The problems at the Rural Payments Agency have been well documented over the past year or so. Magaret Beckett's, and her successor David Miliband at DEFRA have presided over a complete mess which is no secret, and has had a devastating effect on many parts of the farming community.
Still, even though the agency's utter incompetence has been known about for ages, and the talk of the farming industry, it is interesting the levels of bonuses that it paid to it's staff during the past few years.
In 2004-05 the total bonuses paid out to staff at the Agency were £323,567, the following year it was £249,025 and last year it was £243,072. The highest bonuses in two of those years were pushing up to £20,000 and last year the highest bonus was £10,000.
To be fair the bonuses are coming down, which, one could argue is precisely because of the problems. However, given the sheer scale of the mess in payments from the Agency (and remember it's primary purpose is payments) should there even be bonuses being paid out at all? I imagine those who found themselves on their needs because of the Agency's incompetence will think not.