European Investment and Funding (ESIF)

EU Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020

European Funding update

The ERDF and ESF Operational Programmes for England (OPs) were agreed with the European Commission and HM Government launched the first calls for projects during March 2015. All applications are competitive. Applicants must be legally constituted and be able to enter into a legally binding Funding Agreement. Consortia can bid, but a lead organisation must be selected to be the lead applicant, this organisation will carry the responsibility and liability for carrying out a compliant project. Applicants can include, but are not limited to:

  • Local Authorities
  • Statutory and non-statutory funded organisations
  • Universities
  • Voluntary/Community Sector
  • Registered Charities
  • Not for Profit organisations.

Private, public and third sector organisations must ensure that projects comply with State Aid regulations. Individuals cannot apply.

Calls for activity are issued in line with agreed OP’s during the lifetime of the Programmes.

The DCLG local Growth Delivery Team has worked with the Black Country LEP to ensure that the content of the calls meets the needs and required outcomes identified in the Black Countries ESIF strategy. They have also engaged with local partnerships to seek their advice on local development needs and match funding opportunities. 

Following the referendum and the leave vote calls previously planned for September and early April 2017 have been cancelled, with a suggestion that strategically important, regional projects may be considered on an adhoc basis. There is, as yet, no definition of what a strategically important project is, or any process for presenting these projects for appraisal.

DWP are the Managing Organisation for ESF funding across the UK, and will lead on calls against the ESF OP covering employment, social inclusion and skills. A number of Opt-in organisations have been identified who will be working with DWP and the EU Commission to agree plans to provide match funding for key delivery in Local LEP areas partners.  ESF opt in organisations for the Black Country are the Skills Funding Agency and Big Lottery. These  opt in organisation will be responsible for match funding the majority of Black Country provision for Skills, Employment and Social Inclusion and will also be issuing calls for proposals on behalf of the Black Country LEP.

Recent ERDF calls included:

Environment and Resource Efficiency - Closed: 24th January 2016

Research and Innovation - Closed: 27th May 2016

Details of all calls can be found on the UK Government new ESIF Funding Finder on GOV.UK.

To support the calls a number of assessment and selection documents  and project requirements guidance are published on the GOV.UK website including:

  • ERDF State Aid Law Requirements
  • ERDF Eligibility Rules
  • ESF Eligibility Rules
  • ERDF/ESF Selection Criteria
  • ERDF/ESF Branding and Publicity Requirements
  • ESIF Logos and Publicity Templates
  • ERDF / ESF Technical Assistance Guidance and timesheet example
  • ERDF / ESF Outline Application Form and Guidance

More material may be added as it is developed.

All applications for ERDF and ESF will be made on-line and currently by email. Full details can be found on GOV.UK via the Funding Finder on each call page. 

The initial round of ERDF project calls were issued during March 2015. Further project calls will be developed through a defined schedule of call windows through to March 2017 to address the range of development needs set out in the OPs and in the supporting Black Country ESIF strategy.

On ESF, calls were made during the first half of 2016, the Managing Authority will have  undertaken appraisals of Opt-in applications and will seek advice from local ESIF Committees on the strategic fit of applications, and then similarly for responses to non opt-in calls for proposals as they close.

Anyone looking to submit an application in the Black Country who would like further advice can contact the Black Country Technical Assistance team who are happy to support project and bid development.

EU Referendum June 2016

Following the leave vote on the 23rd June 2016, there followed a period of uncertainty over the immediate future of local EU regeneration funding. There was an immediate and widespread call for the Government to guarantee to protect this funding and avoid essential growth-boosting projects stalling and the associated damage to local economies across the UK. 

During August the Chancellor Philip Hammond has confirmed that key projects supporting economic development across the UK will be able to proceed, ending uncertainty over their future following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. This will also cover critical Horizon 2020 funding under the EU framework programme for research and innovation.

The Government has confirmed that EU funding for the following projects will be maintained, including:

  • all structural and investment fund projects signed before the Autumn Statement  will be fully funded, even when these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU;
  • the Treasury will also put in place arrangements for assessing whether to guarantee funding for specific structural and investment fund projects that might be signed after the Autumn Statement, but while we remain a member of the EU. Further details are expected ahead of the Autumn Statement during November; and
  • where UK organisations bid directly to the European Commission on a competitive basis for EU funding projects while the UK is still a member of the EU, for example universities participating in Horizon 2020, the Treasury will underwrite the payments of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.
The Chancellor said: “The UK will continue to have all of the rights, obligations and benefits that membership brings, including receiving European funding, up until the point we leave the EU”.
“We recognise that many organisations across the UK which are in receipt of EU funding, or expect to start receiving funding, want reassurance about the flow of funding they will receive”.
“Structural and investment funds projects signed before the Autumn Statement and Horizon research funding granted before we leave the EU will be guaranteed by the Treasury after we leave”.