Welcome to the December 2017 edition of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds Programme Bulletin.
This month, alongside the usual updates from across our Programmes, we highlight recently published funding opportunities under the RDPE and ERDF growth programmes and more news from Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) ESF Co-financing Organisation’s recent mid programme event in Manchester.
First and foremost, we wanted to say a big thank you. Delivering European Programmes in 2017 has, once again, thrown up a range of new and ongoing challenges. The fact that, against this backdrop, so much has still been achieved is testimony to the skill and dedication among partners, managing authorities and wider stakeholders.
Some of these notable achievements are highlighted in the call and project updates below.
RDPE Growth Programme
The additional £45 million funding, announced by Ministers in July, to top up existing Growth Programme business development, food processing and tourism infrastructure offers, opened for applications on 30 November. This brings the total amount of funding now available to £165 million. Taken with the previous offers in 2015 and the separate £30 million Rural Broadband Infrastructure offer, opened on 3 October, this means that all funding currently allocated to the RDPE Growth Programme has now been made available for projects.
New ERDF calls published on GOV.UK
66 new ERDF calls were launched recently on the funding finder tool on GOV.UK. The majority of these calls close on 26 January.
Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) ESF CFO – mid-programme event in Manchester
On the 23 October Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) Co-financing Organisation (CFO) hosted their ESF mid-programme Celebration Event, which highlighted the work of the CFO programme across England and celebrated the achievements of Providers and Sub-Contractors, delivering the CFO3 programme. Find out more about the winners on the HMPPS website.
Latest Programme News
The EU Council agreed sufficient progress has been made in EU exit negotiations. This is on the basis of a joint UK EU report on phase 1 of the negotiations.
The full report is published on GOV.UK.
ERDF Calls/Projects Update
There are currently 85 open project calls on the funding finder, including the 66 published the week before last. The majority are set to close on 26 January with just a few closing earlier in January and others closing in February, March and, in one case, June. These will be followed by more calls in March and further calls that will be confirmed during 2018.
We have legally committed £1,246 million of ERDF across 470 projects, with a further £759 million of applications currently under consideration (figures correct as of end of October 2017).
ESF Calls/Projects Update
Current ESF commitment is £1,400 million, 47% of the total allocation, an increase of 2.55% since the last Growth Programme Board (GPB).
New Funding Agreements issued to direct bid organisations has offset the reduction in ESFA commitment resulting from the Project Change Requests (PCRs) reported at the last GPB.
There are 162 Direct Bid Funding Agreements totalling £355 million and 146 CFO MOUs valued at £1,045 million. ESF Funding Agreements for Technical Assistance are valued at £21.6 million.
Aside from the three calls closing on 20 December, there are 8 live calls totalling approximately £15.9 million (£7.6 million in PA1 and £8.3 million in PA2) covering the following LEP areas: Sheffield City Region; Leicester and Leicestershire and Solent. Closing dates range from 10 January 2018 to 16 February 2018.
RDPE Calls/Programme update
In response to the offers opened in January 2017, 588 Expressions of Interest have so far been received, worth £118 million in total. Of these, 422 have been invited to submit a Full Application for grant funding worth £75 million. As of 1 November 114 projects have submitted Full Applications, and of these 21 have been offered grant support worth £4.2 million for food processing and business development activity.
In addition, the total amount of EAFRD funding committed under the 2015 offers stands at £10.05 million. Claims worth £3.91 million have been paid by 1 November, with 19 projects completing all activity. Fifty jobs have been created by these projects.
The RPA offers advice and support on every stage of the application process through regular workshops which are available in every region. The details of these workshops can be found by emailing GPEnquiries@rpa.gsi.gov.uk.
The handbooks and guidance available on GOV.UK have been updated with the revised budgets under each offer.
Further details of Growth Programme activity can be found on the RPA Twitter account @Ruralpay and the National Rural Network Twitter account @RDPENetwork.
There have been no published changes to ESF guidance this month.
Guidance updates related to ERDF can be found within the latest Practitioner Network bulletin. The most recent issue was published earlier this week.
The ESF National Co-Financing Organisations are all now using E-CLAIMS to submit claims to the Managing Authority. Additionally a test group of 20 Direct Bid organisations have used E-CLAIMS to successfully submit their claims for Quarter 3 2017. Our experience with the test groups has been very positive, meaning we will be extending the roll-out of the service, to additional ESF organisations, for Quarter 4 2017 claims. ESF Contract Managers have been in touch with organisations throughout December with further information.
For ERDF a small group of applicants are now confidently using the system to make claims. We are looking to bring on a further group of 23 applicants, with our contract managers already engaging with those applicants to support the process.
European Social Fund Project Bulletin
Have you signed up to the ESF Project bulletin? This monthly communication is aimed at ESF projects and aims to inform and support project delivery. To sign up to the bulletin and to request previous issues addressing topics like ECLAIMS, publicity, social media and project evaluations please send an email to ESF.email@example.com.
ERDF Practitioner Network bulletin
The latest ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin was circulated to subscribers on 18 December and featured a look back at 2017, including Financial Instruments. Aimed at partners delivering ERDF projects, the bulletin offers more detailed/technical information relating to the programme and is currently circulated to a database of just over 700 subscribers.
If you would like to sign up please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Network Newsletter
The RDPE Network Newsletter contains information on what’s new in the programme and what’s happening on rural development across Europe. Click here to see the November issue which includes features on the new funding available under the Countryside Productivity scheme and an extension to the deadline for the Growth Programme calls.
Short update on ESF 60th anniversary events
2017 has marked the 60th anniversary of the European Social Fund (ESF). In the past 60 years, through thousands of projects carried out across Europe, ESF has helped millions of Europeans find a job, gain a qualification or certificate and increase their skills levels.
Annual Information Activity results/feedback
Last month ERDF and ESF programmes delivered their annual information activity, which included two project case study booklets entitled ‘Supporting Local Growth’ – click here to see the booklets. The supporting promotional campaign led to 1,779 visits to the dedicated case study booklet page on GOV.UK in November and just under 1,200 downloads of the booklets. On social media, supporting promotions around the case study books, including featured projects, funding opportunities and associated films on YouTube, led to a doubling of the monthly tweet impression level and a 300% increase in profile visits.
Contacts and useful resources
Visit the Programme website pages at www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding
Follow Programme developments on Twitter @esif1420england
Take a look at our YouTube channel
To subscribe to the ESF Project Bulletin email ESF.2014-2020@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK
To subscribe to the ERDF Practitioners Network or subscribe and provide feedback on this bulletin email email@example.com
To subscribe to the RDPE Network Newsletter email RDPENetwork@defra.gsi.gov.uk