March issue of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds Programme Bulletin

Monday 4th of March 2019 11:44 AM

Welcome to the March issue of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds Programme Bulletin. This month, alongside the usual Programme updates, we include a summary of our communications partner survey results, word on an ESF project visit and a short feature on ERDF projects in the news.

Feature Articles

England ERDF and ESF 2014-2020 Programme Communications Survey 

The results of this survey, which was open from 8 January to 8 February and completed by 136 partners, are now in (a big thank you by the way to all who took the time to complete the questionnaire). The feedback is positive with an increase in approval and satisfaction ratings across almost all platforms.

The new look case study booklets, published late last year, have been particularly well received. Case studies were widely identified as a positive tool for promoting our programmes so we will continue to develop, share and publicise these. And this bulletin is seen by a growing vast majority to be a suitable and effective vehicle for sharing programme news and information. Here is a selection of some more key numbers:

  • 89% overall approval rating for programme bulletin (previously 83%)
  • 63% approval rating for website (previously 56%) including much improved perceptions of the funding finder
  • 91% found the 2018 Case Study Booklets useful, informative and helpful (previously 77%)
  • 68% of those who had seen our tweets found them useful and informative (previously 55%)
  • ERDF Twitter ambassador accounts have been well received with good retweet and overall engagement level

Our communications on social media continue to be well received but some further work is required to increase visibility and engagement with partner twitter and YouTube accounts at and

Our presence on GOV.UK enjoyed an improved set of numbers but does continue to divide opinion. We are aware that there can be issues in navigating around the site and finding the relevant pages. Elements of this are beyond our control but we will look again into what is possible though to make it as easy as possible to find the right pages / information.

We’re developing a list of actions against each of our communications products based on ratings, suggestions and observations put forward in the responses – we’ll report back over the coming months on our progress.

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service – ESF project visits

On Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 February the Head of the European Social Fund (ESF) Programme, Dr Catherine Blair, visited Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) ESF delivery sites in the North West. She spent time with the HMPPS Co-Financing Organisation (CFO) Staff and the Senior Management Team to find out about the diverse region with both large urban and rural areas, requiring different approaches to deliver effectively.

During a visit to the offices of Achieve North West Connect on Monday, Catherine heard about the range of ESF provision being delivered to support offenders with complex barriers into mainstream opportunities. Staff highlighted their specialist work, including female-specific provision at HMP Styal for women who have experienced trauma. She also heard about bicycle repair work delivered via the Margaret Carey Foundation, which offers opportunities for offenders with mental health needs to gain practical experience and skills. A trip to the Liverpool Probation Office in the afternoon also enabled Catherine to find out more from stakeholders, staff and project participants.

Tuesday brought a visit to HMP Risley, to see the prison education, workshops and other facilities for its 1000+ adult male prisoners. Meeting the Deputy Governor and Head of Resettlement was an opportunity for Catherine to hear about the current challenges involved in delivering services within a prison setting. HMPPS staff also shared details about some of the systems in place, including their Case Assessment and Tracking System (CATS+), during her afternoon visit to HMPPS CFO Headquarters at Daresbury Park.

HMPPS CFO staff enjoyed the opportunity to showcase some of the specialist delivery being provided in their area. Speaking about her two-day visit Catherine said:
“I met participants who were actively encouraging those around them to make use of the services of the CFO provision as they felt they had benefited from it so much. I met participants who described coming to see the provider in the community as something they actively looked forward to and participants with goals and optimism for the future, whatever lay behind them. Belief in the participants, advocacy, and never letting up has an impact on participants, and clearly shone through for me. Challenges undoubtedly remain, but lives are being transformed.”

Latest Programme News

ESF calls/programme update

Current ESF commitment as of 31 January was £1,665 million, 55.43% of the total ESF allocation. In Priority Axis 1 and 2 there are 180 Direct Bid projects with commitments totalling £419.5 million and 152 MOUs for the National Co-Financing Organisations valued at £1,223 million.

There are 39 ESF Funding Agreements for Technical Assistance with a value of £22.8 million.

There are 15 Outline Applications undergoing assessment with a total value of £9.1 million (PA1 £5.5 million, PA2 £3.6 million) and 69 Full Applications in appraisal, which total £146 million (PA1 £48.5 million, PA2 £97.5 million, PA3 £75,749).

