Welcome to NEP's dedicated ESIF portal

Significant progress has now been made at a national level and NEP is working closely with all Government departments and agencies to put in place implementation arrangements for all three strands of the ESIF programme – European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF) and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). For more information on these programmes please click on the tabs on the side of this page.

NEP is also committed to supporting partners keen to collaborate on the development of bids in response to calls, and will facilitate this collaboration to ensure that partners work together for the overall benefit of Northamptonshire, optimising match-funding opportunities.

Please complete the form under the 'Collaboration opportunities' section.

At a Glance

The European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) programme for 2014-2020 is now being rolled-out to local level with NEP responsible for implementing the ESIF strategy in Northamptonshire.

The strategy provides the basis for activity that will be supported by each of the three funding strands: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) which collectively make-up the ESIF programme.

Here, you’ll find the latest news, information and resources relating to the programme and project funding criteria. In fact, everything you need to stay abreast of ESIF developments in Northamptonshire including essential documentation, FAQs, links to live calls, latest ESIF news, useful links for further updates and collaboration opportunities; all in one place to help ensure optimum expertise, resources and match funding opportunities are deployed for the county.

Current events are also listed, these events enable us to work together to address key development issues for Northamptonshire.

The ESIF programme is delivered via three funding strands - click on the tabs below for information about each.

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
£23m funding available

A fund made available to support mainly businesses. ERDF targets are 1,200 established businesses and 640 new enterprises supported with almost 1,400 jobs created.

European Social Fund (ESF)
£23.1m funding available

Set-up to support mainly jobs creation and skills generation as well as social inclusion. ESF targets include 5,112 unemployed people supported, 5,785 inactive people supported, 4,742 employed people trained and 1,428 young people trained.

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
£2.2m funding available

Targeted investment for the rural economy in addition to the above two programmes.

Live Calls

The latest live calls for projects under the ESIF programme for Northamptonshire together with guidance can be found on the new ESIF Funding Finder:

1. For the call to run a project promoting research and innovation in Northamptonshire,
    the deadline for applications has passed but will be opening again soon.

2. For the call to run a project supporting hard to reach clients back into employment, CLICK HERE Closed 14 June 2016.

3. For the call for the provision of Skills Support for the Workforce (SFA contract), CLICK HERE Closed 27 June 2016.

4. For the call for the provision of Business Start-up Support (SFA contract), CLICK HERE Closed 1 July 2016.

NEP has worked closely with CLG to publish the first two local ERDF calls - Innovation and SME Competitiveness - and to contribute to the national calls - High Growth, International Trade and Manufacturing. 

These calls received a high response rate and were generally oversubscribed against the available funding. The local ESIF Committee considered those applications that DCLG had approved to progress to full application at their meeting in July 2015. Those projects that the ESIF Committee assessed as having a strong fit have now been invited to submit full applications.

A summary of interest and outcomes is provided below.

Latest News & Events

    Sorry No Events Available

Documents & Links

To download resources from our April ESIF workshops, please use the links below:

The Northamptonshire Local Economic Assessment
The Northamptonshire Local Economic Assessment provides an overview of the local economy in Northamptonshire. It aligns itself to NEP's principles of being intelligence led and builds an evidence base to support the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) and ESIF.

To download the document, click the link below:
The Northamptonshire Local Economic Assessment

Information on EU Referendum Result and DWP Contracted Employment Provision.

Useful Links

ESIF Programme Guidance

Core Delivery Principles

Core Delivery Principles

The Northamptonshire ESIF Committee has agreed a set of Core Delivery Principles that should be fully understood by individuals preparing a funding application.

NEP will appraise applications against Core Delivery Principles when formulating commentary and advice on their local strategic fit.

Impact and Scale

NEP wishes to make fewer, larger ESIF awards of transformational impact and scale with the benefits of ESIF funding being available to individuals and businesses across Northamptonshire. Applicants should demonstrate knowledge of the location and scale of their target beneficiary group or sector and how they will deliver high quality support to the greatest number of beneficiaries.

Projects should ideally demonstrate positive economic benefits in both urban and rural areas. To achieve comprehensive impact, applicants should demonstrate a clear rationale for their approach and potentially combine or align complementary delivery activities or collaborate with others to do so.

Delivery Readiness

NEP would expect applicants to clearly demonstrate the availability of match funding where required and their capacity to rapidly and effectively deliver the projects and programmes in their bid.

Added Value

Funded activity must not duplicate existing activity but demonstrate clear added economic and social value beyond what would normally be delivered. Good projects should demonstrate their strategic and operational fit with existing or planned delivery in the local area and extend the benefits of best practice provision.

Local Value

Applicants must be able to demonstrate how they will maximise the value of ESIF funding for Northamptonshire. They must demonstrate knowledge of local needs and the marketplace that they wish to operate in, particularly demonstrating their capacity for local delivery, utilising local skills and intelligence and maximising the added value to the local economy.

Equality & Diversity

NEP is committed to ensuring that the principles of sustainability, equality and diversity are embedded within the delivery of the ESIF programme including all relevant funding strands and throughout projects that may secure European funding.

