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					Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
          Single Farm Payment 2005




                            Part 2
    CAP Reform              Review of Decisions
                            (Appeal) Procedure
   2005 SINGLE FARM PAYMENT SCHEME

REVIEW OF DECISIONS (APPEAL) PROCEDURE




                                     October 2004
      Contents                                                    Page

1.    Introduction                                                3
2.    What decisions are covered under the Appeal Procedure?      3
3.    What is not covered by the Appeal Procedure?                4
4.    How can I have the decision clarified?                      4
5.    What are the stages of the Appeal Procedure and how do 4
      I submit an application?
6.    Request for a Stage One Review                              5
7.    Request for a Stage Two Review by the Independent Panel     6
8.    How does the Independent Panel operate?                     7
9.    Can I be present at the different Appeal Stages?            7
10.   Outcome of the Appeal                                       7
11.   How will I be advised of the outcome?                       8
12.   How much will the Appeal Procedure cost me?                 8
13.   Standard of Service                                         8
14.   External Review                                             9
15.   Where to contact us                                         9 - 11



Copies of this information leaflet can be made available on request
in alternative formats, for example, in large print, Braille disc, audio
cassette and other languages. If you wish to request an alternative
version of the leaflet, please use the contact details provided on
page 11 of this leaflet.




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1.   Introduction

     This information leaflet provides a guide to farmers on the Review of
     Decisions (Appeal) Procedure which has been set up by the
     Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (the Department)
     to deal with challenges to the Department’s decisions relating to the
     establishment of Single Farm Payment (SFP) Entitlements.

     The procedure is intended to ensure that farmers who feel that the
     Department did not reach the correct decision on their SFP
     Entitlement have access to an appeal procedure that aims to
     provide a fair, impartial and independent assessment of their case.

     The procedure provides access to a two-stage review to ensure that
     the Department has acted in accordance with the EU Regulations.

     Details of the procedure are also available on the Grants and
     Subsidies website at www.dardni.gov.uk/grantsandsubsidies and
     the Department’s website at www.dardni.gov.uk

     YOU SHOULD NOT USE APPEAL FORMS AP1 OR AP2 TO
     SUBMIT AN APPLICATION FOR CONSIDERATION OF FORCE
     MAJEURE OR EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES (INCLUDING
     PARTICIPATION IN AN AGRI-ENVIRONMENT AGREEMENT). A
     SEPARATE APPLICATION FORM FOR THIS PURPOSE WAS
     INCLUDED WITH THE INFORMATION PACK ISSUED TO ALL
     FARMERS IN SEPTEMBER 2004. The deadline for receipt of
     these applications is 1 December 2004 and not 1 November
     2004 as stated in the information pack. (An application form for
     consideration of force majeure/exceptional circumstances is also
     available on request from the Single Farm Payment Section in
     Orchard House (the full address is at page 9 of this information
     leaflet).

2.   What decisions are covered under the Appeal Procedure?

     Examples of the types of decisions that you may appeal against are:

     • The historic data used by the Department to calculate your
       Reference Amount under the SFP;
     • A decision relating to an application for an adjustment to your
       Reference Amount due to Force Majeure/Exceptional
       Circumstances;
     • A decision relating to an application for an adjustment to your
       Reference Amount as a result of participation in an EU funded
       Agri-Environment Scheme;
     • Any other decision relating to the establishment of SFP
       Entitlements.



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3.   What is not covered by the Appeal Procedure?

     This procedure will not consider appeals against the following:

     • Decisions on the payment rates used to calculate your SFP
       Entitlement;
     • Decisions on eligibility for subsidy payments in 2000 - 2002 which
       have previously been the subject of an appeal through the
       Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) Appeals
       process;
     • The standard of service you receive from the Department.

4.   How can I have the decision clarified?

     We recommend that before lodging a formal appeal, you contact the
     Department to discuss your query (the contact details are on page 9
     of this information leaflet). This may enable the matter to be
     resolved to your satisfaction without the need to request a formal
     review. Using this option does not affect your right to proceed with a
     formal appeal.

