‘Digital by default’ agricultural payments halted: Farmers start smirking

Back with pen and paper then


On Friday its was revealed that the new "digital by default" payments system for Common Agricultural Payments has been put on ice, with farmers having to go back to a paper-based system.

Sources have told The Register that the system costs could have now escalated to £177m, with that figure likely to increase further.

The Government Digital Service (the Cabinet Office unit tasked with transforming the provision of government digital services) head Mike Bracken has long championed the new agile, digital approach by the Rural Payments Agency toward the system, and has worked "closely" with the department to deliver it.

Mike Bracken (having just returned from visiting the project in Reading) said in a GDS video update back in 2013:

I go weekly now. I go to the meeting of the Common Agricultural Policy Reform Group. It's the Rural Payments Agency. Why I'm so excited about that is because they've [sic] embraced agile completely. They're [sic] going with an agile build out of a whole new programme.

That's going to affect everyone in this country, and how they deal with land management, all the farmers, all the people who deal with crops, all the data.

It's going to create, I think, a data industry around some of that data. It's going to help us deal with Europe in a different way, and quite rightly we're building it as a platform. It's going to be another example of government as a platform.

I'm on the Board, and I'm trying to help them [sic] every week, and GDS will be working very closely with them [sic] to deliver that.

In a blog in December, Bracken also said "the old way of processing rural payments was largely paper based” and "we’re building services, not websites; I’m excited to see rural payments show the results of making things as simple as possible for users".

Unfortunately, it appears farmers have been less than happy with the "digital by default" approach for ages.

Tenant Farmers Association chief executive George Dunn told the Farmers' Guardian: "The TFA has always been opposed to the 'digital-by-default' dogma expressed by [the department for Environment and Rural Affairs]."

He continued: "Over the past two years we have had a string of correspondence with Defra underlining the need for paper-based applications to be allowed at least for the first year of the new [Basic Payments System]."

Well, at least with the new paper system they are responding to user needs. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Robotics and 5G to spur growth of SoC industry – report
    Big OEMs hogging production and COVID causing supply issues

    The system-on-chip (SoC) side of the semiconductor industry is poised for growth between now and 2026, when it's predicted to be worth $6.85 billion, according to an analyst's report. 

    Chances are good that there's an SoC-powered device within arm's reach of you: the tiny integrated circuits contain everything needed for a basic computer, leading to their proliferation in mobile, IoT and smart devices. 

    The report predicting the growth comes from advisory biz Technavio, which looked at a long list of companies in the SoC market. Vendors it analyzed include Apple, Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, TSMC, Toshiba, and more. The company predicts that much of the growth between now and 2026 will stem primarily from robotics and 5G. 

    Continue reading
  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022