Key documents

The main documents which support applicants to make good quality applications to the ESF programme can be found below. 

The ESF Operational Programme 2014-2020 is the main document for setting out the strategy and priorities for use of the fund to support sustainable and inclusive growth across England. It also contains high level information on how the fund will be delivered, managed and evaluated.

The D2N2 ESIF Strategy outlines the LEP’s approach to the distribution of €250m of European Social and Investment Funds (ESIF) for the 2014-2020 programme.  Published in 2016.

The D2N2 ESIF Community Programme ReportOutlines our commitment to ensure that ESIF investment across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire meets the needs of local communities as well as the economic needs of the wider area.  Published in 2015. 

D2N2 Social Inclusion Framework D2N2 LEP working with key partners have developed a social inclusion framework and strategy for the D2N2 area. This framework will shape the priorities for ESIF for social inclusion activity across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.  Published in 2014.

East Midlands Inclusion Framework - Inclusion Matters: From Rhetoric to Reality
Commissioned by One East Midlands (, this document is a summary of research findings and a longer report developed by One East Midlands to build on previous work of the East Midlands as a leader in social inclusion policy. It is intended to build on the experience, knowledge and perspectives in the region and sector and expressed in several key strategic documents to form a Framework usable by all sectors to work against exclusion and poverty.  The full EMIF document includes fuller discussion of these issues and other aspects, such as Leadership, Commissioning & Investment, and Delivery. It also has much more on data and methodology, case studies and a bibliography.  Published in 2018.

Health and Wellbeing Pilot Scoping Report D2N2 commissioned consultation and research to inform the forthcoming D2N2 Health and Wellbeing Programme European Social Fund (ESF) call, as part of the ESF Technical Assistance Programme. This was in recognition of the considerable potential of the Health and Wellbeing (HWB) sector to realise growth and provide employment.  Published in 2017.

D2N2 ESF Review 2017 D2N2 appointed Chimera Consulting to review and provide insight into the effectiveness and strategic alignment of the D2N2 ESF Programme, highlighting opportunities for further improvement to inform future D2N2 strategy and commissioning.

Chimera was tasked to consult on the usefulness of the pre-events to potential bidders and support given at the pre-bidding and commissioning stage; to gather opinion on gaps, strengths and weaknesses in current provision; to gain an understanding of what aspects are working well and what would benefit from improvements - to help inform future commissioning; and get a sense of the appetite for (and availability of) match funding.

D2N2 Skills, Employment and Social Inclusion Guide (published 2015) To achieve the ambitions of Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is putting in place the infrastructure and conditions to support business and employment growth This will include a fit-for-purpose skills and training system which:

  • Ensures our young people are properly prepared for work.
  • Enables employers to access the skilled workers they need.
  • Supports people, including the most disadvantaged, to develop the skills and
  • employability needed to gain, retain and enhance employment and earnings.

State of the Nation: Social Mobility in Great Britain (published November 2017)
This report assesses the progress that Great Britain has made towards improving social mobility.  It puts the social mobility index at the heart of the report and ranks all English local authorities into hotspots and coldspots, using a range of 16 indicators for every life stage from the early years through to working lives.  It finds that there is a stark social mobility geographical divide within our nation.

Evaluation of the Building Better Opportunities funded projects
Big Lottery Fund has matched funds from the European Social Fund 2014-2020 to invest in local projects tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.  The projects range from those improving employability for the most disadvantaged, helping those with multiple and complex needs, to improving financial literacy.  Three Building Better Opportunities projects have been funded in D2N2 and these are the year one and year two evaluations of the projects:
Year one - Towards Work, Opportunity & Change, Money Sorted
Year two - Towards Work, Opportunity & Change, Money Sorted
Year three - Towards Work, Opportunity & Change, Money Sorted

Applying to the European Social Fund

A number of useful resources to support applications to the ESF are available on the GOV.UK website. We suggest that you refer to the following as you plan your application.  Please note that resources are updated periodically so we recommend you search for the latest version on GOV.UK at the time of application.

Programme Guidance

DWP have published a guide on common errors seen in ESF applications, gathered by the ESF appraisal team (published 2019).

Programme guidance is available on the GOV.UK website.  Please note that guidance is updated periodically so we recommend you search for the latest version on GOV.UK.

  • Application forms
  • Eligibility rules
  • Selection criteria for the ERDF and ESF programmes
  • Scoring framework for the ESF
  • Outcomes and results
  • Procurement Law
  • State Aid Law
  • Branding and Publicity Requirements
  • Output Indicator Definitions
  • Example funding agreements
  • Action notes - updates that grant recipients are required to action

The GOV.UK ESIF useful resources webpage provides links to a list of ESIF beneficiaries, publicity materials, regulations and a glossary for organisations running European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund projects.

  • European logos, press notices and poster templates
  • Glossary for 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds
  • Guide to ERDF and ESF 2014 to 2020 programmes in England
  • ERDF and ESF list of beneficiaries
  • List of ESF projects supported by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS)
  • List of ESF projects support by Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)

Please check the GOV.UK website regularly to ensure you are accessing the most up to date guidance documentation.

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