     If you believe that the historic data shown on your Reference
     Amount Statement is incorrect and wish to proceed to a formal
     appeal, you should ensure that we receive your application
     form (AP1) on or before 22 November 2004.

     If you contact the Department about your Reference Amount
     Statement and as a result the information in the Statement is
     revised, you will receive a revised Reference Amount Statement
     from us. If you are still not satisfied with the revised information and
     wish to proceed with a formal appeal, you must ensure that we
     receive your application form (AP1) within 42 calendar days
     from the date shown on the revised Statement.

     For all other decisions relating to SFP made by the Department,
     you should ensure we receive your application form (AP1)
     within 42 calendar days from the date of the decision letter.

5. What are the stages of the Appeal Procedure and how do I
   submit an application?

     The Appeal Procedure is made up of two distinct stages (these are
     detailed in sections 6 and 7 overleaf). If your appeal is fully or
     partially rejected at the first stage, you may request that it be
     progressed to the second stage. You may only move to Stage Two
     after you have completed Stage One. An application form for a
     Stage One appeal will be made available on request. The Stage
     Two appeal application form will be included with the Stage One
     decision letter if the original decision is upheld. It is important that

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     you provide all the information requested on the application form,
     that you attach any supporting evidence to be considered and that
     you return the form so that it is received within the specified time
     limit. You are advised to keep a copy of the appeal form(s) and any
     supporting evidence you send to us.

     At each stage, you should receive an acknowledgement of your
     appeal within 15 days of posting. If not, you should contact us
     immediately so that in the event of your application not having been
     received by the Department, you will have time to submit another
     application form within the period allowed. If you are submitting
     your application within 14 days of the deadline, you may wish to
     consider delivering it in person to the Stage One Appeals Section in
     Regus House, the Stage Two Appeals Section in Dundonald House,
     a DARD Office or Orchard House (the full addresses are on pages
     9 -11 of this information leaflet) in which case, we will issue an
     acknowledgement at the time. You should retain the
     acknowledgement since it is the only acceptable proof that your
     application had been received on time.

     It is important that you act to ensure that your application has
     been received by the specified deadline. A late application
     cannot be accepted if the original was lost or delayed in the
     post.

6.   Request for a Stage One Review

     You should ensure we receive your application form (AP1) on
     or before 22 November 2004 for a review of your Reference
     Amount Statement. In the case of any other decision made by
     the Department, you should ensure we receive your application
     form (AP1) within 42 calendar days from the date of your
     decision letter. Applications should be submitted to the Stage One
     Appeals section who will undertake the first review. This review will
     be carried out by staff who have not been involved in the original
     decision-making process. They will provide you with a decision
     based on their examination of the facts provided in your application.

     You should use Form AP1 (Stage One appeal application form).
     This will be sent to you on request (contact details are on page 10 of
     this information leaflet). The form asks you to specify the decision
     you wish to appeal and to give full details of the grounds for your
     request. You should also submit any supporting documentation that
     you wish to have considered.

     You should send your completed form to the Stage One Appeals
     Section at Regus House (the full address is on page 10 of this
     information leaflet).

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     The outcome of the Stage One appeal will be recorded in writing
     and will list:

     (i) the facts upon which the decision was made;
     (ii) the decision which has been reached;
     (iii) any recommendation which has been made.

     You will receive a copy of the full decision comprising (i), (ii) and (iii)
     above. If, as a result of the first appeal, the original decision is
     upheld, you will have the opportunity to make further representation
     to the Department. Form AP2 (Stage Two appeal application form)
     will be included with the decision letter. Again, you will have a
     specified time limit, in this case 30 calendar days from the date
     of the decision letter, within which to make any such
     representation.

