European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds Programme August Bulletin

Thursday 30th of August 2018 11:34 AM

Welcome to the August 2018 issue of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds Programme Bulletin. This month, alongside the usual Programme updates, we include word on the extension to the guarantee and Technical Notices on ESI Funds, FOREX news and a review of some of the latest project related films added to our dedicated YouTube channel.

Feature Article

Extended Guarantee

As featured in the July bulletin, the Government has announced an extension to the guarantee on ESI Funds which will apply in the event of a no deal. While this scenario remains unlikely, it is responsible to plan for all outcomes, and the extended guarantee means that we can continue to deliver with confidence, whatever the EU exit scenario.

Full text available by clicking here -

The Government is publishing a series of Technical Notices during August and September on how to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. These will include Technical Notices on EU-funded programmes, to explain how arrangements for partners will work in the event of a no-deal. The first of these, including one on Rural Development Programmes funded under EAFRD, were published on 23 August.

Full text available by clicking here --

Latest Programme News

ERDF calls/projects update

We have legally committed £1,407 million of ERDF across 548 projects, with a further £1,024 million of applications currently under consideration (figures correct as of end of June 2018). The next round of ERDF calls for projects are currently set to be published on the funding finder in early October, although some individual calls will be published before then. These include a national technical assistance call which has been published this week.

ESF calls/projects update

ESF commitment as of 31 July was £1.5 billion, 48% of the total ESF allocation. There are 151 Direct Bid projects with commitments totalling £347 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 9 Outline Applications undergoing assessment with a total value of £2.1 million (PA1 £180,000, PA2 £1.7 million and PA3 £239,000) and 80 Full Applications in appraisal, which total £164 million (PA1 £67 million, PA2 £97 million). 

There are currently 21 calls covering the following LEP Areas; Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Cheshire and Warrington, Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough, Heart of the South West, Leeds City Region, New Anglia, North Yorkshire East Riding and Humber, Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire, and South East Midlands, South West, and West of England, with closing dates ranging from the 30 August to 8 November 2018.
As noted in the last update, many LEPs withdrew their calls in the light of the ESFA Phase 2 announcement. A new timetable has been prepared, for the period August 2018 – April 2019. This contains 83 calls, totalling £166.5 million (ESF). However, some LEPs still have calls on hold for the moment and, even though new calls have been added to the timetable, it is likely that the number and value of calls will change further over the coming weeks, as these changes are being notified daily.
Further details of ERDF and ESF Programme activity can be found on our @esif1420england twitter account

EAFRD calls/programme update - RDPE Growth Programme

There was a good response to the Growth Programme offers under tourism infrastructure, food processing and business development which closed on 31 May 2018. In total, 1,864 Expressions of Interest (EOIs) worth £343 million were received.
The EOIs have now been assessed by the RPA and ESIF sub committees. For projects which have passed the EOI assessment, applicants have been sent letters inviting them to submit a full application. Applicants are being encouraged to submit their full application during the autumn.  The RPA has so far received 407 full applications requesting £80.9 million, and 202 projects have secured grant funding worth £36.6 million in total.
Overall, under the RDPE Growth Programme £13.5 million has been paid to projects, creating 158 FTE jobs.

Finally, the rural broadband offer to Local Authorities received 23 applications for funding totalling £86 million to support the provision of superfast broadband in rural areas. To date 8 projects have been contracted

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 on the link

Guidance Update

The following ESF documents have been updated and published to GOV.UK:

  • ESF Cross Cutting Themes guidance
  • ESF Document Retention guidance
  • ESF Scoring Framework

Action Notes issued are:

  • Action Note 025/18 Clarification of Public and Private Match Funding Categories
  • Action Note 026/18 Delegated Grant Schemes - Defrayal Clarification Note

If you would like to continue to receive the ESF Action Notes, please email your details to and include Action Note subscription in the subject heading.

Word on new ERDF guidance documents published can be found in the August issue of the ERDF Practitioner Bulletin, the link is here -

Guidance on EAFRD can be found by clicking on this link -

ERDF and ESF Programme 2018 targets: key deadlines

A quick reminder to colleagues regarding the importance of our 2018 ERDF and ESF Programme Targets. 

As we move further into 2018, our focus on claims submission and payment intensifies to support achievement of our 2018 spend and performance targets. Missing our annual N+3 spend targets will result in an immediate loss of ERDF / ESF and funding to spend on your growth priorities. Not meeting Performance Framework spend and output targets may result in reductions to priority axis allocations.

So it’s really important for claims to be submitted, checked, authorised and paid by early November 2018. Checks and authorisations can then be completed by managing and certifying authority teams before submitting payment applications to the European Commission to meet its fixed deadlines.

We know this will be extremely challenging  and we’ll work with you to maximise the amount of compliant, eligible spend defrayed and claimed in line with the Commission’s timetable.

This is wholly dependent 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.

Claims for quarter end June 2018 will be particularly important to determine progress towards the targets.

Given the tight timescales for the submission of the final 2018 payment application, your contract manager may be in touch with you to discuss the timing of your claims in the important run up to the target deadlines. This may mean looking to speed up claims processes with some applicants as early as August/September 2018 and/or timing additional claims so that we can maximise levels of compliant spend.

