ESF specific questions


28. Are there any plans for an ESF briefing session?
ESF is primarily accessed via open and competitive processes run by Opt-in organisations that provide match funding (Skills Funding Agency, Department for Work and Pensions, Big Lottery Fund). We intend to host joint briefing events with the Opt-in partners when we have greater clarity regarding the Operational Programmes and the procurement processes.


29. How can ESF providers prepare themselves for upcoming tendering rounds?
ESF providers are encouraged to enlist onto the Skills Funding Agency’s (SFA) Register of Training Organisations. Organisations that are eligible for funding from the SFA are listed on the Register. These organisations can be invited to compete in tenders by the SFA, but appearing on the register does not guarantee a contract. Any organisation wishing to provide education and training services on behalf of the SFA are required to apply to enter the register. Further information about the register can be found here.


30. What contracting geographies will be used for ESF?
The LEP is committed to ensuring that contracts are let at the geographical level that allows the most effective delivery.


31.What groups will the ESF programme target?
The ESF programme is currently being developed; progress to date has established that it will be split into 3 broad priority areas;  Additional support for young people aged 15-24 including those not in education, employment or training (NEET),  Adult employment and adult skills provision. (The adult employment strand will also have an emphasis on targeted provision for disadvantaged groups furthest away from the labour market.  Targeted support for disadvantaged groups furthest away from the labour market. The D2N2 Social Inclusion Framework (October 2014) identifies the following 5 priority thematic groups o Older long term unemployed people with barriers to work o Young people including ‘hidden NEETS’ o Women ‘returners’ o People with multiple and complex needs of The financially excluded both in and out of work


32. What is the Youth Employment Initiative for Nottingham?
In addition to the main ESF allocation, D2N2 has received an additional allocation of £3.2m for the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) targeted at areas that have a youth unemployment rate of 25% or above. In D2N2 the YEI will be focussed on the Greater Nottingham area (Nottingham City plus some areas of Gedling, Broxtowe, Rushcliffe and Ashfield) The allocation has to be matched equally from within the D2N2 ESF allocation, with an additional local match required for the ESF funds. D2N2 will work with the SFA, DCLG and DWP and other appropriate partners to identify ways to maximise ESF match funding to enable full draw down of the potential YEI match funding.


33. If I want to apply for funding, do I have to provide match funding?
Yes and no depending on the nature of the call.  The majority of ESF will be matched at source mainly through opt-in organisations such as the SFA, DWP and Big Lottery and they will provide the match funding, similar to the 2007-13 programme. However we intend to release some ESF via open calls and it may be that partners and providers will have to provide match funding at 50% to be successful in applying for these calls.  The D2N2 ESIF Local Implementation Plan consultation document found here gives more information on the programmes we intend to release via ESF open calls principally in the following sections of that document 8.4 Youth Employment Initiative for Nottingham 10.3 Higher Skills Development 10.4 Develop Sector Growth 10.6 Enterprise, Innovation and Pathways


34. I am an ESF supply chain provider delivering services to the unemployed under the 2007-2013 programme; would we come to you concerning transition arrangements if any?
There will be no ‘transition arrangements’: the 2007-13 and 2014-20 programmes are separate.


35. How long can an ESF project last for?
For ESF, the LEP will agree with the Opt-in organisations the length that it wishes the provision to be contracted for. However we envisage the majority of projects lasting 3 years from commencement of contract to align with the current government timescale 13.


36. I have an idea for an ESF project; who can I contact?
D2N2 is very interested in hearing from partners and providers who are developing ideas for future ESIF funded projects and programmes. Please feel free to send us your initial thoughts for projects using our ‘Big Idea’ template which can be found on our website here.

Please return your template to Richard Kirkland at

All Big Idea templates will be treated in strictest confidence.

We are not able to advise which projects will or won’t be successful, but we can provide some initial advice and pointers to possible ways forward. However please note that until the England-wide programmes have been agreed by the EC, matters are subject to change. We will continue to update this Q&A regularly until the programmes launch in 2015. The European Commission has produced a guide which explains how a) to access and use the European Structural and Investment Funds and b) how to exploit complementarities with other instruments of relevant Union policies.

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