ESIF Growth Programme Bulletin April 2019

Thursday 11th of April 2019 11:20 AM

Welcome to the April issue of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds Programme Bulletin. This month, alongside the usual Programme updates, we include an ESI Funds / EU exit update, an ESF update on E-CLAIMS and word on some recently published ERDF calls.

Latest Programme News

ESI Funds and EU Exit

Leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government's top priority. The Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by the Government means that the ESI Funds will continue to support our growth plans until the programmes end. So that you can continue to invest with confidence and certainty, the Government has guaranteed that if we leave the EU without a deal, we will continue to fund all ESI Funds projects that would have been funded by the EU under the 2014-2020 programme period. The recently updated Technical Notices provide further information on how this would affect you if you already get funding from an ESI Fund or want to apply for funding.

ERDF calls/programme update

The ERDF Programme in England has a total value of £3,296 million. We have legally committed £1,656 million of ERDF across 649 projects. A further 525 applications worth a combined £1,038 million are currently under consideration (figures correct as of end of February 2019).

Two Sustainable Urban Development (SUD) and 8 Intermediate Body (IB) calls, covering various north of England LEP areas, were published on the funding finder earlier this week.

Further details of ERDF and ESF Programme activity can be found on our @esif1420england twitter account.

ESF calls/programme update

Current ESF commitment as of 28 February 2019 was £1,716 million, 56.6% of the total ESF allocation.

In Priority Axis 1 and 2 there are 189 Direct Bid projects with commitments totalling £425.9 million and 160 MOUs for the National Co-Financing Organisations valued at £1,267 million.

There are 40 ESF Funding Agreements for Technical Assistance with a value of £23.4 million.

There are 25 Outline Applications undergoing assessment with a total value of £12.1 million (PA1 £6.5 million and PA2 £5.6 million,) and 66 Full Applications in appraisal, which total £144.4 million (PA1 £48.5 million, PA2 £95.8 million, PA3 £75,749).

We have 11 calls listed to be published in April, totalling £40.8 million. This comprises 3 PA1 calls (£11.2 million) and 8 PA2 calls (£29.6 million).  Managing Authority (MA) LEP Leads are fully engaged with local areas to determine how best they can utilise their remaining notional allocations and the extent to which they can confidently commit funds.

The Call timetable from May onwards will prioritise participant sub-groups that are under- performing nationally and LEP areas with low commitment levels. It is critical that opportunities to commit ESF funding are maximised. From 29 April in order for calls to be published, they must have been endorsed by the local ESIF sub-committee and submitted for Managing Authority moderation through the MA LEP Lead at least two weeks before the date they are due to be published.  Failure to meet this deadline means that the call slot will be forfeited and the call will be added to the waiting list.

There are currently 26 ESF live calls on Funding Finder on GOV.UK.

EAFRD calls/programme update - RDPE Growth Programme​

The RDPE Growth Programme closed to new Expressions of Interest on 31 May 2018 for the tourism infrastructure, food processing and business development offers in 36 LEP areas.

Following assessment by the RPA and local ESIF sub-committees, invitations to submit a full application were issued to 1,124 applicants for funding totalling £213 million.
The announcement by HMT of the extension to 31 December 2020 for the commitment of funds to projects (from 31 March 2019) gives applicants invited to submit their Full Application more time to develop their proposals. The RPA has received 643 Full Applications requesting £119 million. To date, 416 projects have secured grant funding worth £78 million.

A range of workshops has been arranged across the country to help applicants understand what is required in a Full Application. Workshops are scheduled to run into July 2019 and we are asking applicants to submit their full application as soon as possible. A YouTube video, has been uploaded giving an overview of what is required in a Full Application for those that cannot attend a workshop.

Overall, under the RDPE Growth Programme £26 million has so far been paid to projects and 333 FTE jobs have been created. The current forecast for jobs from projects contracted is 3,226 which is progressing well against our December 2020 target of 4,075.

In addition, 18 contracts for funding totalling just over £73.5 million have been awarded under the £75 million Rural Broadband Infrastructure offer.

To access the funding finder tool, where all calls can be searched/filtered by name, status (open/closed), type (priority area), location and
funding source, click here at https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds

Guidance Update

MHCLG Local Government Landing Page: Guidance from government to assist local authority preparedness for exiting the European Union including on ERDF and ETC
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-government-brexit-preparedness#erdf.

News of new ERDF guidance can be found in the latest ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin – email esif@communities.gov.uk to subscribe to this bulletin.

