Memorandum submitted by the Government
Office for Yorkshire and the Humber (ESF 09)
1.1 Government Offices (GOs) play a key
role at regional level in managing the implementation and delivery
of European Social Fund in:
areas that are lagging behind (Objective
areas facing structural difficulties
(Objective 2); and
supporting education/ training &
employment systems (Objective 3).
1.2 Responsibilities are wide and range
from setting up regional committees with partnership representation,
managing the project selection process through to financial stewardship
and payment of ESF grant to projects. The Objective 1 and 2 Programmes
are regionally focused, giving GOs a strong policy role in shaping
Programmes to meet regional priorities. Although the Objective
3 Programme is run nationally, GOs have some degree of autonomy
in carrying out their roles and responsibilities.
1.3 From 2001 Government Offices have been
instrumental in working with partners, to implement co-financing
arrangements in the Objective 3 Programme. This has marked a departure
from the traditional practice of direct bidding into the Programme.
Funding is channelled to providers through organisations such
as Learning and Skills Councils (LSCs) and Jobcentre Plus.
1.4 Early independent evaluation commissioned
by West Yorkshire LSC suggests that the approach has strengthened
coherence with regional strategies such as the ESF Regional Development
Plan. High satisfaction rates with the management of the process
are reported. In rural areas such as North Yorkshire, the Learning
and Skills Council co-financing arrangements have attracted a
wider range of providers to apply for funding.
1.5 Whilst co-financing has helped to streamline
access to ESF match funding, only GO London has implemented full
co-financing arrangements with partners. For many regions, there
will remain a small element of direct bidding into the Programme
for measures relating to research and high-level skills training
(NVQ 4 and above).
1.6 The scale of ESF resources available
in Objective 1 Programmes has assisted the development of co-financing
in these areas. It is an effective means of channelling large
amounts of funding to help deliver transformational change in
regions that are lagging behind. Large, high impact projects are
being developed, that might not be so manageable under a direct
1.7 Implementation of ESF activity in Objective
2 is more challenging,. Government Offices are networking to share
best practice, and introduce co-financing and pro-active commissioning
of projects to improve performance.
2.1 This memorandum provides evidence from
Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber to inform the Work
and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into the European Social
2.2 Government Offices (GOs) have the delegated
authority from the Department of Work and Pensions to manage regional
budgets, work with key partners to monitor the implementation
of ESF activity, sign contracts with project sponsors and make
payments of ESF grant.
2.3 ESF is allocated through 3 Structural
Fund Objectives. ESF spending is targeted on specific regionsknown
as Objective 1 and 2 regions. There are separate national
Objective 3 programmes in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern
Ireland. For the new round of 2000-2006 programmes the following
table shows the ESF financial allocation for each English region
European Structural Funds
2.4 Objective 1 is the highest level of regional funding
available from the European Union (EU) . It s aimed at promoting
the development and structural adjustment of the EU regions most
lagging behind in development. Eligible areas are those, which
have less than 75% of EU average GDP
2.5 Objective 2 is the second highest level of EU regional
funding available and aims to support the economic and social
conversion of areas needing to adjust the existing structure of
2.6 Objective 3 involves only ESF and operates in every
UK area except the Objective 1 areas. It is a national Programme
and aims to develop labour markets and human resources by helping
employers and workers adapt to new challenges and so compete more
effectively in global labour markets. It is directed at the long-term
unemployed and those facing particular barriers to finding fulfilling
employment because of their disability, racial origin or sex.
