Tony attended an ESIF Shadow Committee meeting on the 17th December 2014 and has asked that this update be published here:
Update from GBSLEP ESIF Committee 17/12/14
The meeting was chaired by Cllr Ian Courts from Solihull MBC.
The first important announcement was that the programme will now have 2 Managing Authorities (MAs) DCLG will be the MA for ERDF and DWP will become the MA for ESF. The 2 MAs will interact with 2 separate parts of the European Commission.
There are still delays in approval of the Operational Programme by the European Commission. The UK Govt is still committed to the role of LEPs but the Commission has yet to accept the LEPs’ role.
Sir Albert Bore updated on the National Growth Board to say that there are still significant issues to be clarified Between the EU Commission and UK Govt — e.g. the proposed Strategic Urban Development programme for Core Cities has been sent back by the Commission.
Delayed decision and sign off of the Operational Programme creates significant risk for The Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) which only has 2 years (2014 and 2015) in which to spend.
A proposal to constitute an ESIF SUB COMMITTEE was approved . This sub committee will work on pipeline projects, the open call for projects and ensuing applications and then provide all relevant information to the ESIF Committee for decision making. The sub committee will be made up of officers from all sectors and must reflect the structure of the ESIF Committee.
So the voluntary sector and the social enterprise sector need to consider who they wish to put forward for places on this WORKING sub committee.
A paper was submitted by Lloyd Broad outlining a proposal for a Technical Assistance Strategy to draw down the maximum available ie 2% of the programme. This is because the 4% allowable will be held nationally by the MAs but they will make 2% available to the LEPs.
Lloyd’s paper suggested 7 draft proposed activities – there may be more but one proposed activity was:
“THIRD SECTOR AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND CAPACITY BUILDING”
“GBSLEP RECOGNISES THE NEED FOR EFFECTIVE VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR ENGAGEMENT AND PARTICIPATION IN THE ESIF PROGRAMME, PARTICULARLY FOR THE ESF FUNDS. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE SHOULD SEEK TO SUPPORT INTERVENTIONS TO DEVELOP THE VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR BY THE DELIVERY AND FACILITATION OF CAPACITY BUILDING ACTIVITIES SUCH AS EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS, ENCOURAGE AND DEVELOP PARTNERSHIPS AND IMPROVE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE SECTOR.”
I pointed out that this was crucial for the sector given that I felt that we had been disadvantaged by the LEP decision to opt out of Lottery match funding. The chair and others couldn’t seem to see that we had been disadvantaged which perhaps explains why the LEP took the decision without any reference to or consultation with the sector!
The committee also seemed to think everything was now ok as the Lottery had given approval for existing Lottery funding to be used as match. However, this is one organisation – BVSC with Talent Match (which only applies to Birmingham) and in my, perhaps controversial, opinion simply compounds a monopoly on Lottery major programme funding by adding European funding to it.
At the end of the meeting I informed the chair that I would no longer be attending on behalf of Social Enterprise as I am leaving Birmingham to take up a new role in South Yorkshire.
So, things for the sector are – sort out my replacement and who is going on to the working sub committee and keep a very close eye on the opportunity for technical assistance.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year
Tony Clabby 18/12/14
Update 19th December 2014: Tony added: “It seems that we were given some erroneous information at the ESIF Committee on 17/12/14 – According to the Office for Civil Society yesterday 18/12/14 the Lottery have not yet given approval for existing programmes e.g Talent Match to be used as match funding for European Programmes”.