For ESF the following documents have been added or updated on GOV.UK:

  • Participant Data Schema (now version 9) – published 5 April 2019
  • Participant Data Schema guidance (now version 5) – published 5 April 2019
  • Participant Data Schema Aggregation (added) – published 5 April 2019
  • Participant Data Schema Output Results (added) – published 5 April 2019
  • ESF Scoring Framework – published 26/03/2019
  • The ESF Dual Forecast and Submission form 2019 – published 25 February
  • The Co-Financing Application Form, the Co-Financing Application Form Guidance have been updated to ODT form – published 26 February
  • The ESF Financial Tables Annex – published 26 February
  • ESF Indicator Annex table for London –  published 26 February
  • French language Case Studies uploaded for ESF 2018 – published 26 February
  • ESF Annex IP2.2 and the ESF Financial Viability and Risk Assessment applicant template - published 21 February.

The following Action Notes have been published since the last issue of the Programme Bulletin: 
033/19 New ECLAIMS Online Digital Service for ESF – published 28 March 2019
032/19 ESF Scoring Framework – published 26 March 2019
031/19 ESF and the Apprenticeship Levy: Match Evidence Requirements – published 5 March 2019
030/19 Action Note - ESF Dual Forecast and Submission Form 2019 – published 25 February 2019
If you would like to receive the ESF Action Notes, please email your details to ESF.2014-2020@dwp.gov.uk and include Action Note subscription in the subject heading.

Guidance on EAFRD can be found here at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rdpe-growth-programme

Interruption of the payment deadline from the European Commission to the ESF Managing Authority

In January 2019 the Commission notified the MA that, following a systems audit visit in 2017, it has interrupted the payment deadline for the England ESF Programme. We are currently working to address the Commission’s concerns and recommendations; and are confident that we can demonstrate that our systems are compliant with the EU Regulations. We take the opportunity to reassure grant recipients that this process does not impact on claims and payments made by the MA to ESF grant recipients.

ESF E-CLAIMS Online Digital Service - calls, Applications and Appraisals​

The ESF MA is moving to an online Calls, Applications and Appraisal process, using E-CLAIMS from the outset. This will replace current electronic, email-based application and appraisal processes; and supports the work we have been doing to streamline the appraisal process following feedback from ESF sub-committees, Applicants and MA staff.

We anticipate that following the launch, calls will be published as ‘online application’ only calls. More details about the online service and the timing of the launch will follow in the weeks ahead. The timing will be subject to the progress and completion of the necessary implementation activities.

Change of email address for ESF Managing Authority​

From 28 March 2019 ESF Managing Authority email domain addresses changed from @dwp.gsi.gov.uk to @dwp.gov.uk. Any messages sent to ESF.2014-2020@dwp.gsi.gov.uk email address will now receive an automated email response, asking you to use the new address ESF.2014-2020@dwp.gov.uk. Similarly, emails to ESF Managing Authority personnel need to use the revised email domain name. 

Audit Requirements

Following a number of enquiries, MAs confirm that Projects should continue to expect and support Article 125 and Article 127 activity. Grant recipients should abide by the full terms of their funding agreement.

LEP Network Bulletin

The next issue of the LEP Network is due out in soon - to subscribe to receive future editions click here at https://mailchi.mp/lepnetwork.net/newsletter

Click to see the March issue of the newsletter here at: https://mailchi.mp/lepnetwork.net/the-lep-network-april-newsletter-47617...

Follow them on twitter @TheLEPNetwork

Our other bulletins

ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin

The new Practitioner Network Bulletin, including a spotlight on ‘undertakings in difficulty’ was circulated to subscribers earlier this week. Aimed at partners delivering ERDF projects, the bulletin offers more detailed / technical information relating to the programme. Email esif@communities.gov.uk to subscribe.

ESF Project Bulletin​

The ESF Project Bulletin is aimed at partners delivering ESF projects to keep you up-to-date with the latest news and developments in the programme, and help you deliver your project in line with requirements. The March Bulletin was circulated recently and contains some best practice for projects relating to claims. You can view March’s bulletin here: https://mailchi.mp/79b28dfd2072/march-esf-project-bulletin
Have you signed up to the ESF Project Bulletin? If not you can sign up here: https://www.us12.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ba754411e79454f9f24ffb076&i...

RDPE Network Newsletter​

The next RDPE Network Newsletter is set to be circulated soon. To subscribe to this newsletter click here: https://defra.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=9e97eb45b7e61822414056309&...

Contacts and useful resources

Visit the Programme website pages at www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

To provide feedback on this bulletin email esif@communities.gov.uk