appointed to the eight Government Offices and will take up their
posts at the beginning of April. The successful candidates represent
a wide range of experience within MAFF and elsewhere. A programme
of training and briefing activity will take place between now
and 1 April, with input from senior policy makers within the Department
and from GO Directors from other departments. The role and responsibilities
of each of the MAFF Director posts will reflect the needs of the
particular region as determined by the Regional Director of the
GO, so that further training and development will have to be undertaken
whilst in post. A small number of support staff will be identified
for transfer to the Government Offices.
16. The Department is in regular contact
with both the Regional Directors of the GOs and the RCU in respect
of planning the transfer of operational work (such as structural
fund work and emergencies) as well as setting up the infrastructure
for the Directors and support staff.
17. It is our intention that MAFF should
play a full part in the strategic work of the GOs. There will
be close links between MAFF's Directors in the GOs and the Department's
new Policy and Corporate Strategy Unit through regular liaison
meetings. Direct contact between MAFF policy divisions and the
GOs will be encouraged as and when business needs arise.
18. MAFF is contributing to the preparation
of a Corporate Plan for the work of the GO network, which will
define the activities of the GOs and relate these to Departmental
PSA targets and other desired outcomes. It is intended that the
Corporate Plan will be in place by 1 April 2001. Once this has
been adopted, individual GOs will finalise their own business
plans which will translate the broad objectives and outcomes of
the Corporate Plan into specific activities and targets.
19. Our response to the Committee's report
explained that a new nationally managed but regionally based service
within MAFF's Rural Development and Environment Group (the Rural
Development Service (RDS)) would be set up as part of the regional
restructuring process to deal primarily with the implementation
of the ERDP. It will bring together the technical expertise of
the FRCA with the administrative experience of the RSCs in order
to provide an efficient service for the regions.
20. The Head of the RDS was appointed in
October 2000. The appointee (Sarah Nason) is currently the Chief
Executive of the FRCA and she has already been heavily involved
in the discussions and decision-making processes relating to the
creation of the RDS.
21. The RDS will be managed on the basis
of the boundaries of the Government Offices for the Regions. The
regions will be headed by RDS offices located in Crewe, Worcester,
Bristol, Reading, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leeds and Newcastle.
Headquarters and a finance unit will be located in London. Four
Business Process Units, which will take the lead responsibility
for individual schemes, will be located in Bristol, Crewe, Nottingham
and Worcester. Corporate responsibilities such as personnel, training
and purchasing have been allocated to regional offices.
22. Decisions on the senior management structure
of the RDS have been made and eight Regional Managers and the
Business Processes Director were appointed in early January. The
appointees all have experience of the work done by the RSCs or
the FRCA. They will take up their appointments formally on 1 April.
Work on the selection of administrative staff for RDS regional
offices is being taken forward in parallel with staffing decisions
for CAPPA, in consultation with the DTUS. Technical staff currently
in FRCA will transfer to RDS on 1 April.
23. As a foundation for the future work
of the RSD, a number of teams from the FRCA, RSCs and policy divisions
have been assembled to review the administrative and technical
processes for all of the main schemes under the ERDP. They will
identify current best practice in RSCs and FRCA, amend existing
Agreed Working Practices and desk instructions to take account
in the changes in organisational structure, and draft Service
Level Agreements defining the role of each of the organisations
involved. They will also prepare implementation plans for changes
to processes to include risk management and training requirements.
24. Whilst CAPPA systems are being developed,
the RDS will have delegated authority to authorise payments to
agreement holders under ERDP and other schemes. This means that
the RDS will handle the whole process of preparing agreements
and handling claims under the oversight of CAPPA's Scheme Management
Unit, with CAPPA taking responsibility for compliance monitoring.
Longer term arrangements will be determined as the design of CAPPA
is taken forward.