Agriculture - national test programme: partial business and regulatory impact assessment

A partial business and regulatory impact assessment, considering the impact of the national test programme.

Implementation and delivery plan

For Track One, the full guidance was launched in late April 2022, with the claim facility window to be launched in late May/early June 2022. Access to the first phase of cattle performance data was made available in May 2022.

For Track Two, the intention is that the implementation will be split into two distinct phases:

Phase One launched in July 2022, and is comprised of:

  • Recruitment of the participants, based on a robust methodology, with clear information provided about what will be expected of them.
  • Gathering and analysing information from the cohort to understand their current state, in order to inform the actions supported in phase 2. This is in the form of a web-based questionnaire asking about their experience, motivations, barriers, data gathered etc. of both the various audits/plans and then secondly of the actions that farmers have taken on farm to improve their environmental sustainability (either flowing from the audits/reports or independent of those).
  • Payment of participant for their time participating in this work and gathering and providing information.

Phase Two will run from Autumn 2022 onwards (dependent on the completion of Phase One), and will ask farmers and crofters to undertake specific actions and provide data and feedback. This is expected to involve:

  • Identification of a list of actions and how they are to be applied across the sample (i.e. do they apply to all participants, sectoral approaches etc).
  • Provision of guidance, farmer agreement to undertaking the actions (they will have the choice to continue into Phase 2).
  • Farmers will then undertake actions, receiving appropriate advisory support.
  • Farmers provide data and feedback for analysis.
  • Payment made to farmers for actions and time incurred for feedback.
  • Analysis of the actions, impact and informing future conditionality.

Post-implementation review

The purpose of the National Test Programme is to begin to encourage baselining of environmental metrics by farmers, crofters and land managers, and to use the learning obtained from this to feed into the development of the longer term future rural support framework. The Programme therefore represents short-term transitory support, rather than a long-term policy change, and so there are no plans for a review as such. There will however be continuous monitoring and evaluation throughout the Programme, and in particular the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework that is being developed for Track Two will provide a mechanism for future engagement with businesses about the outcomes and impacts of this Programme, and the products of which can then be considered as part of the development of the longer term future framework.



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