New chief executive named for the troubled Rural Payments Agency

THE troubled agency in charge of arranging Single Farm Payments to farmers has a new chief executive, it was announced this week.

Mark Grimshaw, formerly managing director of the Child Support Agency, has been appointed as the chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency.

His appointment follows the departure of former boss Tony Cooper after another damning report was published regarding the agency's failings. Since then Richard Judge has been in temporary charge.

After Mr Cooper's resignation, farming minister Jim Paice promised to appoint a strong successor to drive through reform at the RPA after years of delayed and inaccurate payments. Mr Paice said: "We deliberately took the time to find and recruit the right person to drive the RPA forward and deliver the change I know its customers want.

"I would like to thank Richard Judge for his willingness to take on the interim management while we were looking for a new chief executive. The clear focus he has brought to delivering SPS payments in early December and driving forward the agency's priorities have kept the agency focused on delivering services to its customers."

Mr Grimshaw said he was keen to "set about transforming the RPA into a modern, customer focused organisation". "I am also very enthusiastic about spending time with RPA people to understand their current issues and concerns", he said.

Mr Grimshaw brings with him an extensive track record in improving performance and customer focus in the private and public sector – having received widespread praise for his work in improving performance at the Child Support Agency.

CW 18/12/10