Welcome to the September 2018 issue of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds Programme Bulletin. This month, alongside the usual Programme updates, we include news of the Technical Notices on ESI Funds and word on a new dedicated E-CLAIMS support function.
Understanding Technical Notices
The Government has published a series of technical notices that outline the preparations in place to minimise disruption in the unlikely event of not agreeing a deal with the EU and ensure a smooth and orderly exit from the European Union (EU).
We are confident of securing a good deal with the EU, but as a responsible government we are preparing for all scenarios. The publication of technical notices is part of this planned approach.
The technical notices for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the EU Rural Development Programmes and the European Territorial Cooperation Programmes (ETC) are UK-wide and provide an overview of the Government’s plans for guaranteeing funding to projects in a no-deal scenario.
A negotiated exit from the EU - the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU published in March 2018 would mean the UK would continue to participate in EU funding programmes until they end in 2023, subject to a final negotiated agreement.
Organisations should continue delivering projects that have been agreed and applying for funding under current arrangements with confidence that the funding guarantee applies even if there is no negotiated agreement between the UK and the EU.
We continue to make good progress towards this year’s important ESI Fund spend and output targets. Delivering at pace and submitting claims accurately and promptly helps to maximise the funding available to support your growth priorities.
After 29 March 2019 if there is no deal - to provide stability for UK organisations that benefit from EU funding and to provide certainty for organisations who wish to apply for funding, the Government has guaranteed all ERDF, ESF and EU Rural Development projects that would have been funded by the EU for the full 2014-20 programme period.
There may be further updates to the technical notice once more information becomes available. If you have any enquiries about the ERDF or ESF technical notice, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) update
In order to comply with GDPR regulations we had to request that all contacts on ESIF related bulletin databases re-subscribe by 23 May. Whilst a high number did re-subscribe, numbers on these lists have dropped as a result of this action. Therefore, if this bulletin hasn’t been sent directly to you or if you know of a colleague or contact who hasn’t received this issue and would like to then you / they can re-subscribe by emailing email@example.com.
There have been a number of changes to our documentation to ensure compliance with the GDPR. If you have any queries/issues in relation to GDPR please e-mail us via the address above.
Latest Programme News
ERDF calls/projects update
We have legally committed £1,488 million of ERDF across 564 projects, with a further £835 million of applications currently under consideration (figures correct as of end of August 2018).
The next round of ERDF calls for projects are currently set to be published on the funding finder in early October - keep an eye on our Twitter feeds for further details.
ESF calls/projects update
Current ESF commitment as of 17 September 2018 was £1.5 billion, 48% of the total ESF allocation.
In Priority Axis 1 and 2 there are 157 Direct Bid projects with commitments totalling £361.5 million and 151 MOUs for the National Co-Financing Organisations valued at £1.1 billion.
There are 39 ESF Funding Agreements for Technical Assistance with a value of £20.9 million.
There are 7 Outline Applications undergoing assessment with a total value of £12.1 million (PA1 £10.8 million, PA2 £900,000 and PA3 £417,000) and 56 Full Applications in appraisal, which total £246 million (PA1 £101 million, PA2 £144 million, PA3 £126,000).
There are currently 11 calls covering the following LEP Areas; Cheshire & Warrington; Cornwall and Isles of Scilly; Cumbria; Greater Birmingham and Solihull; Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough; Leicester & Leicestershire; New Anglia; and South West; with closing dates ranging from the 4 October to 10 December.
A calls timetable covering the period from late August 2018 – April 2019 contains 85 calls, totalling £168.4 million (ESF). The Managing Authority is working with LEP areas to ensure where possible flexibility to respond to emerging or changing needs for support or any other factors which might impact on the timetable.
Further details of ERDF and ESF Programme activity can be found on our @esif1420england twitter account
EAFRD calls/programme update - RDPE Growth Programme
Following the assessment of over 1,860 expressions of interest by the RPA and local ESIF sub-committees, invitations to submit full applications have been issued for funding totalling £245 million to 1,361 applicants.
Applicants are being encouraged to submit their full application during the autumn, and so far the RPA has received 419 full applications requesting £85.2 million. To date, 215 projects have secured grant funding worth £38.1 million.
Overall, under the RDPE Growth Programme £13.6 million has been paid to projects, creating 203 FTE jobs.
Finally, 8 projects worth £47.43 million have been contracted under the rural broadband offer to Local Authorities, with a further 13 projects to a value of £36.59 million in appraisal.
Further details of Growth Programme activity can be found on the RPA Twitter account @Ruralpay and the National Rural Network Twitter account @RDPENetwork. The RPA can be contacted on 0300 0200 301 for more details about the scheme.
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
There have been no Guidance or ESF Action Notes issued since the last edition. If you would like to receive the ESF Action Notes, please email your details to ESF.firstname.lastname@example.org and include ‘Action Note subscription’ in the subject heading.
Word on new ERDF guidance documents published can be found in the September issue of the ERDF Practitioner Bulletin
Guidance on EAFRD can be found by clicking here at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rdpe-growth-programme
ERDF and ESF Programme 2018 targets: key deadlines
A quick reminder to colleagues regarding the importance of our 2018 ERDF and ESF Programme Targets
We’re continuing to place strong emphasis on achieving our 2018 spend and performance targets. Colleagues will be aware that failure to achieve the annual N+3 spend targets will result in any ERDF/ ESF shortfall being lost. Not meeting Performance Framework spend and output targets will result in 6% of funding in poor performing priority axes being moved to better performing priority axes.
