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Developing The Digital Assistance Scheme

DAERA is seeking agri-food businesses to assist them with designing and developing the systems involved with the Digital Assistance Scheme. 

The December Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol Command Paper set out HM Government’s intention to work with industry to introduce new, end-to-end digital systems that enable streamlined movement of agri-food goods in accordance with the Protocol.

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.

DAERA 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.  DAERA aims to recognise your operating model, understand the issues you face, and use this as the building block for the digital systems we will be creating. Your active involvement will ensure these systems will work for business in the best possible way. 

How you can take part

DAERA will be running a series of online workshops in March, at which Defra 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 we will use them to validate and prioritise requirements. 

These revised requirements will inform our 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

DAERA have identified five types of trader with whom Defra 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.

Thursday, 11 March – 10-11.30am Register here

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.

Friday, 12 March – 10-11.30am Register here

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.

Monday, 15 March – 10-11.30am Register here

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)

Tuesday, 16 March – 10-11.30am Register here

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.

Wednesday, 17 March – 10-11.30am Register here

Who should join the workshops?

This will depend on the way your company is organised and the size of your operation, but we 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.

Keeping you informed

DAERA 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 DAS@defra.gov.uk.