Since our last update NEP has continued to work closely with the lead Government departments (Managing Authorities) and their agencies to implement arrangements for all three strands of the programme – European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF) and European Agricultural Fund for Europe (EAFRD). Below you will find the latest position on each programme to date.
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
NEP worked with DCLG to publish the first local ERDF calls (Innovation and SME Competitiveness) and to contribute to the national calls (High Growth, International Trade and Manufacturing). The calls received a high response rate and were generally oversubscribed. The local ESIF Committee considered those applications that DCLG had approved to progress to full application at their meeting in July 2015. The projects that the ESIF Committee assessed as having a strong fit have now been invited to submit full applications, some of which have now been submitted. You can view the levels of interest for each of the calls in the ESIF Portal, under the live calls, progress to date section.
A call under the Low Carbon Strand closed at the end of September submissions were assessed by CLG and considered by the ESIF Committee at its November meeting, with 2 of the 3 applications being invited to submit fully. A further call inviting projects under the ICT strand of the ERDF programme was launched on 30 November and closed on 29 January 2016. As a result of the call one project has been invited by CLG backed by the local ESIF committee to submit a full application.
The ESIF committee agreed to launch a further call for projects under the Innovation strand as funding is still available within the programme allocation. NEP will be holding a workshop to provide further details for potential applicants, for further details please email us.
Midlands Engine Investment Fund
NEP has been working with LEPs across the East and West Midlands to develop the case for a Financial Instrument (investment fund) to support SME growth, using a combination of ESIF funds and legacy funds from previous RDA investments. All LEPs have committed funds within their ESIF strategies and have commissioned various elements of research to support the need for the development of a fund.
Agreement has now been reached to go forward with a joint £250m fund across the East and West midlands under the umbrella of the Midlands Engine. It has been agreed by all 11 LEPs across the area that this should be delivered via the British Business Bank as an existing public body and similar to the arrangements in place for the Northern Powerhouse. This was officially launched by the Chancellor in his budget statement. Further information can be found here.
Work is now underway to confirm governance arrangements and finalise the investment strategy before fund managers are procured to deliver funding to SMEs. It is anticipated that this will be in place by the end of 2016.
European Social Fund (ESF)
Work has continued with each of the three ESF opt-in delivery partners (SFA, DWP and Big Lottery) on further developing the call for projects. Following the launch of the Big Lottery Building Better Opportunities fund and closure in August, a 3 partnership led consortia has been invited to submit full applications for the next round.
Good progress has been made on finalising and agreeing the tender specification for the DWP opt-in to support unemployed individuals back into employment, meaning the date for the tender launch has been brought forward to May 2016. NEP will be holding a workshop to provide further details for potential applicants, please email us for further details.
Work for the SFA opt-in has now begun. Focussing on procuring the first contracts, with an agreed timetable in place. The first contract tender will be released before Christmas, with NEP in the first wave of activity for the NEET contract. The Community Grants Contract was also launched in early February 2016 and closed on 16 March 2016. In the next round of calls NEP is expecting to have tenders launched for the Workforce Skills Contract and Local Responsiveness Fund equivalent by the end of March 2016 and the final contract for Enterprise Skills by the end of April 2016.
European Agricultural Fund for Europe (EAFRD)
A £750,000 call to support rural business development closed on 27 November 2015. The Rural Payments Agency has assessed these applications and presented them at the ESIF Committee meeting on the 16th of March 2015. 10 of the 17 applications were shortlisted to progress to full application. A timetable for future calls is being implemented in conjunction with DEFRA and the RPA.
In anticipation of future ESIF calls, NEP will be hosting two workshops in April 2016. Designed to support potential applicants interested in applying specifically for ERDF and ESF funded projects, these workshops are generally very well attended and early registration is recommended.
In relation to the forthcoming call for ERDF projects to support innovation, NEP will hold a workshop between 2 - 4.30pm on April 26, venue to be confirmed.
In relation to the DWP call to support unemployed individuals back into employment, NEP will be holding a workshop for providers between 10 - 12am on April 27, venue to be confirmed.
Further details of both workshops will be available after the Easter break.
In the meantime, to register please email us.
For further information regarding the Northamptonshire ESIF programme please visit the NEP ESIF portal.
Your login details have been used by another user or machine. Login details can only be used once at any one time so you have therefore automatically been logged out. Please contact your sites administrator if you believe this other user or machine has unauthorised access.