1. How much ESIF does D2N2 have?
The Government has notionally allocated £214 million to the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership but until agreement is reached between the Government and EC the amount is subject to change. Also, as the programme operates in Euros, the Sterling amount will vary as the exchange rate fluctuates. The LEP has proposed that the funding is allocated in the following ways:
2. Where can I find the D2N2 draft European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) strategy and ESIF Local Implementation Plan?
D2N2’s ESIF strategy can be found here.
D2N2s’s draft ESIF Local Implementation Plan, which builds upon the ESIF strategy, can be found here.
These documents set out the types of activities that D2N2 are seeking to support using the main programmes of European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). In addition D2N2 has an allocation from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The EARDF contributes to improving the competitiveness of agriculture and forestry; the environment and the countryside; and the quality of life and the management of economic activity in rural areas. This document and the ones cited are subject to change as they are dependent on the UK Government agreeing England – wide Operational Programmes with the European Commission (EC). This isn’t expected to occur until later in the year (2015). Access to ESF funds will be, for the most part, co-financed by national ‘Opt-in’ organisations including the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and Big Lottery Fund. Access to ERDF is largely expected to follow an open, competitive bidding process.
3. Has D2N2 consulted on the 2014-20 ESIF strategy and Local Implementation Plan?
Yes. We received over 45 responses from partner organisations to our consultation on the Local Implementation Plan which closed in November 2014. We are using these responses to refine both our approach to implementing our ESIF strategy to ensure the ESIF programme has the maximum impact in supporting businesses, individuals and communities across the D2N2 area. The high level findings from the consultation on the ESIF Local Implementation Plan will be posted here when agreed by the ESIF Programme Board.
4. When will the new ESF, ERDF and EAFRD programmes launch?
Once the Government and European Commission have concluded their negotiations on the content, budget, outputs, results and governance of the England-wide Operational Programmes, they can launch. At the moment we can’t provide a specific date. D2N2 intends to open its programme at the earliest permitted opportunity. Once the Government publishes guidance then we will share it on our web site. We will update this Q&A paper available on our web site with the latest information when it is known.
5. So does this mean the programmes will be launching over one year late?
Yes. However all programmes in England are starting late. The ESIF funding will be rolled forward, but it means there will be less time to commit the funds to projects and less time for projects to spend it.
6. Will the pre-election period (or ‘purdah’) preceding the General Election on 7th May 2015 delay the start and/or implementation of the programmes?
We are awaiting guidance from the Government. What is the pre-election period? It is the period of time from when an election is announced until after the election is held. Guidance is issued to civil servants on the principles that they should observe in relation to the conduct of Government business in the run-up to elections.
7. What is an Opt-In?
Opt-in organisations are national public bodies who offer to deliver locally tailored activities that reflect the requirements of D2N2 and their own organisation’s main responsibilities. They will draw down ESIF monies from the D2N2 allocation and provide the match funding needed from their own national funding programmes. The opt in model allows D2N2 and their partners to join with national organisations or programmes to implement shared policy priorities. By opting-in to a service offer from a national organisation or programme, D2N2 commits part of its ESIF allocation to the programme. In return D2N2 accesses match funding and administrative support. D2N2 are currently in negotiations with the following opt-in organisations and will provide more information when these discussions are finalised. Big Lottery (ESF) Skills Funding Agency (ESF) Department for Work and Pensions (ESF)
8. I have received funding under the 2007-13 programme; can I obtain funding under the new programme?
For ERDF all applicants will need to follow the same England-wide application procedures managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). DCLG, not the LEP, will enter into contract with successful applicants. For ESF programmes delivered through Opt-in organisations, applications will go through the organisation’s own procurement procedures. The selection process will follow the Opt-in organisations own published selection criteria, which must comply with open and competitive tendering rules. The Opt-in organisation, not the LEP, will enter into contract with successful applicants. All applicants will need to ensure proposals fit with the 2014-2020 ERDF, EAFRD and ESF programmes. The new programmes are not a straight read-across from 2007-13. The track record of previous recipients of ERDF/ESF/ EAFRD in Derbyshire / Nottinghamshire / East Midlands will be taken into account. This includes management and delivery performance. Applicants in previous receipt of ERDF, EAFRD or ESF funding will be expected to illustrate the results of any evaluation for comparative activity.
9. Will there be a gap between my 2007-13 funding coming to an end and applying for funding under 2014-20?
Yes, this may arise. The delay in approving the national Operational Programmes will have a knock-on effect for some organisations. Although an organisation may have previously received funding under the 2007- 13 programmes, either directly as a Grant Recipient or as a partner, it does not mean the organisation will be successful under the new 2014-20 programme. If the D2N2 ERDF programme or particular elements of it are launched in early 2015, Funding Agreements are unlikely to be issued before summer 2015, with first ERDF payments made to organisations in autumn 2015.
10. Will there be minimal bureaucracy in the new programmes?
Government is working to ensure that the rules and processes are clear for the new programme so that applicants know what to expect; it won’t necessarily be less complex. Organisations interested in applying for ESF and/or ERDF funds may wish to speak with previous or existing recipients of funding, to discuss, first-hand, the ins and outs of running a project. External training courses are also available on managing European funds, delivered by private organisations.