The following elements of the Agricultural Development Scheme (ADS) may lead to appeals following decisions made by DEFA officers:
- Imposition of penalties following the late return of ADS application forms including declarations of eligible farmed areas
- Imposition of penalties due to making a false declaration on ADS application forms
- Outcome of cross compliance inspections and subsequent imposition of penalties
- Outcomes of applications to the national reserve
- Notification of land type following land classification
It should be noted that the appeal process cannot be used to appeal against:
- payment rates set for schemes
- decisions relating to schemes administered by other Departments/Services.
Purpose of appeals process
The process is designed to enable farmers, who feel that DEFA has made an incorrect decision in relation to a claim for payment under ADS, to have access to a fair and independent appeals procedure. The procedure includes reviewing decisions and checking that they were made objectively and in keeping with legislation.
The Committee dealing with appeals cannot:
- work outside of the law
- award compensation
- make arbitrary or subjective decisions
It is proposed that there will be 2 stages to the procedure:
Stage 1 - internal DEFA review
Staff not involved with the original application or notification decision will review the matter, checking the facts and compliance with the Scheme requirements.
Stage 2 - external review
If farmers are not satisfied with the outcome of the Stage 1 review, they can appeal to an Appeals Committee consisting of an industry representative, a DEFA representative who has not been involved in either the original decision or the Stage 1 appeal and a person selected for their independence and their professional knowledge of the subject area. A list of those willing to sit on the panel will be published together with a note of their area of expertise.
The Appeals Committee will submit a report plus recommendation to the Minister for DEFA. The Minister will make the final decision and can ask for further investigations to be carried out.
In order to ensure a consistent approach to all appeals, the Stage 2 Appeals Committee will produce a decision note on each case and this will be updated here.
Applicants can choose between a written and oral review
For the Stage 2 appeal, applicants can either apply in writing or ask to attend the Appeals Committee meeting when it attends to their case.
The appeal form and all other relevant paperwork will be considered by the Appeals Committee and a report plus recommendation sent to the Minister for DEFA. The applicant will receive all the paperwork to be considered by the Committee in advance of their meeting but will not attend it in person.
The applicant will receive all the paperwork to be considered by the Committee in advance of their meeting. They will attend part of the meeting and be able to present their case and respond to questions. Applicants can be accompanied and can appoint someone to represent them. Once the presentation and questions have been completed, the applicant will leave and the Appeals Committee panel will consider the matter.
There will be no charge for a Stage 1 appeal but a charge of £300 will be made for Stage 2 appeals. It will be refunded if the appeal is successful.
Submitting an appeal
With the exception of appeals made in relation to the classification of land, applications must be made within 60 days of the date of the decision letter in respect of a payment (not 60 days after subsequent contact with Departmental staff). Appeals in respect of land classification must be received within 30 days of receipt of a decision in respect of the classification (not 30 days after subsequent contact with Departmental staff).
Stage 1 and Stage 2 appeals forms for can be downloaded from this page or obtained from the Department.
It is important that the applicant provides full and relevant information to explain their grounds for appeal. Any supporting evidence should be attached and the form signed. Applicants will be advised to keep a copy for their records. Once received, appeals will be assigned a reference number and receipt acknowledged.
Stage 1 internal DEFA Appeal
The Appeals Office will compile details of the case, taking account of policy, scheme and agricultural matters. Staff not involved with the original decision will be asked to review the information and notify the applicant of their conclusion within 30 days of the appeal having been received in the Department. The decision will also be notified to the Agriculture Policy Manager so that any necessary actions can be completed.
Stage 2 Appeal
If applicants are not satisfied with the outcome of the Stage 1 appeal, they have 60 days (30 days for land classification) from the date of the Stage 1 decision letter to request a review by the Appeals Committee. A Stage 2 appeals form should be completed and will have been sent to applicants with their Stage 1 form. Receipt of completed forms will be acknowledged.
An appeal hearing will be arranged within 90 days. The Appeals Committee will be chaired by a non-DEFA member. Arrangements for a written or oral hearing are as described above.
The Committee's report and recommendations will be sent to the Minister for a final decision; they will have 28 days to make their decision. The Department will then provide written notification of the Minister's decision within 28 working days of the date of that decision being made. Where an appeal is particularly complex then a further period of consideration may be required, if this is required then the appellant will be notified in writing.
+44 1624 685844