3. GOVERNMENT OFFICE
3.1 Whilst the Government Office involvement in administering
ESF may vary across the Objectives 1, 2 and 3, there is a core
set of responsibilities that includes:
Establishing regional management structures ie
convene, Chair, and provide a Secretariat for key decision making
bodies, such as Regional Committees, Programme Monitoring Committees;
Monitoring performance and maintaining programme
management information at all stages;
Implementing advice and guidance to sponsors on
Managing the project selection process;
Taking forward decisions on individual bidsincluding
production of the offer letter;
Processing grant claims and monitoring financial
Monitoring, and inspecting projects in accordance
with EU regulations;
Ensuring that EU and UK regulations are respected
throughout the process;
Co-ordinating the programme's publicity and communications
Appraising all Technical Assistance
3.2 GOs also carry out an important partnership and facilitation
role, working with Regional Development Agencies and other partners
to ensure that the partnership works effectively and is focused
on strategy and delivery. This is fundamental to the successful
implementation of ESF and requires a pro-active approach from
3.3 Objective 1 and Objective 2 Programmes are regionally
targeted. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, (ODPM) co-ordinates
the management and implementation of these Programmes. However,
Government Offices and partners, including Regional Development
Agencies, and Local Authorities negotiate directly with the Commission
to agree the Priorities and content of the Programme. Government
Offices therefore have a key policy development as well as implementation
role. In the Objective 3 Programme, the Department for Work and
Pensions (DWP) retains a policy a strong policy lead, with GOs
managing the implementation of the Programme at regional level.
3.4 Even within the nationally run Objective 3 Programme,
Government Offices have within the framework of European Commission
and national rules and regulations, some degree of autonomy in
carrying out these roles and responsibilities. For example, Government
Office Yorkshire & the Humber has:
Written regional guidance (revised for each round)
for Objective 3 direct bidders that includes details of the scoring
and selection process. The aim always is to ensure that all processes
are open and transparent.
For "direct bids", devised a project
selection process. This involves the participation of local partners
on a voluntary basis to act as a "scoring panel", including
the development of scoring guidance. The aim is to have a process
that is clear to all those involved, is agreed by all those involved
and takes all possible care to avoid bias or unreasonableness
Developed a regional monitoring process. The aim
is to develop a process that is non confrontational, facilitates
sharing of information on performance and develops a good, trusting
working relationship between Government Office and the provider.
Worked with partners to develop programmes that
are funded through Technical Assistance to help those organisations
with little experience of ESF to successfully access funds and
manage the project and associated paperwork.
Introduced a Global Grants scheme to the Objective
3 programmea small project fund with minimal bureaucracy,
to enable groups and individuals to pursue training/capacity building
ambitions. The aim is to make these small grants available to
as wide a community as possible.
Financial Management and Control
3.5 Government Offices have a stewardship responsibility
to ensure financial propriety of the Programmes. Payments are
made on a quarterly basis and paid through a three-stage claims
payment process. Each claim is checked, certified and authorised
by a different member of staff, in line with clear, delegated
authority limits appropriate to the staff grade. Where the approvals
process and payments process takes place within an integrated
team there is a clear separation of duties .
3.6 Government Offices must make payments promptly, monitor
project performance to ensure that funds are being used effectively.
A Financial Control Team inspects a sample of projects that up
to 5% of ESF "spend". This team is separate from to
the contract management functions of the European Secretariat.
3.7 The Separate administrative, management and payment
arrangements for European Social Fund, European Regional Development
Fund (ERDF), European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund
(EAGGF) and Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG)
reflect the different requirements of each fund.
4.1 Priorities and allocations for the period 2000-2006
and activities eligible for project funding are set out in Regional
Development Plans (RDPs) in Objective 3 ESF regions, and Single
Programming Documents and Programme Complements for Objective
1 and 2 areas. Objective 3 RDPs have a single ESF focus. However,
in Objective 1 and 2 areas, the Single Programming documents and
Programme Complements provide holistic strategies for the implementation
of assistance in these areas. ESF measures form part of an integrated
package of funding, and are closely linked to wider actions funded
4.2 Structural Funds Programmes are subject to an independent
mid-term review. This provides opportunity to examine the effectiveness
of the implementation, and if needed, adjust programmes in the
light of the findings.
4.3 Many Regional Development Plans are also being reviewed
to take account of newly published Framework for Employment and
Skills Action (FRESA). The FRESA for the region has been developed
by Regional Development Agency and partners. It provides a single
framework to match skilled people to good jobs, and is based on
coherent, valid and accessible labour market and skills intelligence.