FOREX update

The sterling values of ERDF and ESF notional allocations are being uprated to reflect recent and forward sterling/euro exchange rates. The sterling value of revised ERDF and ESF notional allocations has been confirmed to local ESI funds committees in each LEP area. This uprating does not impact LEP areas’ performance framework targets as these are based on the euro value of the programme.

The sterling value of LEP area notional allocations will be kept under review by the ERDF and ESF Managing Authorities and adjusted as necessary to reflect future currency fluctuations and departmental responsibilities for managing programme budgets.

UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are currently running a series of discussion workshops across the country on the potential future UK Shared Prosperity Fund. If you would like further details please email

E-CLAIMS update

From the start of September all external applicants using E-CLAIMS will need to ensure that the following web browser requirements are in place to accommodate the security upgrade work which will support E-CLAIMS:

  • Chrome - v30+
  • Mozilla Firefox - v27 or ESR31.0
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer - v11
  • Microsoft Edge - Windows 10
  • Apple Safari - v7

If you anticipate any issues please flag with your contract manager in the first instance…..
Many more of you are now using E-CLAIMS to submit quarterly claims. Growth Delivery Team colleagues are continuing to work with ERDF applicant organisations and there are currently 87 ERDF applicant organisations using E-CLAIMS as external users. Most ESF grant recipients are already using E-CLAIMS.

Countryside Productivity

The Countryside Productivity scheme offers farmers and growers grants towards the costs of purchasing new technology, equipment and machinery to improve farm productivity. The last round of the Small Grant scheme proved extremely popular.  A second round of funding for the scheme is scheduled to open later in the year.

EAFRD Growth Programme Project Case Study; The Stables Mixed Use Development - Bay Tree Cottage, Farthingstone, Northamptonshire (grant amount £136,180; total cost: £340,450)
The aim of the project was to redevelop an existing stable yard with its outbuildings into a mixed use accommodation and workshop facility. The new development provided 3 separate units of additional self-catering accommodation.
The new studio has allowed the business to deliver a diverse range of art, craft, cookery and gardening workshops, supporting a wide range of local craftsmen and artists.
Project outcomes:

  • The current business can expand and respond to the growing demand for accommodation.
  • 2.5 FTE jobs have been created.

ESF Project Case Study

The Works Better project in the Leeds City region supports people to overcome barriers from entering the workforce by helping them become ‘work ready’. The project supports people of all ages, irrespective of their background and personal circumstances.

The project recognises that barriers to work will mean something different for everybody and could include, for example, childcare issues, low confidence or a lack of basic IT skills. To overcome these barriers, the Works Better team puts together uniquely tailored programmes to maximise the individual’s potential, combined with a referrals to specialist support agencies where required.

Participants benefit from the mentoring and support of a highly trained Transition Support Worker who works with the individual through the lifecycle of the programme. They identify barriers and advise on positive steps participants can take. Then participants will be provided with Works Better Employability Training including topics like:

  • Coping with Challenges;
  • Building Confidence; and
  • Financial Advice.

The final stage involves a programme of structured job matching, work experience and job application support to help participants progress into sustainable employment. Recruitment Support officials assist with on-line job searches, formatting of CVs and interview skills, allowing participants to develop their own Works Better Recruitment Kit.

The project will receive up to £2.88m of ESF funding and is delivered through a collaboration of six partners (Kirklees Council, Fusion Housing and Paddock Community Trust, Calderdale Council, Newground, Wakefield Council and Groundwork) across Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield.  The total number of participants that have signed up to the programme to date is 776 which is more than 15% above the project’s target.

ERDF and ESF YouTube Channel

Did you know that we have our very own YouTube channel for ERDF and ESF in England? We use it to host films about projects funded through our programmes and have recently added a few more, including one on the Graphene Institute in Manchester and the OnTrack Thurrock project.

We have also added a couple of films about the Noah, a puppet currently touring Europe to see how ESI Funds are being spent. He spent time in Liverpool, London and Hull during his recent England tour, sandwiched between trips to the Scottish Highlands and Belgium.

The link to our YouTube channel is here - - we will be adding more films in the coming weeks so take a look and save it to your favourites.

If you have an ERDF or ESF project film, please let us know and we can get it added to this dedicated channel.


Spotlight on your favourite project

We are looking to start producing this year’s ERDF case study booklet and we would love to feature your project.  Further details below – please help us to make this year’s booklet the best so far.

Our other bulletins

RDPE Network July Newsletter

The latest RDPE Network Newsletter was published in July - click on the link

To re-subscribe to receive future issues of the RDPE newsletter - click on the link

European Social Fund Project Bulletin

The latest edition of the ESF Project Bulletin was circulated in early August. The bulletin contained information on Claims, what to do in the event of a GDPR breach and how to enter the ESF Photo Competition 2018. You can view the latest bulletin here -

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. The link is here -

If you would like to sign up or to re-subscribe email

Contacts and useful resources

Visit the Programme website pages at

Category: Business Growth