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06/22/2017 12:00:00 AM


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Agriculture Scheme Appeals

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Appeals

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Agriculture Schemes

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issues relating to

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Agriculture Scheme Appeals

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Agriculture Schemes\Appeals, issues relating to

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Senator


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Deputy Andrew Doyle

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Andrew Doyle

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Snippet Contents:

The delivery of the commitment under the Programme for Government is progressing. The Deputy will be aware that the commitment is to review the Agriculture Appeals Act 2001 “to ensure the independence and efficiency of the Office in dealing with appeals from farmers”.
The appeals process is governed by the Agriculture Appeals Act 2001 and Agriculture Appeals Regulations 2002. There are distinct and specific statutory functions assigned to the officials delivering the appeals service which require the appeals officers and the director under law to be independent in the performance of their functions when making determinations on appeals made by affected persons against decisions taken by the Department. The legislation also requires appeals officers to have regard to the principles of natural justice and to comply with the terms and conditions and EU regulations applying to the Department schemes. I am advised by the director of agriculture appeals that appeals officers are fully aware of their legal obligations. 
The agriculture appeals service is implemented through a separate executive office with its own premises and staff which operates independently of the Department. The functioning of the office is overseen by the director of agriculture appeals.
In regard to the outcome of appeals, in 2016 the outcome of all cases closed in that year was that 45% of cases were disallowed and 41% allowed, partially allowed or revised by the Department, the balance being withdrawn or invalid.
As an initial step in the review, the director of agriculture appeals has completed an assessment of the existing appeals service arrangements with a view to identifying any matters that might be given consideration when a formal review of the operations of her office commences.
The next step will be to establish a steering committee to oversee the delivery of the commitment. The committee will include independent experts.  The committee will consider the issues identified by the director and any other relevant matters and will also receive input from the management services division of my Department, which provides analysis and advice on organisational development, business process improvement, resource deployment and change management. It is anticipated that the committee will also invite stakeholder input to the process.  
I am informed that the review will be completed by the end of this year.