The new Head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake, visited the Rural Payments Agency to find out more about the work they do and to talk face-to-face with staff from across the Agency.
On arrival, Sir Bob met with our Chief Executive, Mark Grimshaw, to discuss the recently published Five Year Plan and learn more about our efforts and successes in improving the Agency’s performance over the past twelve months. Mark shared our plans to create a more efficient and effective paying Agency, offering a fast, responsive and easy to access service to our customers. Sir Bob was impressed and heartened to hear of our aim to stabilise the Agency ready for the challenges ahead.
He toured North Gate House, pausing for two briefing sessions with the Inspectorate and Rural Land Registry teams. He was introduced to the work of the inspectorate, including how they inspect land to validate Single Payment Scheme claims, by Chris Prevett and Richard Pye. Sir Bob then learnt about the tools and processes used by the Rural Land Registry to map land parcels, and how the information is used as a
key anti-fraud mechanism, with Keith Tokeley and Rupert Waite.
Sir Bob said:
“It was fascinating to learn about all the good work that goes on ‘behind the scenes’ at RPA. From the individuals I met – and the teams I saw in action – I got a real sense of the passion and commitment they felt towards improving performance and striving for excellence in customer service.”
He said he was heartened to see that – in comparison to the negative coverage we used to receive in the past – the RPA now receives positive coverage, demonstrating that we are: “achieving better than ever results, and getting on top of a challenging problem.”
Sir Bob also took time out to meet with a group of RPA staff to find out more about the issues and concerns facing them as Civil Servants. He introduced his plans to promote a positive vision and future for the Civil Service, and answered a number of questions.
Mick Murphy from Human Resources attended the session, and said:
“I was impressed by his interest and knowledge in what we do. He showed a strong commitment to the importance of managing and developing people, and said that improving skills across the Civil Service was a key concern for him. It was great to see that even though he’s relatively new to the role, he’s already found time to get out of Whitehall and meet Civil Servants across the UK.”