Process of an Inspection
The RPA inspects a minimum of 3% of holdings covering 5% of sheep each year on behalf of Defra.
The first contact would usually be made over the telephone, although an inspector might make an unannounced visit. From the first contact, the inspection will need to go ahead within 48 hours.
It is not acceptable for a keeper to prolong an inspection without good reason. If a keeper delays and the inspector believes it to be unreasonable this is classed as an obstruction and a ‘Whole Flock/Herd Movement Restriction’ will be imposed and the keepers BPS payment will be withheld.
Obstruction can take a number of different forms:
- Not allowing an inspection to commence within 48 hours unless Exceptional Circumstances applies for example death of the keeper or a flash flood or heavy snow
- Continual delaying tactics or a succession of excuses
- Not gathering animals and or providing labour
- Not producing the required records
- Instructing an inspector to look at animals themselves
- Making themselves uncontactable
- Abusive, aggressive behaviour and verbal badgering
Please note: in all cases, the inspector will need to make two physical visits to the holding to meet statutory requirements before reporting it as obstruction.
The scope of the holding
It is the CPH that is selected for inspection, not the keeper although this is often the same. The inspector will start the inspection by identifying the scope of the business and the holding with the keeper. The inspector will establish if the keeper has:
- Sheep and/or goats under their keepership on the selected holding
- Any other sheep or goats on their holding but not under their keepership
- Whether the holding has been incorporated into another holding under the 10 mile rule – or if other holdings have been incorporated under the selected holding
- Common land that they use and if it is adjacent to the selected holding it is registered with Defra as linked?
- Practices for shearing, dipping, dosing, winter lets and summer grazing. This may identify ‘non-notified’ or unrecorded movements
- Whether they claim subsidies
The inspection will go ahead on the selected CPH and if the keeper has sheep or goats on common land then this will be included in the inspection.