BPS application focus: the move to online will make life easier for everyone
The move to online application systems that are better equipped to alert users to errors, better designed to avoid mistakes and overall better designed to make the application process easier has arrived.
The Department of Agriculture is leading the charge to attempt to get more and more farmers to apply online for the Basic Payment Scheme. On the face of it, the online application process has a significant number of benefits – preliminary checks on the application are possible, online application to other schemes and the ability to make changes to area claimed as you complete the application process to name but a few.
One of the big benefits of online application is the preliminary check option. Preliminary checks were made available to online BPS applicants for the first time in 2016 and offer farmers the chance to correct certain errors identified by the Department before any penalties are applied. In 2017, farmers will be able to avail of the opportunity to rectify any such non-compliance by the deadline of 19 June with no penalty applied where the non-compliance is fully rectified by that date.
For some, the move to an online application will be slower and more challenging, but already the clinics run by the Department of Agriculture have seen young and old come to query their application. At the clinics, Department staff will individually take farmers through the online application steps one by one.
Already I have reports of young farmers all the way up to farmers in their 80s coming to clinics and shown how to apply online. Last year, over 75% of all applications were online and this will increase even further this year.
In this special Focus, we take you through some of the benefits of the online application process and the necessary steps to make a BPS application process online. Peter Varley follows a virtual application process and step by step, or screenshot by screenshot, outlines what is necessary to make a successful application.