It gives a focus of what needs to happen in the region to maintain
and grow a healthy labour market. As such it can guide the priorities
5. MANAGEMENT STRUCTURES
Objective 1 and 2 Programmes
5.1 In Objective 1 and 2 Programmes, the implementation
of European Assistance is overseen by Programme Monitoring Committees
(PMCs), chaired by the Government Office. Membership is inclusive
and drawn from regional stakeholders including the Regional Development
Agencies, Regional Assemblies, local authorities, representatives
from the voluntary and community sector and business. PMCs' responsibilities
Reviewing progress towards Programme targets.
Ensuring action is taken to keep programmes on
Agreeing the project selection framework.
Examining the results and effectiveness of implementation
as set out for the different measures in the Programme and for
the mid term evaluation of performance.
Agreeing any changes to the Programme for subsequent
consideration and approval by the European Commission.
5.2 Some regions in receipt of both Objective 2 and 3
funding, combine their Committees eg West Midlands, North-West.
These Committees are often supported by an ESF sub-group to provide
a clear focus on skills and employment issues.
Objective 3 Programme
5.3 For Objective 3, management of the regional element
of the Programme is the responsibility of Regional Committees.
Regions, such as Yorkshire and the Humber and the North East maintain
a separate Committee for Objective 3 ESF.
5.4 Regional Committees are responsible for all decisions
relating to the regional implementation of the programme. Each
Government Office is represented on the national ESF Programme
Monitoring Committee. This ensures that ESF activity contributes
fully to the achievement of regional goals as set out in Regional
Economic Strategies, the Skills Action Plan and the National Action
Plan for Employment.
5.5 Regional Committees bring together a diverse range
of interests to direct the management and allocation of ESF resources
in the region. They provide a valuable forum for exchanging views
about the direction of ESF resources in the region, and resolving
potential and differences surrounding the key developments such
as the move towards co-financing. Detailed responsibilities include:
Approving the Regional Priorities as set out in
the Regional Development Plan;
Agreeing the regional guidance for bidding rounds;
Endorsing and overseeing project selection process
and endorsing project recommendations for approval;
Ensuring that the regional budget is used effectively
to meet regional targets in order to achieve best value for money;
Establishing effective linkages with the delivery
of ESF across Objective 2 and 3 to ensure complementarity and
Agreeing and monitoring the implementation of
Promoting and applying the principles of Equal
opportunities throughout the programme;
Monitoring and evaluating programme performance
against the regional Development Plan's objectives;
Agreeing the regional publicity strategy and overseeing
its implementation, promoting good practice and effective dissemination
and networking between partnerships.
5.6 Regional Committees can be supported by a range of
sub-groups and task forces. The structure and management of these
will vary depending on regional circumstances. In Yorkshire and
the Humber, a standing Co-financing Monitoring sub Committee has
been formed to deal with the detail of co-financing. This committee
has a maximum of five members of (or nominated by) the Regional
Committee. To maintain impartiality, the sub-committee does not
include those project organisations that benefit directly from
co-financed ESF support.
6. OBJECTIVE 3: DIRECT
6.1 The management and implementation of the Objective
3 Programme has undergone radical change since the start of the
Programme. At the outset, providers had to bid directly to Government
Offices for ESF funding. GOs arranged the process of appraising
and selecting projects. Independent panels were set up by Government
Offices to score applications and make recommendations to the
Regional Committee on the applications that should be supported.
The Committees would then have the final decision on approval
of projects Government Office would subsequently contract with
the successful providers.
6.2 The system generated a large number of successful
but small- scale projects. Management and administration requirements
were seen as onerous. Other than the very smallest projects (less
providers had to complete the same amount of paperwork, regardless
of the project size. Strategically, the Objective 3 Programme
was being "atomised" into a large numbers of small projects,
making it difficult to focus on the overall strategy and direction
of the Programme.
7.1 Co-financing was introduced gradually in 2001. It
marks a clear departure from direct bidding into the Programme
and selection of projects via an independent scoring panel. The
co-financing approach brings together both ESF funds and the required
public match funding into a single pot for providers, who can
access funds as a single funding stream. In practice this means
that providers do not have to search for match funding or complete
more than one set of applications. Co-financing organisations
are public bodies with responsibilities that embrace training,
employment and ESF related issues. They must be able to act as
an intermediary to fund and target ESF activity but not deliver
it directly. Co-financing in practice therefore routes ESF through
a fewer number of large projects managed by organisations including
Learning and Skills Councils, Jobcentre Plus and some Local Authorities.
