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This note explains why we need to visit you, what we will do at the visit, and how you can help to make the visit run smoothly.
Why we need to visit you
Under European Union ( EU) regulations, we, the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department ( SEERAD), must carry out a number of inspections each year to confirm that conditions are being met in return for payments made under the various schemes we manage. During these inspections, we will check that:
- the details given in declarations and claims for payments are correct; and
- current legal and administrative rules are being met.
We must also carry out inspections to make sure that you meet the EU identification and traceability regulations.
Most inspections will be unannounced. In other cases we may give some notice, but not usually more than 48 hours. Often, one officer will carry out the inspection but colleagues or auditors (or both) may accompany them.
What we will do
Inspecting officers will inspect your holding or holdings, including, where appropriate, land, crops and livestock. They will also look at your records to check the details of claims and applications. If you are the registered keeper of livestock, they will check that you have met the identification and traceability regulations.
After arriving at your farm, the inspecting officer will explain:
- the purpose of the visit;
- the reason for the inspection;
- how the inspection will be carried out;
- what they will need from you; and
- how long the inspection will take (although this may depend on the findings of the inspection).
The officer will check that the areas do not include land that is not eligible for the scheme. This will involve measuring fields and excluding areas such as roads or ponds. Officers will need to see the documents that support your land claims, for example, rental agreements for seasonal grazing.
Livestock identification inspections
We carry out Cattle Identification Inspections ( CIIs) under EU legislation to make sure you are considering animal disease control and public health. The keeper of the animals is responsible for doing this and the inspection will be carried out at the individual holding.
Officers will check the animals and their documents (passports and herd records) to confirm that the information on the Cattle Traceability System ( CTS) is correct and the regulations are being followed.
Sheep and goats
Officers will check animals, records and identification. They will also check that batch movements have been reported correctly to the Scottish Animal Movement Unit.
Officers will check animals and that identification and movements have been reported correctly.
Cross Compliance inspections
The inspecting officer will confirm that Statutory Management Requirements ( SMRs) and Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions ( GAEC) are being met through:
- visually assessing the land;
- physically checking animals; and
- examining records where appropriate.
If you have a SNH management agreement for a Special Protection Area ( SPA) or Special Area of Conservation ( SAC), Scottish Natural Heritage ( SNH) will visit your premises to make sure you are following the management agreement and the Birds and Habitats Directives ( SMRs 1 and 5).
If you are authorised to get rid of sheep dip or apply pesticide washings to land, or you have an agreement to apply sewage sludge, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency ( SEPA) will visit your premises to make sure you are following the Groundwater Regulations and Sewage Sludge Regulations ( SMRs 2 and 3).
In some situations inspections by SNH and SEPA will be carried out with our staff.
Scottish Rural Development Plan including Agri-Environment Schemes, Land Management Contract Menu Scheme and the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme ( LFASS)
The inspection for these schemes will check:
- land and livestock in line with the details above;
- good farming practice;
- general environmental conditions; and
- LFASS environmental controls.
When we have completed the inspection, we will give you a summary of our findings and, where possible, explain any problems found. We will also give you the opportunity to provide written comments on the inspection report form.
When inspecting officers enter and leave your holding or holdings, they will take appropriate measures to reduce the risk of spreading disease.
How you can help
You can help us by:
- filling in your claims and declarations accurately;
- keeping copies of your claims and declarations so you can refer to them;
- making sure that your records and documents are up to date and close at hand; and
- accompanying the inspecting officer during the inspection, if at all possible.
For livestock inspections, you can help by:
- making sure that there is a registered keeper for the livestock;
- being prepared to present the animals and making sure the facilities for handling livestock are suitable and well maintained (this will reduce any risk to people handling the stock, the livestock and the inspecting officers);
- keeping up-to-date, accurate records and identification documents; and
- for cattle, using CTS Online for registrations and checking the information held on CTS if possible, and checking and amending your BCMS statement to correct any mistakes on CTS.
Appeals against decisions
If you are not satisfied with our decision or explanation, please ask us for a fuller explanation. If you are still not satisfied with the explanation, you should firstly ask a senior officer in your local office to review your case. After that, you may apply to have the decision reviewed under the Agricultural Subsidy Scheme Appeals procedure, within 60 calendar days of the date of our decision letter. You can get an information leaflet and application form from the Appeals Secretariat (phone 0131 244 6578).
Please note that the appeals procedure described above does not handle complaints about the Agriculture Business Development Scheme or the Farm Business Development Scheme. If you have a complaint about either of these, please contact your local SEERAD office first.
Complaints about the standard of service
If you have a complaint about the standard of service you received, you should discuss the matter with the manager of the team you have been dealing with. This is likely to be either your SEERAD area office or a policy branch in Edinburgh. If you are not satisfied with this explanation, you may write formally to our central complaints team at:
SEERAD Central Complaints TeamRoom 028
47 Robb's Loan
You can find full information on the complaints procedure in our information leaflet, CF1 2004. You can get a copy from your SEERAD area office, from the complaints team or from our website at www.scotland.gov.uk .