European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) June UPDATE

ERDF
This is a short update providing the latest news on the first ERDF Calls for projects!

Even though the ERDF Operational Programme (OP) has not yet been completed by the government and the European Commission, the managing authority, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), decided to issue calls for projects to enable projects to “hit the ground running” once the OP has been signed, which is expected to be the end of June or the beginning of July 2015.

The initial ESIF Calls were released on Friday 20th March and it has been a challenging time for all concerned as the application process was new to everyone involved.

The advice for those of you intending to submit applications over the next year is to register on the LOGASnet system ASAP. You can do this now by sending an email to esif1420.ITqueries@communities.gsi.gov.uk. Put ‘Register to apply for ESIF’ in the subject line. In the email, include your full name, full name of your organisation, email address and your phone number (including extension). Once you have registered to use the online system you will be contacted with instructions and you can start working on your outline application while you wait for calls to come out.

Due to some applicants experiencing problems with the LOGASnet system a Word version of the application form was made available and DCLG decided to accept Word versions as a temporary measure.

It is understood that everyone bidding for Cheshire and Warrington ERDF had their applications submitted on time and have since received notifications of receipt. If you haven’t please get in touch and we will look into it for you.

This was why we at the LEP advise you to have early conversations with us so we are aware of your potential bids and we can work with you every step of the way.

Applicants will still be expected to submit an application using the IT system and should do so as soon as they can access the IT system.

Cheshire and Warrington released 3 calls for projects

The first was for ERDF and ESF Technical Assistance. This was both a local and national Technical Assistance call looking for projects which would deliver support for the development of projects, capacity building and publicity activities. Under this call there was one overall Outline application deadline of 30 October 2015, so technically this call remains open until then. There were 3 other review points, which meant that projects that need to get started quicker were able to apply earlier and have their submissions assessed.

The first review was set for 27th April 2015 so this is well underway. We expect to hear the results of the first tranche of projects allowed to progress to Stage 2 towards the end of June.

Then there is a second review of applications received on or before 30 June 2015, a third review of applications received 1st September 2015 and then the final deadline in October.

The second call was under Priority 1 – Innovation. This call was looking for projects that would help to increase investment in research and innovation by small and medium sized enterprises and increase the number of small and medium sized enterprises engaged in knowledge exchange, collaborative and contract research and innovation with research institutions, public institutions or large enterprises in order to help them bring new products and processes to market.

This call for projects closed on 27th May and we are awaiting these bids to be sent to the appropriate project development teams within the managing authorities. When we have further information for you we will update this page.

The third and final call was under Priority 3 – SME Competitiveness. This call was looking to increase entrepreneurship, particularly in areas with low levels of enterprise activity and amongst under-represented groups and increase the growth capacity of small and medium sized enterprises.

This call for projects closed on 29th May and, as above, we are awaiting these bids to be sent to the appropriate project development teams within the managing authorities. When we have further information for you we will update this page.

As usual applicants were advised to read details on the selection and assessment of projects and the guidance and requirements on key areas of the funds. Any successful applicant will need to comply with these. There was a list which also included the latest draft version of the European Regional Development Fund Operational Programme which is also available to refer to. You can find all this information on the Gov.uk website:
https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds

Projects wanting to deliver in Cheshire and Warrington LEP area need to keep up to date with our ESIF Strategy:
http://www.871candwep.co.uk/resources/european-structural-and-investment-funds-strategy-for-2014-to-2020/

Projects also have to align with the Cheshire and Warrington Strategic Economic Plan and assist in our determination to deliver our 3 priorities or one of the Enabling Programmes:
http://www.871candwep.co.uk/strategic-economic-plan/

Be aware though that all activity will need to be eligible ERDF activity. Some activity is not! E.g. you won’t get ERDF money to build a motorway or a housing estate! Another reason why it is good to involve the LEP at every stage!

If your outline application is successful, DCLG will contact you and ask you to make a full application. There are numerous steps before this can be done but that is something I can explain in the next ERDF News Bulletin, where I will outline the procedures we as a LEP have to go through.

We all wait to hear the outcomes of the first ERDF calls for the 2014 – 2020 ERDF Operational Programme. Meanwhile, if you have any further questions then please do get in touch with me at jane.baker@871candwep.co.uk and I will endeavour to help you or direct you to the correct person to work with you.

Good Luck
JB