AGRICULTURE Minister Edwin Poots has put measures in place to protect citizens and staff by reducing the public facing services offered by DAERA Direct Offices.
Effective immediately, customers are encouraged to conduct their business through DAERA Online services, which can be accessed from the DAERA website home page or, if appropriate, via the Cattle Registration Telephony line (0300 200 7855).
Documents can still be delivered to a DAREA Direct office and left in a designated post box at the entrance to the building.
Appointments should only be requested for complex queries that cannot be resolved by telephone.
Minister Poots said: “I have made this decision in the interests of protecting the health and well-being of our staff, customers and the general public and to facilitate the implementation of the latest advice from the UK Government on COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“We are in testing times, but I am focused on maintaining the safe delivery of essential services, and that means realigning how we interact with the public, finding new, pragmatic ways of working.
“I am asking for the public’s support and co-operation on this – please don’t visit a DAERA Direct Office if you don’t have to – call or email first.”
Digital Assistance appointments to assist with applications to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) or the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) should continue to be made through the SAF Advisory Service on 0300 200 7848.
All other appointments and general queries can be made directly with the local DAERA Direct office on 0300 200 7840.
Contact details for all DAERA Direct Offices can be found at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/daera-direct-offices
Further information on Covid-19, and any effect on wider Government services, can be found on nidirect at www.nidirect.gov.uk/coronavirus