Welcome to the January issue of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds Programme Bulletin

Thursday 31st of January 2019 03:21 PM

This month, alongside the usual Programme updates, we include links to our partner surveys and case studies from our programmes.

Feature Article

England ESIF 2014-2020 Programme Communications Survey
A survey about all of our communications is currently open. We would be very grateful if you took the time to complete this survey to ensure that we provide effective and timely communications to our partners - it will help us take forward our 2019 communications activities throughout the year.
 
The survey is available here: https://www.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=38c419b74d4bb7775b5dcb565&...

Latest Programme News

ERDF calls/programme update

We have legally committed £1,559 million of ERDF across 606 projects, with a further £1,151 million of applications currently under consideration (figures correct as of end of December 2018).

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

ESF calls/programme update

2019 promises to be another busy year for all involved in managing and delivering the England European Social Fund programme. Whilst some projects will be in their latter stages, others will be just starting or mid-way through the delivery of their local activities. All will be focusing on changing the lives of individuals and the communities they live in for the better.  

We start the new year with the good news that following a significant collaborative effort by all parties, the ESF Certifying Authority has claimed the amount of funding needed to meet the ESF spend target for 2018 (sometimes referred to as “N+3”). Thank you to every ESF grant recipient and partner who has contributed towards this achievement by submitting claims/supporting evidence and responding promptly to requests for clarification in recent months. As a result, the target was exceeded, a considerable number of claims were cleared and there has been no loss of funds to the programme.

The flexibility, patience and support of local area partners during this time of claims prioritisation has been appreciated. We are pleased to have resumed a business as usual operation: actively working with local partners on local priorities and the progression and publishing of call templates; and looking more closely at plans to commit ESF funds in 2019 and beyond.
 
Achieving the N+3 target provides confidence for the on-going delivery of the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI). Last year, in an Action Note issued on 31 May, we stated that YEI can continue to be spent beyond 2018 and up to the end of 2023 providing the Programme meets its N+3 targets from 2018 onwards. We are writing to YEI Grant Recipients confirming the 2019 position for their projects.
 
We are now increasing our focus on the Performance Framework targets. The financial aspect of the Performance Framework target is set to be met in the Transition and More Developed Categories of Region (CoR). The MA anticipates a large number of ESF Co-Financing Organisation claims being received for Quarter 4 2018; based on the forecast for those claims we are confident of this target being achieved in these two CoRs. On that basis we anticipate that LEP areas in the Transition and More Developed CoRs can continue to develop Call proposals for the whole of their notional allocations.
 
In the Less Developed region for PA1 we are currently forecasting 61% achievement of finances and 78% of outputs. We are actively working with Grant Recipients in these areas and prioritising claims. We will know the definite position when the Quarter 4 claims are all received by the end of February. If necessary, we will be negotiating with the Commission to seek to transfer a PA1 underspend to PA2.
 
Current ESF commitment as of 31 December was £1,630 million, 54.25% of the total ESF allocation. In Priority Axis 1 and 2 there are 177 Direct Bid projects with commitments totalling £418.9 million and 152 MOUs for the National Co-Financing Organisations valued at £1,200 million.
 
There are 39 ESF Funding Agreements for Technical Assistance with a value of £23.1 million.
 
There are 33 Outline Applications undergoing assessment with a total value of £35.3 million (PA1 £12.833 million, PA2 £21.468 million, PA3 £189,169) and 67 Full Applications in appraisal, which total £144 million (PA1 £48.513 million, PA2 £95.559 million, PA3 £75,749). As of 31 December, the current forward call programme extends to April 2019, with 37 calls listed, totalling £74.3 million. This comprises 12 PA 1 calls (£22.7 million) and 25 PA 2 calls (51.6 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 from April to September shortly.

There are currently 13 live calls covering the following LEP Areas; Cornwall and Isles of Scilly; Coventry and Warwickshire; Hertfordshire; Leeds City Region; Liverpool City Region; New Anglia; York, North Yorkshire & East Riding; and South West; with closing dates ranging from the 11 February to 22 April.

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 subcommittees, invitations to submit a full application were issued to 1,199 applicants for funding totalling £224 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 Full Application more time to develop their applications. The RPA has received 574 full applications requesting £108 million. To date, 361 projects have secured grant funding worth £74 million.
 
A range of workshops have been arranged across the country to help applicants understand what is required in a Full Application. Workshops are scheduled into early 2019. 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 £20.9 million has been paid to projects, creating 272 FTE jobs.

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: https://www.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=38c419b74d4bb7775b5dcb565&...

Guidance Update ​

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

There are have been no ESF Guidance updates or Actions Notes published since the December issue of the Programme Bulletin.

The following documents have been published to GOV.UK this month

  • ERDF and ESF List of Beneficiaries
  • ESF Annual Implementation Report 2017

If you would like to continue to receive the ESF Action Notes, please email your details to ESF.2014-2020@dwp.gsi.gov.uk and include Action Note subscription in the subject heading.
 

News of new ERDF guidance can be found in the latest ERDF Practitioner Network Bulletin - https://mailchi.mp/e6ac856effe3/erdf-practitioner-network-bulletin-1-nov...

Guidance on EAFRD can be found here at: https://www.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=38c419b74d4bb7775b5dcb565&...

E-CLAIMS update

All current ERDF projects in a position to submit claims are using E-CLAIMS - this comprises 183 ERDF Grant Recipients with a further 12 currently going through the training process. Our contract managers will continue to bring new applicants onto E-CLAIMS through the normal course of business.

For ESF, all E-CLAIMS related queries must be routed via the E-CLAIMS Helpdesk - details of how this can be done have been issued. This support function will replaces the process of contacting the internal ESF IT/MI team for technical support/queries. For ERDF applicants the first point of contact will continue to be your GDT contract manager.

ESF Case Study Booklet

In November 2018 the ESF Case Study Booklet was published - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-structural-and-inves...

The booklet gives a snapshot of ESF projects from across England, and one of these projects is Industry Educator in Greater Lincolnshire who are taking an innovative approach to improving the labour market relevance of training systems.

Through the project local ‘industry experts’ are recruited to an accredited 4-day intensive ‘train to teach’ course. This course equips business people to deliver masterclasses to students at local Further Education (FE) and independent training provider (ITP) courses, to improve their labour-market relevance. Over 200 participating Greater Lincolnshire employers have signed up to be part of the programme. Some are offering industry visits to FE and ITP staff to update their knowledge, and others support with activities such as curriculum development.
 

ERDF project case study

Export for Growth is one of 58 ERDF projects featured in our ‘Supporting Local Growth 2018’ booklet, published in November. All 38 LEP areas are included – click here to see the booklet: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-structural-and-inves...

LEP Network Enewsletter

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

Follow them on twitter @TheLEPNetwork