Sunday, May 28, 2006

DEFRA Bureaucracy is Out of Control

If my parents' experience is anything to go by, it's not just the Home Office which is in administrative chaos. This week they received a letter from Defra's Rural Payments Agency (something which always strikes fear into the hearts of small farmers) informing them that a mistake had been made in calculating the area of two of their fields. The letter included an elaborate map together with the news of the miscalculation. It declared:

Old Field Area 3.58 hectares New Field Area 3.58 hectares
Old Field Area 1.09 hectares New Field Area 1.09 hectares

So that's clear then and well worth sending a letter out. This comes on top of another letter received a few weeks ago telling them that they would be receiving 80% of their Single Payment Scheme payment. And the next day they received one telling them they had sent it out. This is bureaucracy gone mad. No wonder the cost of government has doubled since 1997. DEFRA is completely out of control and is serving only the interests of the incompetents who work within in it. It is a self generating bureaucracy, which needs to be curbed. It is simply astonishing that there are more DEFRA civil servants regulators than there are farms in the country. If that doesn't tell you all you need to know, nothing will.

PS Brace yourself for a dramatic rise in Foreign Office cockups now Ma Beckett is in the hotseat. I wonder what she's doing this bank holiday. Parking her caravan on the front lawn at Chevening I should imagine!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine works for another off-shoot Agency of Defra - the Environment Agency. Last week they went on a "Circus-training" course! Officially something to do with helping the left and right hemispheres of the brain to communicate better...

Personally I think it was to enhance their clowning skills so as to improve communication with their political masters.

RM

Anonymous said...

I seem to remeber it being said that there are more NHS bureaucrats than beds in the NHS - though quite what was meant by 'NHS bureaucrat' is unbeknown to me.

Anonymous said...

So, Iain, do you think farmers should be getting these payments at all?

Anonymous said...

"which needs to be curbed"

I suppose that's a start, Mr Dale, but can't you just come right out with it and state clearly that DEFRA - like at least half of the Departments of State - needs simply to be closed down, with all the tax-eaters that they contain being issued with P45's.

Then we could make a start on cutting taxes at last.

Gavin Ayling said...

There's more than one per farm? Isn't that something we should be shouting from the roof tops? Statistics can be made to lie, but that sort of pure numbers fact is worth shouting about!

Andrew Woodman said...

Perhaps she's digesting my comments about her in the little red book.

The Gorse Fox said...

Err, so with approx. 7000 Civil Servants in Defra, you imply that there are less than 7000 farms in country... is that correct?

davidbkent said...

The SFP has been a total disaster, like everything involving the EU and Labour. The paperwork I hear is outrageous, and most payments are late.

Man in a shed said...

I wonder if our friends the management consultants are involved deeply in DEFRA ? Busy reading "Plundering the public sector" by David Craig right now, and I almost feel sorry for the civil service. And of course some what upset about where my taxes have gone.

barbara worth said...

Iain

I'm sorry about your parents, Welsh hill farmers etc, etc (well almost). However, I have clients who are getting hand-outs for unproductive land in the UK while leading the life of riley as tax exiles. Meanwhile the rest of us are running real businesses in the real world and paying UK tax to fund this nonsense.

Tom said...

SFP has apparently been paid on time everywhere DEFRA's writ does not run, which includes Wales and Scotland. From which one can conclude that it's not bureaucracy per se that's the problem, but the particular brand practiced by DEFRA.

man in a shed is rather percipient - in this case it was Accenture who put in the computer system, at twice the budget. It's been in Private Eye for months.

The Remittance Man said...

I'd just like to point out that the anonymous poster at the top of the page who signs himself RM is not The Remittance Man, a member of the Clan Remittance or an employee of Remittance Holdings or any of its subsidiaries.

Being the egomaniacal loon that he is The Remittance Man would never post anonymously.

I trust this clarifies any confusion.

RM

Ellee Seymour said...

I was told told by a Shadow Minister that Defra had all the dregs working in their department, that they had tried and failed to get jobs in other offices, then ended up in Defra as their last choice, hence the calibre of staff and these cock ups.

I'm not sure why that is, their remit is to important.

Geoff said...

Hectare? Is that one of those daft Eurothingies?

What can't anyone speak in English any more?

Gavin Ayling said...

Ellee, The government doesn't believe that DEFRA is important -- the country is their enemy.

Ellee Seymour said...

Have you heard about the farmer who was paid £21. million by Defra - he only wanted £35,000!