Public Procurement and Property

Supplier opportunity – Provision of Digital Support Services for Rural Payments and Support

May 12, 2023 by No Comments | Category Prior Information Notice, Procurement news, Scottish Procurement, suppliers

The Scottish Government’s Directorate for Agriculture and the Rural Economy (ARE) promotes sustainable economic growth in agriculture, the food industry and in rural areas.

In order to deliver the vision for Scotland as a leader in sustainable and regenerative farming, ARE has published its Agricultural Reform Route Map. ARE has established a major Agriculture Reform Programme (ARP) to deliver the transformation via this Route Map, and digital enablement is at its heart.

ARE delivers a broad range of essential payments and support services to rural customers across Scotland. These are almost totally dependent on digital services and technologies to ensure that claims for payments and support under several schemes are delivered in a timely and accurate way. This ensures farmers, crofters and land managers across Scotland receive the payments which they are entitled to and, overall, The Scottish Government fulfils its legal obligations and delivers its policy intentions.

The main Rural Payments and Services (RP&S) Digital Platform is highly complex. It was specifically designed to apply the EU CAP regulations, often in great detail, based on a technical architecture that was defined in 2012. Other technologies and services that predate the main Platform are still a vital part of the overall solution, and there have been some newer services introduced that are based on the latest technologies and approaches available. At the heart of the platform is a sophisticated Land Parcel Information System (LPIS) that manages over 700,000 land parcels within 4 million hectares of land. It spatially manages 1.7 million internal features down to the size of about half a tennis court. The platform has to maintain the history of land and other changes for at least seven years and sometimes significantly longer (reflecting the timeframe of some of the schemes). This information is the basis for calculating a customer’s entitlement to support payments and some grants.

There is a triple imperative:

  • To modernise the complete technical architecture that underpins the service;
  • To change the existing support schemes and introduce new ones that will deliver the desired outcomes for agriculture, the environment, biodiversity and the rural economy.
  • To apply digital thinking and innovation to exploit technologies to create new customer-centred services. Thus responding to the universal desire to have more readily available and useable data about Scotland’s rural land use.

This has to be achieved without negatively impacting the current business. Using the payment platform Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID), from 18 offices throughout Scotland, processes payments of over 540 million GBP annually to customers, to the benefit of Scotland’s rural communities and the rural economy. The platform processes 41,800 claims per year for about 20,000 customers and has well over 99% availability to customers 24/7, 365 days a year. RPID is now making payments quicker than ever before.

The changed and new services that are introduced through the ARP need to be seamlessly transitioned into current live services during the course of the Programme through to 2027 and beyond. A robust regime is already in place that builds enhancement work into the Annual Business Cycle activity, as any changes made to RP&S requires extensive testing to ensure there is no adverse impact on the payments schedule or accuracy of payments.

The requirement is generally focused on the retiral, maintenance and enhancement of the current services, but also extending them to benefit from digital innovations. When new features are developed as part of the ARP or from other initiatives they will become “business as usual” and must be kept reliable and secure.

View the full Prior Information Notice (PIN) on Public Contracts Scotland

Within the PIN, users can ‘Record your interest’ to view further links and information in the ‘Additional Documents’ area:

  • Sustainable and Regenerative Farming – Next Steps
  • Agriculture Reform Route Map
  • Rural Payments & Services All Schemes

We plan to hold a Virtual Supplier Engagement Event on 30th May 2023 and any suppliers who are interested in the opportunity are invited to attend. To register for this event, please visit the PIN and click ‘Record your interest’ at the top of the page to access the event registration details.

Additional links for suppliers or organisations that would like to supply the public sector:

For further information on public procurement in Scotland please visit

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