The approach aims to:
promote greater coordination and targeting of
reduce bureaucracy, and the administration burden
on providers, by providing match funding at source;
allow for innovation and creativity at regional
and local levels;
place more emphasis on the quality of provision;
ensure more systematic monitoring of provision;
ensure that ESF adds more value to the delivery
of Government programmes
7.2 Government Offices have been instrumental in working
with partners, to implement co-financing in the Objective 3 Programme
within their regions. The proportion of programme resources committed
as a percentage of allocations to date across Objective 3 regions
is set out below.
TOTAL OF O3 ESF COMMITTED TO CO-FINANCING
|% Committed to Co-Financing
|Yorkshire and Humber
7.3 The introduction has been gradual to allow co-financing
organisations to re-align their processes and management arrangements,
and for potential bidders adapt to the new processes. The twin
track approach allowing for direct bidding to GOs and co-financing
helped partners to make this adjustment without adversely affecting
performance and the flow of bids coming onto the Programme. It
also allowed time to for co-financing organisations to address
the concerns of particular sectors, including Local Authorities,
voluntary/ community organisations and higher education, that
the co-financing approach could narrow access to ESF resources.
Regions are currently planning that at least 80% of resources
will be committed via the co-financing route in the remaining
years of the Programme.
Impact of Co-financing
7.4 Co-financing is now the main route for organisations
to apply for ESF funding. The immediate impacts are in the management
and administration of the fund. Bids can be more actively commissioned
by the co-financing organisations in line with the Regional Development
Plan and skills/employment needs in sub-regions. The Government
Office and Regional Committee role is moving away from detailed
bidding mechanisms, and a pre-occupation with approval of individual
projects. Regional Committees can get a better focus on the performance
of the Programme. There is also greater scope to share best practice,
and see how ESF provision can be better aligned to meet national
policy priorities such as tackling social exclusion.
ESF Co-financingTackling Disadvantage
The West Yorkshire Local Learning and Skills Council has Co-financed
ESF to support projects that tackle social exclusion and that
help young people to increase their confidence and give them the
motivation to develop new skills that are relevant to a changing
Hip HopportunityIs a project run by Connected 2
that includes DJ workshops, drama classes and radio broadcasting
for young people in Huddersfield. Thirty local disadvantaged young
people between 16-25 are benefiting. It aims to provide an exciting
range of learner centred activities to increase the confidence
and self esteem of participants and teach them new skills. Local
young people are targeted who were previously not taking up education,
training and employment opportunities.
Reaching HigherYoung people affected by homelessness
are being encouraged in further education with the help of an
access course run buy the University of Bradford. It provides
16-25 year olds with flexible learning opportunities to give motivation
and allow access to further and higher education. The one-year
course covers IT, study skills, working in the knowledge economy
7.5 Only GO-London has implemented full co-financing,
where there are sufficient co-financing organisations to fund
activities across all areas of the Programme. In the remaining
GOs, direct bidding still exists, albeit on a reduced scale. Early
experience suggests that some measures eg those concerned with
research, and high-level skills training (NVQ 4 and above) may
be more appropriately commissioned at a regional level .
7.6 Although an element of "direct" bidding
remains in most regions, Government Offices no longer have to
administer a process of inviting, selecting, contracting and paying
several hundred individual ESF projects. Within Government Offices,
responsibilities are now geared towards the selection of co-financing
organisations (CFOs); developing working relationships with the
CFOs; agreeing the distribution of resources between CFOs; approving
the plans put forward by the Co-financing organisations (CFO plans)
and their associated measure level bids; monitoring CFO progress
and selection of projects and making payments.
In the North West the LLSC Cumbria has supported a project
through co-financing delivered by Connexions in partnership with
colleges called Summer Learning and Skills Programme
During the summer of 2002 (launched in response to Foot and Mouth
DiseaseFMD), LSC Cumbria funded a summer learning and skills
programme for young people covering a range of different short
The aim of the programme was to encourage young people to participate
in post 16 learning by providing them with positive experiences
of college life and study. Young people were able to choose from
90 courses on offer at 5 colleges.