Quality, Performance and Efficiency

NEP is committed to ensuring all ESIF funding provides an opportunity to enhance the quality of activities provided to individuals and businesses and will operate effective and robust performance management. NEP would expect applicants to demonstrate efficient operations with funding for delivery maximised and funding spent on administration or managing sub-contracting minimised.

Strategic Partnerships and Co-ordination of Market Engagement

Where applicants receive ESIF funding to engage with businesses and employers, to ensure that business engagement and marketing is undertaken in an efficient and effective manner, NEP would expect the funding delivery body to act in conjunction with NEP and the Northamptonshire Growth Hub.

Flexibility and Responsiveness

Applicants must be able to demonstrate how they will operate effectively and respond to changing and emerging needs to deliver NEP’s economic strategy.

Sustainable Development

Applying Sustainable Development (SD) principles to ESIF supported projects is necessary for ensuring that economic, environmental and social impacts and benefits are understood and unforeseen consequences avoided.

This is essential for meeting requirements set out in Article 8 of the Common Provisions Regulation: "The objectives of the ESI Funds shall be pursued in line with the principle of sustainable development..."

Specific environmental considerations in scope include resource efficiency, biodiversity and ecosystem protection and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

ESTA Integrating Environmental Sustainability into ERDF Projects

This advice has been designed to help applicants for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) monies understand and consider the environmental sustainability impacts of their project early on in the development stage. To view, CLICK HERE.



Like other LEPs, NEP has responsibility for government's Local Growth Funding and ESIF alongside (in the case of NEP) local economic development funding provided by Northamptonshire County Council. It is essential that the planning for and delivery of this funding is subject to the highest standards of transparency, accountability and visibility.

The NEP Board therefore agreed to develop governance arrangements which became operational in 2014. These are designed to drive forward growth in Northamptonshire, provide wide partnership input to strategy development and delivery, meet central government's tests for LEP governance and leadership arrangements and, importantly, discharge the financial, democratic and private sector accountability requirements for devolved funding.

These new arrangements bring together private, public, voluntary and community sector partners to drive forward the delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) and ESIF strategy and ensure that NEP's business is delivered to the highest standards of propriety and transparency.

In addition to the wider partnership governance structure, NEP, as a company limited by guarantee, has a Finance and Audit Committee which provides ongoing scrutiny to the business and its operations.

Collaboration opportunities

Potential Bidders / Partners: Expressions of Interest for ESIF

NEP has set up a simple form to enable organisations to express their interest in leading and sub-contracting bids for ESIF contracts in Northamptonshire.

This is open to providers delivering in Northamptonshire who would like to share details with other providers with the aim of forming new collaborations in readiness for future funding opportunities through NEP.

This is a free service and is designed to facilitate communication amongst providers. We are not guaranteeing the quality of any provider and this does not in any way replace normal due diligence procedures.

To register your interest please complete our short form below.

By submitting the form you give NEP permission to circulate your information to other providers who may make contact with you.

Potential Bidder / Partner Expression of Interest Form

This ESIF Expression of Interest form is open to providers delivering in Northamptonshire who would like to share details with other providers with the aim of forming new collaborations in readiness for future ESIF funding opportunities through NEP.

Please complete the form below and email

By volunteering the below information, you give NEP permission to publish it on the NEP website for other providers to view and make contact with you. This is a communication process only. NEP are not guaranteeing the quality of any provider listed and the information or expression of interest list will not in any way replace any formal due diligence procedures.

  • Contact Details

  • ESF Bids

  • ERDF Bids

    The PA1 call for projects under Research and Innovation is currently open. The deadline for outline applications is 27th May 2016. If you are interested in collaborating on this call please complete the form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Case Studies

As projects are approved, NEP will work with partners to develop and promote case studies. Please check back for future updates. 

Sign-up for Updates

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Help & FAQs


Will I need to provide match funding and, if so, at what rate?

In most instances, European money has to be ‘matched’ with other funds from the public or private sector. Sources of match funding could be from opt-in organisations or the applicants’ own funds dependent upon the nature of the call. This rule is used to lever in maximum value from other partners and reassures the European Commission that projects realise genuine commitment from local partners. As a whole, the ERDF and ESF programmes must achieve the match-funding proportions of 50%. Therefore, as a rule of thumb we will be expecting applicants to demonstrate they have this level of match-funding available to resource the project.

Can I work in partnership on a bid?

Yes. To collaborate with other partners please email and NEP will facilitate introductions.

What is an opt-in?

Opt-in organisations are national public bodies who offer to deliver locally tailored activities that reflect the requirements of LEPs and their own organisation’s main responsibilities. They will draw down ESIF monies from a LEPs allocation and provide the match funding needed from their own national funding programmes. The opt-in model allows NEP and its partners to join with national organisations or programmes to implement shared policy priorities.

Will I be able to apply for funding retrospectively?