Colleagues are reminded that in order to conduct the required checks/authorisations at both managing and certifying authority level before submitting payment applications to the European Commission to meet its fixed deadlines – the majority of project claims must be submitted, checked, authorised and paid by early November 2018.
Managing Authority teams are continuing to work very closely with ERDF/ESF grant recipients to maximise the amount of compliant, eligible spend defrayed and claimed in line with the Commission’s timetable. Achieving this relies on:
- The submission of complete and accurate claims and supporting evidence;
- Timely response to requests for evidence to enable desk based checks to be conducted (including spend outputs and procurement);
- Timely response to any queries/adjustments required;
- Prompt submission of required procurement evidence.
The ESF Managing Authority is prioritising the work needed to maximise the amount of expenditure we claim back from the Commission and asks for Grant Recipients please to ensure where possible that any outstanding claims are submitted and that any requests for additional information are responded to swiftly.
Your contract manager will stay in touch with you to make sure that we maximise all potential spend and claims.
ESF FOREX update
The ESF Managing Authority wrote to local ESI Fund Chairs on 14 September with details of the provisional uprated revised ESF notional allocations for their area. This follows a letter sent to ESI Fund Chairs in August notifying them of the uprate of the exchange rate for ESF purposes to €1 = £0.87. The September letter explained that the figures provided are provisional as they may be subject to change pending approval of our revised Operational Programme (OP) by the EC. Finalised revised notional allocations will be confirmed to ESI Fund Chairs at that point. The ESF Managing Authority will work with LEP areas to ensure that spending plans are developed in line with the adoption of the revised OP which is expected in the autumn.
The sterling value of LEP area notional allocations will be kept under review by the ESF Managing Authority and adjusted as necessary to reflect future currency fluctuations and departmental responsibilities for managing programme budgets.
111 ERDF Grant Recipients are using E-CLAIMS which represents a total of 225 Projects; our contract managers continue to work to bring our remaining applicants onto E-CLAIMS to manage the claims process on-line.
On the 28 September a new E-CLAIMS support function will be implemented. For ESF, this will provide direct access for both internal and external users to a dedicated E-CLAIMS IT support team to assist them with any queries that they may have. For ERDF applicants the first point of contact will continue to be your GDT contract manager.
From the 28 September 2018 for ESF, all E-CLAIMS related queries must be routed via the E-CLAIMS Helpdesk, details of how this can be done has been issued prior to go-live.
This support function will replace the current process of contacting the internal ESF IT/MI team for technical support/queries.
ESF Project Case Study
The Carers Trust - Working for Carers – London
This project works with 24 partners across London to move unpaid carers and ex-carers over 25 closer to employment. One-to-one advice and support is provided to prepare carers for employment, volunteering and training opportunities. This includes CV and interview technique training, help with job searching, group activities and training workshops to build employability skills.
The project has engaged with more carers and ex-carers than expected. At the end of June 2018, 489 carers from across 32 London Boroughs had registered with the project. At that point 68 carers had gained employment, 19 had moved into education or had started a training course (not funded by the project) and over 60% of registered participants had been supported with job-searching (within the project).
The Carers Trust works to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. The Working for Carers project is an innovative partnership funded by Building Better Opportunities via European Social Fund and the Big Lottery.
Read more about the work and achievements of The Carers Trust - Working for Carers project at https://carers.org/workingforcarers
ERDF Projects in the news
The £5 million Hambleton District Council sport village project has been awarded £643,118 ERDF, meaning work can now begin on bringing the land into informal recreational use.
The Cumbria Innovations Platform, delivered by Lancaster University and part funded by ERDF, is supporting the growth of innovative SMEs in Cumbria. These include family-run glamping pod specialists Pennine Pods.
Interreg 2 Seas Programme call 7 open
Call 7 is currently open for The Interreg 2 Seas Programme with a deadline for initial submissions of 21 December 2018. A workshop is being delivered for any interested UK organisations on 23 October in London – click here to visit the website or contact Shula Roberts on email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org or Paula MacLachlan email@example.com for further details.
Our other bulletins
RDPE Network July Newsletter
The latest RDPE Network Newsletter was published in July – click here to read at https://mailchi.mp/54ad7271f72b/rdpe-network-newsletter-july-2018?e=daf8....
To re-subscribe to receive future issues of the RDPE newsletter click here at https://defra.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=9e97eb45b7e61822414056309&...
ESF Project Bulletin
Have you signed up to the ESF Project Bulletin? If not you can sign up here at https://www.us12.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ba754411e79454f9f24ffb076&i...
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.
ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin
The latest ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin, including ERDF project case studies and news on a change to email addresses at MHCLG, was circulated to subscribers earlier this month. Aimed at partners delivering ERDF projects, the bulletin offers more detailed / technical information relating to the programme.
If you would like to sign up or to re-subscribe email firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading ‘Subscribe to ERDF Practitioner Bulletin’