The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is responsible for the conservation of natural habitats and species and the protection of biological diversity in Ireland. Within NPWS, the Agri-Ecology Unit oversees the implementation of the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme, which was launched in 2006. http://www.npws.ie/farmerslandowners/schemes/farmplanscheme/
The objective of the farm plans is to enhance the ecological requirements of habitats and species listed under the Habitats and Species Directive. The work of the Agri-Ecology team includes planner training, drawing up of farm plans by the planner, processing annual compliance reports in relation to the activities outlined in the farm plan, making annual payments to farmers and planners and carrying out farm plan audits.
Farm Plan audits are an important component of any agri-environmental scheme. They are essential to ensure adequate plan quality, compliance control and value for money.
The successful tenderer(s) will be required to audit and process associated paperwork (sample audit report presented below) for five NPWS Farm Plans as indicated in Table 1.
TABLE 1. Farm Plan Audits 2017
Type of Plan County
3 X Geese/Swan plans Wexford
1 X Goose/Swan plan Westmeath
1 X Esker grazing plan Offaly
The audits are to be undertaken in the month of October 2017, with conclusions and reports issued to NPWS by 10 November 2017.
Payments will be dependent on satisfactory progress on these deliverables:
• Inspect eligibility of farm participant and lands included in farm plan
• Inspect habitat mapping and description
• Provide description of farm enterprise
• Assess adequacy of planned actions
• Inspect compliance of participant with planned actions
• Assess accuracy of previous annual compliance reports
• Specify other issues arising
• Provide specific recommendations to NPWS pertaining to the individual plans.
• Provide report on above points