7.   Request for a Stage Two Review by the Independent Panel

     If you feel that the decision given by the Stage One Appeals Section
     is incorrect, you may within 30 calendar days of the date of the
     Stage One Review decision letter, request a second review to be
     carried out by the Independent Panel. To proceed to this stage, you
     will be required to pay a fee of £50, which will be refunded if your
     request is partially or fully successful. You should note that your
     application will not be processed until the fee has been
     received.

     You should use form AP2 which will have been sent to you with the
     Stage One Review decision letter. The form asks you to specify the
     decision you wish to have reviewed, the change sought to that
     decision and to give full details of the grounds for your request (if
     different from that given at Stage One). You should also submit any
     additional documentation that you wish to have considered. You
     must ensure we receive your AP2 form within 30 calendar days
     from the date of the decision letter.

     The form AP2, together with the fee of £50, should be sent to the
     Stage Two Appeals Section at Dundonald House (the full address is
     on page 10 of this information leaflet). Cheques should be made
     payable to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
     Corporate Account and crossed “A/C payee only”.

     The Stage Two acknowledgement letter will include the contact
     details of the officer assigned to your case. Again, this officer will
     not have been involved in either the original or Stage One decision-
     making process. You (or your representative) will have the
     opportunity to contact your case officer to discuss any queries you
     may have. Likewise, the case officer may need to contact you (or

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     your representative) if further information is required. In exceptional
     circumstances, where for example the case is complex, you (or your
     representative) will have an opportunity to meet with the case officer
     to discuss the case.

     The case officer will consider your application and, when necessary,
     request further information from you or Departmental sources, as
     appropriate. The case officer will submit his/her report on your case
     to the Independent Panel. The report will list:

     (i) the findings of fact which the case officer has made;
     (ii) the decision which has been reached;
     (iii) any recommendation which has been made.

8.   How Does the Independent Panel operate?

     The Independent Panel will normally comprise of two members,
     from a legal and farming background, appointed by the Department.
     The Panel will consider the report submitted by the case officer. It
     will review the relevant European and UK legislation and will
     consider whether the Department’s decision is consistent with these
     rules.

     The Panel’s role is to review the Department’s decision, reach a
     conclusion and make a formal recommendation to the Minister on
     appropriate action. The final decision rests with the Minister. The
     Department, on behalf of the Minister, will notify the farmer of the
     decision giving the facts upon which the appeal was considered, the
     reasons for the decision reached and the effect of that decision on
     the case.

9.   Can I Be Present at the different Appeal Stages?

     At Stage One appeal, only a written request for review will be
     considered. However, at Stage Two appeal, you will be given the
     contact details of the officer assigned to your case. If your case is
     complex and you consider it would be helpful to discuss your
     queries in person, you (or your representative) can ask to meet with
     the case officer. However, you will not be able to attend the
     Independent Panel meetings.

10. Outcome of the Appeal

     The Appeals Procedure considers whether, taking into account all
     the facts and the legislative requirements, the Department arrived at
     the correct decision.


                                     7
   The outcome of the appeal at each stage will either confirm that the
   Department’s decision was correct or that it should be changed
   either in whole or in part. The Department then acts on that revised
   decision. Where a farmer’s request is successful this may result in,
   for example:

   • The allocation of a revised individual Reference Amount under the
     SFP Scheme;
   • An adjustment to an individual Reference Amount as a result of a
     case of Force Majeure/Exceptional Circumstances;
   • An adjustment to an individual Reference Amount as a result of
     participation in an EU funded Agri-Environment Scheme.

11. How will I be advised of the outcome?

   You will receive written notification of the outcome of your appeal. It
   will be sent to you by Recorded Delivery post.

12. How much will the Appeal Procedure cost me?
   There is no fee for the first stage of the Appeal process.

   For an appeal to the Independent Panel, a deposit of £50 is
   required. This deposit will be returned if your appeal is fully or
   partially successful.

13. Standard of Service

   If you do not receive the standard of service you expect, you have
   the right to complain. We will treat your complaint seriously and
   deal with it as quickly as possible. After a thorough and fair
   investigation we will give you a full explanation. If we have made a
   mistake we will apologise, explain why it happened and try to put
   things right as quickly as possible.