In 2002, some 722 learners took part in post-compulsory provision
and 93% have subsequently decided to remain in/re-enter learning.
Approximately 100 young people on the programme were felt to be
at real risk of not entering post-16 learning and 85% of them
remained in learning.
The young people attending the programme felt that the experience
had been a positive one, during which they had gained both education
and social skills, which would benefit them in the future.
Quote from a young person:
"I think the two weeks I was on the course ran very smoothly
and I would like to thank you not only for the money but for the
extra confidence it gave me and the fab new friends I have".
Objective 3 Co-financing The Yorkshire and Humber Experience
7.7 Yorkshire and the Humber is the first region in the country
where an independent evaluation of co-financing has been carried
out, commissioned by the West Yorkshire Learning and Skills Council.
The research looked at the handling and management of the co-financing
approach taken by the Learning and Skills for West Yorkshire in
the early bidding rounds.
Views of 15 stakeholders and 100 applicants were sought through
a combination of face to face and telephone interviews. The stakeholders
included Local Authorities, Learning Partnerships, Business Link
and the Charities Information Bureau. Applicants were stratified
by district, sector and outcome (success/non success in application).
The research is specific to West Yorkshire, but overall co-financing
was seen as a positive move with over 70% of those questioned
being satisfied with the approach. The emerging findings were:
Stakeholders and applicants surveyed were satisfied
with the co-financing approach, although some concerns about the
transparency of the Project Selection process were raised. This
is now being addressed by the LSC;
Greater access to a wider range of providers has
The thematic approach has strengthened coherence
and not undermined the Regional Development Plan;
Role of local Learning Partnerships is helpful;
More even geographical balance of resource deployment
7.8 An internal report produced for the Regional Committee
by the North Yorkshire Learning and Skills Council showed their
co-financing approach had attracted more bids for ESF support
than through "direct" bidding. The LSC working closely
with the North Yorkshire Partnership Unit (a support organisation
partly funded by Technical Assistance), proactively promoted ESF
across the sub region especially in those rural areas where a
lack of "capacity" and resources made direct bidding
very difficult . The table below summarises the types of organisation
that made bids and their success. Voluntary and community sector
organisations that have often struggled to attract matched funding,
were particularly successful. Over half the bids submitted for
funding were supported.
NORTH YORKSHIRE LSC: CO-FINANCING ROUND 1SUCCESSFUL BIDS
|Round 1: Jan 2002 Successful bids:
|% success rate by number of bids
|National Training Organisation
|Chamber of Commerce
7.9 Implementation of co-financing has helped to deliver
a more focused approach to the funding of skills provision. Learning
and Skills Councils can actively seek bids that support sub-regional
priorities and contribute to regional goals to improve wealth
creation and economic competitiveness. This is leading to a greater
focus on strategy rather than individual projects.
7.10 Learning and Skills Councils report that many organisations
have welcomed the provision of LSC matched funding at source,
avoiding the need for each and every project to search for funding.
7.11 Co-Financing is proving successful, but it is unlikely
and was never intended that 100% of the ESF Objective 3 programme
will be fully co-financed across all regions. With a wider coverage
of co-financing organisations, only Government Office London has
managed the implementation of full co-financing . For many regions,
there will remain a small role for direct bidding and GO's must
balance the two systems:
8. OBJECTIVE 1 PROGRAMMES
8.1 UK areas with Objective 1 status include Merseyside,
South Yorkshire, Cornwall and the Scilly Isles and West Wales
and the Valleys. In addition the UK has two transitional Objective
1 areas,The Highlands and Islands and Northern Ireland.
Objective 1 funding is the highest form of assistance from the
European Commission. Each Programme area has an integrated programme
of action that draws on a combination of funding from the private
and public sectors in this country and from a number of different
EU funds, including ESF, European Regional Development Fund(ERDF)
and European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
These areas do not have separate Objective 3 funding.
8.2 ESF is closely linked with funding to support a wide
range of economic development initiatives including, business
support measures and community economic development.
