§ Mrs. Ann Winterton
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the efficiency and promptness of the tasks carried out by the Rural Payments Agency; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Morley
Following the launch of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) as an Executive Agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 16 October 2001, the House was informed of the Agency's Performance Targets on 17 October 2001,Official Report, column 1247W. These cover a range of targets that reflect the efficiency and promptness of tasks undertaken by RPA. Copies of its Framework Document, Corporate Plan and Business Plan were placed in the Library of the House on 15 November 2001.
An ownership board was appointed, chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Department. Other members include three independents and representatives of the devolved Administrations.
Within the objective of providing strategic direction and oversight to RPA, one of the four primary roles of the ownership board is to monitor regularly on behalf of the Secretary of State, the devolved Administrations and Competent Authority the performance of RPA against its targets.