Department spends €7.5m on IT software for schemes since 2014

In the period from 2014 to date a total of €7,540,383.30 has been spent in the development, maintenance and enhancement of the Department of Agriculture’s IT software for processing scheme claims, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said.

The money was spent on the Department’s Generic Claims Processing System (GCPS) software, he said in response to a parliamentary question from Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice this week.

“The GCPS system currently supports the various GLAS, TAMS II, Knowledge Transfer and Organic Farming Schemes in addition to the AEOS and TAMS I schemes under the previous Rural Development Plan.

“A specific figure is not assigned to any one particular scheme, which the software supports, as much of the functionality operates across schemes.”

Minister Creed said that in the context of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2015 – 2020 the Department has delivered over 20 new schemes that were supported by IT capability in the last two years.

“In the first two years of the current RDP my Department has already implemented substantially more RDP schemes than were implemented over the entire ten year lifetime of the previous RDP programme.”

This rate of delivery would not have been possible without the availability of high quality complex IT software systems to support the business units in operating these schemes.

“Since 2014 my Department has adopted a policy of implementing fully digital end-to-end support for all but the smallest of schemes.”

He said that the vast majority of the schemes mentioned in his response were delivered by enhancing the capability of its GCPS software, with support from its Geospatial Information System (GIS), Land Parcel Information System (LPIS) and Agriculture Field Inspection and Testing System (AFIT).

“This approach has been very successful in delivering schemes and was particularly effective in the implementation of the application submission process for GLAS where the Department used available datasets to identify the appropriate actions to be carried out on holdings.

“My Department has an excellent record in the delivery of high quality IT systems. In that respect my Department is ahead of the rest of our European partners.”

dept spend IT
* The GCPS system also provides support for other schemes such as TAMS, Knowledge Transfer and On-farm Investment Schemes

Meanwhile, in another parliamentary response to Fitzmaurice, the Minister said that within his Department there are 26 staff assigned to administering the operation of the GLAS scheme.

He added that their remit includes the processing of all GLAS applications and payments, all policy matters associated with the scheme and financial control and management of the scheme.

“In addition there are 30 inspectorate staff carrying out inspections for GLAS as part of their duties,” he said.

According to another response from the Minister on January 31, some 28,525 farmers had been paid their GLAS payments, totalling €101.4m.

“Payment runs will be made on an ongoing basis as applications successfully complete all required prepayment checks.”