8.3 ODPM has overall responsibility for Objective 1 Programmes
in England, working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions
on the ESF elements of the Programme.
8.4 The scale and quantum of Funds available in Objective
1 Programmes has necessitated a move towards co-financing. The
management of funding in Objective 1 has closely followed the
trends of Objective 3. From a reliance on small scale direct bidding,
Objective 1 Programmes have moved towards large, high impact co-financing
ESFThe South Yorkshire Experience
8.5 The Objective 1 programme for South Yorkshire 2000-06
has 32 Measures across three structural funds. There is a £700m
EU grant budget (£1,800m when matched) allocated between:
ERDF£470m; ESF£216m and EAGGF£14m.
8.6 The ESF budget is spread across 9 Measures entitled:
supporting new employment opportunities;
enhancing management and workforce skills and
creating a responsive training and education system;
enhancing the curriculum for the world of work;
developing an adaptable and entrepreneurial workforce;
tackling gender imbalance in the labour market;
assisting people back to work;
tackling disadvantage; and
tools for re-integration.
8.7 A number of "transition" projects were
agreed at the beginning of the new Programme to provide some continuation
of ESF support from the previous 1997-99 Objective 2 Programme
. However, in accord with the introduction of co-financing, a
large part of South Yorkshire's ESF budget in now allocated to
the Learning and Skills Council (a £51m ESF budget for 2001-04);
the LSC is the predominant deliverer in six of the nine Measures.
There are separate large contracts with the local authorities
in connection with enhancing the curriculum in schools and for
the implementation of enhanced IT-based teaching. There is also
a sizeable (£11m) contract for the operation of an Intermediate
Labour Market (ILM) project. A co-financing contract with Jobcentre
Plus for the `assisting people back into work' measure commences
in April 2003. To accommodate small-scale projects, there is a
global grants scheme, which is able to award smaller pre-matched
8.8 Delivery to date has generally been satisfactory.
Uptake of assistance for workforce development and gender equality
has so far been a little slower than planned. Some of the work
placement activities such as the ILM have also been affected by
a falling unemployment register.
8.9 Collection of management information has been quite
a significant issue. The Objective 1 Directorate's evaluation
team is keen to undertake a thorough examination of the effects
of the programme. This entails work to adapt the IT systems of
organisations such as the local LSC and Jobcentre Plus to fully
meet these requirements.
South Yorkshire e learning
£50m of European money through Objective 1 is being
spent on a project that aims to bring South Yorkshire into the
Objective 1 is funding a six-year program called e-sy.info,
which is aimed at increasing Information Communications Technology
(ICT) learning and skills in South Yorkshire by helping more people
train on computers at schools, colleges, at home, at work and
through the local community. Over 140 educational and training
institutions will be upgraded with laptops, computers and wireless
As well as existing resources being upgraded, the project
will be creating two new `Centres of Excellence,' one in Meadowhall,
Sheffield the other serving Barnsley and Doncaster. There will
also be computer learning centres and pods (dedicated learning
modules) provided to small businesses.
The projects website, www.e-sy.info, is designed to be
a significant learning and information resource for business professionals,
community groups, educational professionals and schools. This
will widen access to life-long education and enables students
to take control of their learning. Because the educational content
is available through the Internet it can be accessed at any time,
as often as it is needed.
37,000 people should be helped by 1800 trainers to access
e-learning, the Internet and to gain ICT qualifications through
the project. These qualifications will make people in South Yorkshire
far more employable, as computer skills are in increasing demand
in the workplace. A more computer literate workforce will encourage
8.10 The scale of ESF resources available in Objective
1 Programmes has facilitated moves towards co-financing. It is
a effective means of channelling large amounts of funding to help
deliver transformational change in regions that are lagging behind.
Large, high impact projects are being developed, that might not
be so manageable under a direct bidding approach.
9. OBJECTIVE 2 PROGRAMMES
9.1 As with Objective 1, eligible areas for Objective
2 assistance have agreed a programme of action, which targets
activities within these areas and draw on a combination
of funds from private and public sectors. ERDF and ESF funds are
available from the EU. Objective 2 Programmes with ESF assistance
include: Yorkshire and the Humber, South West, West Midlands,
North East, London, South East, Eastern, East Midlands. ESF as
a proportion of the overall grant available to the Programme varies
from 8% in East Midlands to 20% in the North East. ODPM has overall
responsibility for Objective 2 Programmes in England with support
from DWP on the ESF elements of the Programme.
