During January, Defra and DAERA have worked with a broad range of industry partners to establish the challenges anticipated when the current three month easement on agri-food certification requirements ends; and the potential for digital solutions to be developed to help business address these challenges.
In response to this feedback, Defra has established the Digital Assistance Scheme (DAS). DAS aims to support the continued movement of agri-food goods and live animals from Great Britain to Northern Ireland by developing simplified, seamless, digital systems for the completion of the certification and verification processes required to move your goods.
Defra are now seeking traders of all kinds who move agri-food goods and live animals from Great Britain to Northern Ireland to participate in workshops to help design, develop and test these systems. Participation aims to ensure they meet the needs of industry. Defra aim to recognise your operating model, understand the issues you face, and use this as the building block for the digital systems they will be creating. Your active involvement will ensure these systems will work for business in the best possible way.
How you can take part
Defra will be running a series of online workshops in March, at which they will share the findings from their initial work. They will use the workshops to gather your feedback and will use this information to build into the design of DAS. The workshops will be held via zoom and they will use them to validate and prioritise requirements.
These revised requirements will inform thier work with technology partners to build the systems and tools to help you and your business.
The 90-minute workshops are open to any business which trades in agri-food goods and live animals from GB to NI.
About the workshops
Defra have identified five types of trader with whom they would like to work with to ensure the digital systems developed are suitable for the broadest range of businesses. Each workshop is for businesses of one type, and you can select the workshop that best matches your characteristics or the way you currently move your goods. The five types are characterised as:
Workshop 1: Requirements for Digital Assistance Scheme – Large companies
- This is for retailers or large companies who move goods using a depot-to-depot (or equivalent) model.
- Companies best suited to this workshop will have a complex supply chain that typically involves hundreds of suppliers.
- The volume of this trade will result in companies producing a high number of certificates to support these movements and often multiple loads per day.
- Companies are likely to use a mix of certificates due to the multiple product types involved in their loads.
Workshop 2: Requirements for Digital Assistance Scheme – Consolidation centres and Hubs
- This is for retailers who use consolidation centres and hubs to transport their suppliers’ goods.
- The volume of this trade results in companies producing a high number of certificates to support these movements (typically over 100 certificates per load and multiple loads per day).
- Each retailer controls the movement of the full truck load.
Workshop 3: Requirements for Digital Assistance Scheme – Sequential groupage/Hauliers
- This is for manufacturers/suppliers who own the goods and either control the transport or use a third-party logistics provider (haulier) to facilitate groupage in smaller volumes.
- The supplier may be sending a number of pallets, rather than a full truck load.
- This group also includes hauliers and other logistics companies which facilitate groupage.
Workshop 4: Requirements for Digital Assistance Scheme – Smaller companies
- This is for companies with a relatively simple supply chain and a small product range and typically trade in smaller volumes (including moving live animals).
- The type of trade involves a varied level and complexity of certificates depending on the type of goods being moved (such as composite goods)
Workshop 5: Requirements for Digital Assistance Scheme – Manufacturers consolidating by product
- This is for agri-food manufacturers who own the goods and either control the transport or use a haulier to facilitate movement of their goods, typically via groupage models.
- The complexity is typically driven by the variety of certificates in loads.
Who should join the workshops?
This will depend on the way your company is organised and the size of your operation, but Defra envisage these workshops will be best suited to people in your company who have a role such as Supply Chain Director/Manager, Export Manager or Dispatch Manager, or someone involved with the movement of your goods.
How to join the workshops
You can sign up to join a workshop using the links below. You can select the one workshop which best matches the way your business currently moves your goods from GB to NI, and Defra kindly ask that only one individual from your business registers to join.
Each of the workshops will be limited to a maximum of 85 attendees and places will be on first-come, first-served basis. The closing date to sign up is 26 February 2021.
To apply to join your chosen workshop, they will ask for some basic contact information about you and your business. You can read about what Defra do with this information here.
When will the workshops take place?
The workshops will take place via zoom and are as follows. Simply click on the workshop you’d like to attend to be taken to the registration page where you can complete your registration information.
- Workshop 1: Requirements for Digital Assistance Scheme – Large companies -Thursday, 11 March – 10-11.30am [Register here]
- Workshop 2: Requirements for Digital Assistance Scheme – Consolidation centres and Hubs – Friday, 12 March – 10-11.30am [Register here]
- Workshop 3: Requirements for Digital Assistance Scheme – Sequential groupage/ Hauliers – Monday, 15 March – 10-11.30am [Register here]
- Workshop 4: Requirements for Digital Assistance Scheme – Smaller companies – Tuesday, 16 March – 10-11.30am [Register here]
- Workshop 5: Requirements for Digital Assistance Scheme – Manufacturers consolidating by product – Wednesday, 17 March – 10-11.30am [Register here]
What if I can’t join the workshop I want?
If you are not able to join your chosen workshop because it is already full or because you are not available on the day of the workshop, Defra will be publishing recorded versions which you can view after the events.
Defra will contact you with details of where you can find the recorded workshops, along with how you can feedback your requirements shortly after each workshop. They may invite you to be involved with the further development of the solutions.
Why they need your support
DAS aims to deliver end-to-end digital solutions from the point at which initial product information is gathered to support the generation of certificates, through to the end of the process.
To ensure that DAS provides the best possible systems for traders, it is important that Defra understand the processes and requirements of a broad range of traders who move agri-food goods and live animals from GB to NI. The more detail and information they have about your needs, the better the solutions can fit your needs.
DAS is one part of the wider package of measures to support industry moving agri-food goods from GB-NI, along with: continued work to meet certification capacity needs; the Movement Assistance Scheme (MAS); work with the Northern Ireland Executive and HM Revenue & Customs on wider customs arrangements; and continued engagement with the European Commission on an approach to the end of the grace periods that aligns with business readiness.
Keeping you informed
Defra will keep you informed and up to date on developments around DAS and the other schemes that affect you as they make progress.
If you have any questions about the information in this document, please email Defra at DAS@defra.gov.uk.