   We believe that most complaints can be settled quickly and
   satisfactorily if you discuss the problem with the person who has
   been dealing with you. If, after this informal contact, you are still not
   satisfied, you have the right to complain in writing to:

   The Customer Services Officer
   Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
   Service Delivery Group
   Room 546
   Dundonald House
   Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast , BT4 3SB




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14. External Review
     You can at any stage take your complaint to the Ombudsman. You
     should note, however, that the Ombudsman will not normally
     investigate your complaint until you have first used the Department’s
     complaints procedure. You can contact the Ombudsman as follows:
     By Telephone:      Free phone 0800 343424
     By Letter:         The Ombudsman
                        Freepost
                        Belfast BT1 6BR
     In Person:         The Ombudsman’s Office
                        Progressive House
                        33 Wellington Place
                        Belfast BT1 6HN
                        Tel: (028) 9023 3821
                        Fax (028) 9023 4912
     At any time you also have the option of seeking a judicial review of
     the Department’s decision.
15. Where to contact us
1.   Contact details for farmers wishing to discuss their Reference
     Amount Statement or Force Majeure/Exceptional Circumstances
     application are as follows:

     Farmers should contact the appropriate number according to the
     first letter of their surname / farm business name as set out below:

     A – C : (028) 7131 9891
     D – G : (028) 7131 9959
     H – L : (028) 7131 9766
     M     : (028) 7129 0039
     N – R : (028) 7131 9880
     S – Z : (028) 7131 9878

     Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
     Single Farm Payment Section
     Orchard House
     40 Foyle Street
     Derry/Londonderry
     BT48 6AT
     Fax:(028) 7131 9800 E-mail address: gspd.sfps@dardni.gov.uk




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2.   Further information on appeals can be obtained from:


      Stage One Appeals Section        Stage Two Appeals Section
      3rd Floor                        Room 563
      Regus House                      Dundonald House
      33 Clarendon Dock                Upper Newtownards Road
      Laganside                        BELFAST
      BELFAST                          BT4 3SB
      BT1 3BG

     Telephone: 0870 3518292           Telephone: (028)9052 4595
     Fax:       0870 3518293           Fax:       (028)9052 4431


3.   Details of the DARD Offices are as follows:

     Co Antrim                          Co Armagh

     Kilpatrick House                   2 Newry Road
     38/54 High Street                  Armagh
     Ballymena                          Co Armagh
     Co Antrim                          BT60 1EN
     BT43 6DT

     Tel: (028) 2566 2800               Tel: (028) 3751 5600
     Fax: (028) 2566 2838               Fax: (028) 3751 5611

     Co Down                            Co Fermanagh

     Rathkeltair House                  Inishkeen House
     Market Street                      Killyhevlin
     Downpatrick                        Enniskillen
     Co Down                            Co Fermanagh
     BT30 6LZ                           BT74 4EJ

     Tel: (028) 4461 2211               Tel: (028) 6632 5004
     Fax: (028) 4461 8226               Fax: (028) 6634 3000

     Co Derry/Londonderry               Co Tyrone

     Crown Buildings                    Sperrin House
     Artillery Road                     Sedan Avenue
     Coleraine                          Omagh
     Co. Derry/Londonderry              Co. Tyrone
     BT52 2AJ                           BT79 7AQ
     Tel: (028) 7034 1111               Tel: (028) 8225 1020
     Fax: (028) 7034 1140               Fax: (028) 8225 3500


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4.   If you require this leaflet in a different format please select one of
     the following communication options:

     Telephone: (028) 9052 5549 or for those with a hearing disability
                (028) 9052 4420.

     E-mail address: gspd.sfps@dardni.gov.uk

     Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
     Rural Payments and Inspection Division
     Room 560
     Dundonald House
     Upper Newtownards Road
     Belfast
     BT4 3SB




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