ESIF Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where can I find the Cheshire and Warrington draft European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) strategy

The Cheshire and Warrington SEP can be found here

The Operational Programmes can be found here 

2. Where can I find the current calls? 

Visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding to use of the fund finder.

3. Has the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership consulted on the 2014-20 strategy?

Yes, during autumn 2013 and 2014 extensive consultations and stakeholder events took place.

4. When will the new ESF and ERDF programmes launch?

The programmes and initial calls launched on 20 March 2015. Further launch events and workshops will follow during 2015.

5. Why are the programmes starting late?

This is due to the lengthy negotiations between the Government and European Commission. The funds allocated for 2014 will be rolled forward.  There will be less time overall to commit the funds to projects and slightly less time for projects to spend it. All funds will need to be disbursed by the end of 2023.

6. Applications for ESF and ERDF should be made electronically – how do I apply?

Details on how to apply are available from each call specification.  All applications are to be currently submitted using the LOGASnet system.  Details on Registration should take about ten days.  It is recommended you register now to make sure you are ready for future calls.
Visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding for more information.

7. What outputs and results are projects required to deliver in return for receiving funding?

A key requirement of any organisation receiving ESF and ERDF is the delivery of targets. The Government is working through its proposals on the suite of Outputs and Results, including targets, with the European Commission as part of its negotiations. This will be reflected in the revised ESIF of each LEP. At the moment the LEP ESIF provides the best overview of the outputs and activities we are seeking in each area however the Operational Programme document will provide a strong indication of wider eligible activities.

For ESF there will be a suite of Output and Result indicators. The primary indicators for ESF are not expected to largely be different from the previous programming period. The core results will look at the number of participants into education, employment and/or training. Although (at this stage) we are still awaiting guidance from Government on Outputs, Results and definitions which may change. However, is also important to note that Local Enterprise Partnerships will have a strong influence on wider skills budgets and their influence over skills provision is embedded in the Government’s overarching commitment on skills included in Local Growth Deals so the local Strategic Economic Plan and ESIF remains an important point of reference.

8. What happens at appraisal?

In terms of general advice at outline stage, there are LEP staff funded by current-programme Technical Assistance who can provide advice and DCLG will also advise where suitable.  At full application stage, DCLG’s Growth Delivery Team (GDT) for the North West  will be the lead contact, though there will not be a ‘ Project sponsor’ or other dedicated project development support as there was in the previous programme as resources do not allow for this. Although limited support from the LEP and TA Staff will therefore be important in the ongoing development of your bid.

In terms of assessment, for most calls, applications will not be assessed until the call has closed. The ESIF Committee / LEP will provide their initial assessment of strategic fit and the DCLG GDT team will appraise the ‘Outline Bid’ based on the published gateway criteria and selection criteria. Projects that pass Outline appraisal and are selected for strategic fit will then be invited to proceed to ‘Full Application’, subject to budget availability. There is no formal appeals process so it is important to make sure you have wide support for your project with partners and that you have a strong strategic and eligibility fit with your project. 

9. Do I require match funding?

For ERDF, ‘Contributions in kind’ are ineligible as match funding, except for the donation of land and buildings subject to certain conditions which are outlined in the ERDF Eligibility Rules. Volunteer time can sometimes be used as match funding in the European Social Fund.

Contribution of staff time as match funding may be included for ERDF or ESF but only if the employing organisation is either the lead applicant or a named delivery partner in the application.

10. Can projects be co-financed with fees from the businesses its supports?

This depends how the project is structured.  It is possible to include SME contributions as match funding provided that the contributions do not come in directly to the applicant body as income.  Where it is seen as income, then the fee will be deducted from the eligible project costs.

For an incubator centre the kinds of activities that are likely to be used as matching funding are purchase of land capped at 10% of project eligible cost, independent assessed value of the land/building, lead applicant cash funds, the full time of project manager and private sector partner cash funds.