The current forward call programme extends to the end of April 2019, with 41 calls listed, totalling £102.6 million. This comprises 7 PA1 calls (£31.9 million) and 24 PA2 calls (£70.7 million). We are working with the LEP ESIF committees to establish their plans for the remainder of the year and will publish a new call timetable for the period May to September in due course.

There are currently 19 live calls covering the following LEP areas: Black Country; Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; Greater Birmingham and Solihull; Hertfordshire; Leeds City Region; Liverpool City Region; New Anglia; South East; West of England; York North Yorkshire & East Riding and the Humber with closing dates ranging from 28 February to 27 May.

ERDF calls/programme update​

The ERDF Programme in England has a total value of £3,296 million. We have legally committed £1,607 million of ERDF across 629 projects. A further 556 applications worth a combined £1,046 million are currently under consideration (figures correct as of end of January 2019).

Further details of ERDF and ESF Programme activity can be found on our @esif1420england twitter account and on our other various twitter feeds
@growth_england   @GrowthNorthwest     @GMidlands @GrowthSoutheast   @growth_swest      @growth_neyh

EAFRD calls/programme update - RDPE Growth Programme

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

Following assessment by the RPA and local ESIF subcommittees, invitations to submit a full application were issued to 1,151 applicants for funding totalling £218m.
The announcement by HMT of the extension to 31st December 2020 for the commitment of funds to projects (from 31st March 2019) gives applicants invited to submit their Full Application more time to develop their proposals. The RPA has received 602 Full Applications requesting £113m. To date, 392 projects have secured grant funding worth £72m.

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 but we are encouraging 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 £24m has so far been paid to projects, creating 295 FTE jobs.

In addition, 18 contracts for funding totalling just over £73.5m have been awarded under the £75m 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:

Guidance Update

MHCLG Local Government Landing Page: Guidance from government to assist local authority preparedness for exiting the European Union including on ERDF

News of new ERDF guidance can be found in the latest ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin. Email to subscribe to this bulletin.

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

  • ESF E-Claims Process for Self-Declared Adjustments (SDAs) Applicant Guidance – published 5 February.
  • ESF Participant Data Schema – published 13 February.
  • ESF Claims Guidance for Co-Financing Organisations – published 14 February
  • ESF Claims Guidance for Grant Recipients – published 14 February

There have been no Actions Notes published since last month. 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.

Guidance on EAFRD can be found at:

ETC Funding Event on 6 March – Places Available 

A seminar has been organised for UK organisations interested in applying for funding from the 2 Seas Interreg programme – it takes place on Wednesday 6 March at the University of Greenwich in London. The event is related to funds available under call 8, which opened at the beginning of February and closes on the 8 April. Click here to see the call: The programme’s aim is to develop an innovative, knowledge and research-based, sustainable and inclusive 2 Seas area, where the natural resources are protected and the green economy is promoted.

Click here to access the event registration page: further information email

Click here for recently updated guidance relating to ETC funding if there’s no Brexit deal:

ERDF and ESF List of Beneficiaries

A new full list of ERDF and ESF projects funded under the 2014 to 2020 programmes was recently published on our pages on GOV.UK. The list is fully searchable by LEP area, project name, programme, recipient of funds, total project costs etc. Click here to access the Useful Resources page which is home to this ‘List of Beneficiaries’ (it’s the fourth document on this page):

LEP Network Enewsletter

The next issue of the LEP Network is due out soon - to subscribe to receive future editions click here:

Follow them on twitter @TheLEPNetwork

Our other bulletins

RDPE Network Newsletter

The next RDPE Network Newsletter is set to be circulated in the coming days. To subscribe to this newsletter click here:

ESF Project Bulletin

Have you signed up to the ESF Project Bulletin? If not you can sign up here:

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 next bulletin will be circulated in March.

ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin​

The new Practitioner Network Bulletin, including feedback on the latest ERDF Practitioner Network survey and details of an advanced engineering sector project event in the West Midlands, is set to be circulated to subscribers early next week. Aimed at partners delivering ERDF projects, the bulletin offers more detailed / technical information relating to the programme. Email to subscribe.

Contacts and useful resources​

Visit the Programme website pages at, Twitter at and YouTube at

To provide feedback on this bulletin email