9.2 It is a European Commission requirement that Objective
2 ESF provides the human resource underpinning to the other (ERDF
funded) measures in the Programme. ESF grant is only available
where it forms part of an integrated package of support alongside
ERDF. However, separate rules of administration and management
systems for ERDF and ESF do not always facilitate this integration.
Sponsors delivering joined up packages of support may face two
sets of procedures and administration. Government Office and local
partnership staff provide advice and support to help with the
administrative requirements of the different systems. Government
Offices are also working to adapt monitoring systems to track
performance more closely.
9.3 In many regions, such as Yorkshire and the Humber,
West Midlands, ESF implementation has been slowmainly because
of the need for ERDF projects to get underway and then spark demand
for supportive training projects part funded by ESF. The Government
Office and partners are urgently examining the implications of
this slow start and how it impacts on progress towards the targets
for commitment and expenditure set by the Commission and the implementation
of overall Objective 2 strategies. A working group has been set
up by ODPM, the managing Authority for regional programmes to
address this issue and concerns across Structural Funds in Objective
1 and 2 Programmes
ESF Objective 2the Yorkshire and Humber experience
9.4 The Objective 2 Programme in Yorkshire and the Humber
for 2000-06 provides up to £317 million of EU Structural
Funds support, to lever in further public and private funds and
deliver a total investment of £871 million in the programme
9.5 £42.626 million ESF grant is available throughout
the life of the Programme. This is spread across 3 ESF measurespeople
skills for the new Objective 2 entrepreneurship agenda (£14.173
m), people skills for adaptive businesses (£10.827m) and
building community confidence and capability (£16.987m\.
9.6 Eligibility for Objective 2 ESF funding is more geographically
targeted than the Objective 3 Programme. This has meant that applications
for funding have tended to be small scale and localised relating
to the specific needs of neighbourhoods and communities. There
are currently over 60 ESF projects funded through the Yorkshire
and Humber Objective 2 Programme.
9.7 The ESF expenditure targets represent a particular
challenge. The financial profiles set by the European Commission
are steep and do not reflect the interrelationship with ERDF funded
projects. Failure to meet these targets will mean that unspent
funds will be de-committed or lost to the Programme.
9.8 To tackle these difficulties, Government Office has
worked with a local Learning and Skills Council and Business Links
to a implement a "block delivery" package of ESF funded
activity that links with business support assistance and will
deliver high impact. The package has taken nine months to develop
but forecasts suggest will make a major impact on meeting programme
9.9 This follows manybut not allof the
principles associated with ESF co-financing in Objective 1 and
3 Programmes. In the early stages of Objective 2 implementation,
there were some reservations about a formal co-financing approach
across such a patchy geographical area.
9.10 Government Office needs to work with partners to
promote the benefits of co-financing ESF activity in the Objective
2 Programme. Early evidence of co-financing in Objective 3, suggests
that the approach can be an effective way of brigading a wide
range of projects and streamlining bureaucracy and administration.
9.11 The complexity and diversity of Objective 2 Programme
areas means that co-financing is unlikely to be the only solution
to effective ESF implementation. The Government Office is planning
the direct pro-active commissioning of business support projects,
to stimulate more projects to come forward for funding. GOYH is
also learning from the experience of other regions.
Technical Assistance provides ESF grant to improve the impact
of the Programme by undertaking support activities not covered
in the main Priorities and Measures. It improves the capacity
of partners to manage the requirements of the Programme. Back
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is responsible for the
ERDF in England, and the Department for the Environment Food and
Rural Affairs is responsible for the EAGGF and FIFG in England. Back
Projects less than £10,000 can be eligible for support through
the Global Grants scheme that aims to minimise administration
for localised capacity building activity. Back
The research was undertaken by EKOS consulting and covers stakeholder
and applicant perceptions of the West Yorkshire co-financing in
the first 2 bidding rounds. Back