In other words, seek funding from a start date prior to submitting an application? We are awaiting confirmation from Government if this will be possible. For ERDF projects and ESF directly-funded projects, it is unlikely. Separate rules are likely to apply for match funding used by ESF opt-in organisations.

How do I register as an applicant via LOGASNET?

The outline applications can be submitted online to an existing forms engine used by the UK Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) called LOGASNET.

To access the system, applicants must apply for a Government Gateway ID which can take up to 10 days to go live. To do this, CLICK HERE.

What is an Assisted Area?

Assisted Area status effectively permits the granting of additional financial support to organisations within the designated area. This support primarily encourages business growth and offers eligibility for regional aid but does not in itself confer any funding. Examples of support include grants for bringing unused business space back into usage.

22 wards within Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and East Northamptonshire have been included on government’s Regional Aids Guideline Assisted Area map for 2014-2020. This was a specific ask within NEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).


Need to ask a question? We may already have the answer. Please check our FAQ’s page first. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, please contact us



This page describes terms and acronyms most often used within the context of the ESIF programme.

Assisted Area Status

An area that is given Assisted Area Status is designated in European State Aid rules as being eligible for additional support for development. Areas with Assisted Area status are permitted to receive additional governmental support.

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development is a European agricultural fund which was set up for the financing of the Rural Development Programme.

European Investment Bank (EIB)

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union's development bank. It is owned by the EU's member governments and provides loans to support pan-European infrastructure, economic development in the EU's poorer regions and environmental objectives, among other things.

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is one of the European Union’s structural funds. These are provided for investment by member states to reduce structural imbalances in economic performance within and between the members. ERDF is mainly used to fund activity to stimulate job creation and improve business productivity and innovation.

European Social Fund (ESF)

The European Social Fund (ESF) is part of the European Structural Funds which seek to reduce differences in prosperity and enhance economic and social cohesion across the EU. The ESF was set up to help people into work and to invest skills and training of those furthest from the labour market.

European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) Strategy

For the 2014-2020 funding period, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), has been brought together into an EU Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme. The top priorities of this programme are innovation, support for SMEs, low carbon, skills, employment and social inclusion.

Freedoms and Flexibilities

A request for a relaxation or change to policy, funding or guidance which will help an area to better deliver its local priorities. There is normally an offer (we will do this) and an ask (if you do that). These are a key element of the Growth Deal.

Gross Value Added (GVA)

Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the contribution to the economy of each individual producer, industry or sector in the UK. It is used in the estimation of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is a key indicator of the state of the whole economy.

Growth Deal

A Growth Deal is an agreement between government and each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which outlines the support that government will provide and the activity, outputs, outcomes and impacts that the LEP will deliver in return.

Growth Hub

A co-ordinated approach to providing a central point of contact for business support.

Investment Priority

Each Priority Axis of the Operational Programme (OP) is made up of Investment Priorities (or Measures in the case of EAFRD and EMFF). The Investment Priorities are set out in the Commission Regulations governing ESIF and set out specific areas of activity. All activity funded by ESIF must contribute to delivering one of the Investment Priorities.

Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

In England, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses set up in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within the local area. There are 39 LEPs in operation covering all parts of England.

Managing Authority

The Managing Authority (MA) is the government department that is responsible for implementation of the Operation Programme (OP) in accordance with the ESIF regulations. There are currently three MAs in England – The Department for Communities and Local Government: ERDF; The Department for Work and Pensions: ESF; The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs: EAFRD and EMFF.

Match Funding

ESIF investment contributes to the costs of delivering activity at set percentage rates. The balance of the costs must be met by the organisation receiving the funds. This balance of funding is known as match funding.

Operational Programme (OP)

The Operational Programme is the document setting out the priorities for how the Structural Funds will be used and how they will be administered. These documents are prepared by government and agreed with the European Commission (EC). Operational Programmes include financial targets and targets for what needs to be achieved.

Priority Axis

The Operational Programmes are made up of Priority Axes. These set out the detail of the priorities for ESIF investment, the types of activities that will be supported, the resources available and the specific targets to be achieved.


Productivity is a measure of the amount of output per unit of input (labour, equipment and capital).

Regional Growth Fund (RGF)

The £3.2 billion Regional Growth Fund (RGF) supports eligible projects and programmes that are also raising private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment.

Strategic Economic Plan (SEP)

In order to secure funding from the Single Local Growth Fund, all Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) produced Strategic Economic Plans (SEPs) for their LEP area, identifying the opportunities’ and challenges for the areas growth and prosperity ambition's.

Technical Assistance (TA)

Technical Assistance is funding drawn down from the EC to support the administration of European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds. It is matched funded by contributions from those administering the funds. Throughout the life of ERDF and ESF programmes, the objective of Technical Assistance is to facilitate robust governance, accountability and partnership engagement as well as supporting the efficient and compliant management and implementation of both the ERDF and ESF programmes.

Thematic Objectives

The European Regulations governing use of the ESIF set out 11 overarching "thematic objectives for the funds. These are underpinned by specific "investment priorities" or "measures" which describe the broad activities that can be supported by each fund.

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