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Department wins Civil Service Digital Excellence Award for delivery of BPS System

The 2016 Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards are held each year to publicly recognise excellence and innovation across the Civil Service and showcase best practice in Civil Service organisations. The awards were presented at a ceremony in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin on Tuesday, 6th December.

The Basic Payment Scheme of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine was announced as the overall winner in this category at Tuesday night’s ceremony and the award was presented by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD, and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, T.D.

Minister Creed said; “The Basic Payment Scheme is one of the most important applications a farmer will make in their working year. I am delighted my Department’s innovation has been recognised as we introduce a system which makes ease of application for farmers and improves efficiency at the core of the project”.

The project set about delivering a highly sophisticated digital service to farmers and their agents. It aimed to simplify the process of making applications for the new Basic Payment Scheme and also sought to significantly increase the number of online applications.  For farmers with complex Greening obligations, individualised information was provided to assist with crop planning. Satellite imagery, EPA and OSI boundary datasets to map hedges, drains and watercourse buffer strips were made available to farmers. The system prompted farmers with details on what specific changes were needed to achieve compliance. Enhanced payment validation processes were also introduced to improve efficiency. 

The end result was the successful delivery of a massive change programme required to implement the new Basic Payment Scheme. Among other things, this led to record increases in online uptake, and the provision of feature rich systems to assist farmers with their Greening obligations - ultimately leading to the distribution of over €1.3 billion in EU funding to 130,000 Irish farmers. This left Ireland in the position of being one of the first countries in Europe to have achieved this in 2015.

Commenting on the awards, the Secretary General of the Department Aidan O’Driscoll said “these awards are a true recognition of the excellent standards of public service delivery which the Department strives to achieve”.

The Department continued to deliver system improvements in 2016 with the introduction of Preliminary Checks; providing farmers with early notification of errors on claims and allowing them to correct potential over claims and dual claims before penalties were applied.  2016 also saw the Department adding ISO27001 accreditation to its list of achievements in the process.

To view this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 181/2016 (pdf 367Kb) 

Added 07.12.16

At the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, The Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards, Great Hall, Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Left to right:

Robert Watt, Secretary General, DPER, Cormac Fitzpatrick, Sean Keevey, Director of IT, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Carmel Tobin, Marc Harrington, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Pascal Donohoe T.D.

Date Released: 07 December 2016

Distribution channels: Agriculture, Farming & Forestry