GCGP LEP Area ESIF Sub-Committee. Minutes of the Meeting

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1 LEP Area ESIF Sub-Committee Second Meeting Thursday 5 th March 2015, 10:00 to 12:00 Minutes of the Meeting Chair David Gill Secretariat Members Till Specht Mick Lazarus Anan Todd Lucy Walker Ian Chapman Vicki Bidwell Julie Farrow Mark Cooper Aled Jones Bruce Choto Ostap Paparega Martin Clark Andrew Thomson Belinda Child Guy Mills Paul Phillipson Stuart Durrell Julia Nix Jonathan Clark Paul Bourgeois Richard Andrews Michael Barnes Steven Wilson Mark Reeve Martin Haindl DCLG BIS Local SFA DWP RPA Hunts Forum ARU/ Alliance for Sustainable Development TUC BCKLWN Allia ACRR Peterborough City Council Cambridge County Council Rutland County Council DWP DWP/ JCP Big Lottery Fund Anglia Ruskin University DCLG Apologies Astrid Jenkins Phillip Bradshaw DCLG NFU Item 1 Introduction 1. The Chair thanked members for their attendance at the second meeting of the ESIF Sub-Committee and invited members to shortly introduce themselves to the Sub-Committee. 1

2 Item 2 Minutes of the last meeting (3 rd December 2014) & Matters arising 2. It was pointed out that in the first paragraph of point 13 Job Seekers Allowance should be replaced with Employment and Support Allowance, as this is factually correct. Action: The Secretariat will update point 13 of the minutes from the last meeting to accurately reflect the facts. 3. The Chair suggested to debate item 8 on the agenda ahead of item 7 and this was accepted by the Committee. The Chair explained that the written procedures for ERDF calls would be discussed under item 8. Item 3 Action points from last meeting 4. The Committee asked whether the membership lists for neighbouring Committees had been made available to Committee members. Action: The Secretariat will the membership lists for Herts LEP, NA LEP, and SE LEP to the Committee members. 5. The Chair suggested addressing agenda item 9 next to give members more context for the following agenda items. The Committee agreed and agenda item 9 was brought forward. Item 9 ESIF Business Process 6. Martin Haindl presented the ESIF business process to the Committee with the help of, a flow chart of the business process. He stressed that working with local partners is a priority in this process. Going forward ERDF calls will be discussed at the Sub-Committee and will be finalized by the GDT afterwards, taking local needs into account. Calls are going to be published on gov.uk initially. After the outline application has been submitted there will a gateway assessment to decide whether the proposal shall be taken forward to full application stage. This process is consultative with the GDT asking the Sub-Committee for their views on local fit with the ESIF Strategy. 7. The Chair opened the floor for questions on Martin s presentation and enquired what the timeline for these calls would be. Martin explained that from publication of the calls to the start of operations an approximate timeline of five to six months would be realistic with operations starting in autumn this year for successful applications from the first round of calls. The Committee wanted to know whether there would be an opportunity to bridge the gap between the and the programme for those projects intending to apply again in the programme. Martin explained that this was the intention and that the reason for publishing the initial round of calls now was to get projects up and running as quickly as possible. Item 4 LEP Area Update 2

3 8. Michael gave a short update on each of the three funds to the Committee. On ERDF the update was in the context of the March calls. These will be national calls and the GDT had asked the LEP to give the local context for them. This was taken from the LEP s ESIF Strategy documents, which reflects the LEP s strategic objectives. While the timescale is narrow the calls are wide in scope allowing applications from many potential projects. Thanks to the ERDF facilitator team at the LEP now has a pipeline of about 40 projects, some of which are legacy projects that have been successful in the programme and are bidding to carry on under the new programme. On ESF there were no major new developments from a local perspective other than the employability specification, which has been passed on to DWP and is currently going through internal checks. Work on the SFA skills specification is progressing well and the LEP are engaging in partnership building together with the Big Lottery Fund to support their social inclusion agenda. On EAFRD Michael explained to the Committee that only five LEP areas nationally are preparing a March call and that would not be one of them. He added that, unlike ERDF and ESF, there would be no TA available but that the RPA will provide assistance to potential applicants. 9. The Chair asked whether the Committee had any questions following Michael s presentation. The Committee did not have any questions at this point. Item 5 TA Ambition 10. Michael Barnes took the Committee through s TA ambition, a document that the LEP had been asked to submit to inform a national TA call launching in March. TA is going to be used to make resources available for publicity and capacity building and is not a programme management resource, as this function rests with the Managing Authorities. The ERDF facilitators currently employed by are, for example, funded through the TA budget of the programme. TA will give the LEP area the capability to build additional capacity for the delivery of complex projects. 11. The Chair opened the floor for discussion. The Committee asked what the match funding conditions for TA operations would be. Michael and Martin stated that ERDF conditions apply to a TA operation and that the match funding could take the form of in-kind contributions or cash. The Committee wanted to know where the match funding would come from and Guy Mills stated his organisation s willingness to provide in-kind funding but not cash funding. Richard Andrews expressed interest on behalf of ARU. Item 6 Sustainable Development 12. Aled presented the draft Sustainable Development Principles for ESIF Projects to the Committee. He stressed the importance of Sustainability as a cross-cutting theme for ESIF and suggested that this document could provide a structure for Committee members and applicants to better understand Sustainability. The 3

4 document puts together the five overarching UK Sustainable Development principles: Achieving a Sustainable Economy Living within Environmental Limits Ensuring a Strong, Healthy and Just Society Promoting Good Governance Using Sound Science Responsibly It then populates these high level principles with some of the over 100 EU sustainability indicators. Aled Jones informed the Committee that the document had been created in collaboration with colleagues from New Anglia LEP and South East LEP. There were currently plans to meet with DCLG, Lincolnshire LEP, and Herts LEP to discuss the matter further. The Committee wanted to know what would happen if these principles were adopted? Aled explained that this would be the next step and that the principles should not be seen as a box ticking exercise but rather as an opportunity to embed sustainability in these operations. Martin stated that sustainable development is expected to be embedded in operations and Aled suggested that the document could help applicants to use the correct language when submitting applications. The Committee stressed that sustainability is not limited to environmental issues but goes much further including social inclusion. 13. The Chair asked the Committee whether the sustainability principles should be adopted in principle. The Committee adopted them unanimously. 14. Julia Nix provided a brief overview of the Equalities and Diversity crosscutting theme, explaining the importance of ensuring that projects across all the ESIF programmes embedded the principles of equality and diversity as required by the Commission. There was a join-up with social sustainability as contained in the principles shared by Aled. Julia commented that ESF projects in particular would be expected to embed these principles through their focus on social inclusion. Item 8 ERDF First Call update and National Programme update 15. Martin took the Committee through the calls process for ERDF. All calls will go live on gov.uk on the 16 th March. The deadlines for submitting outline applications are the following: PA1 27 th May PA2 6 th May PA3 29 th May PA4 20 th May BIS National Products 27 th April 4

5 The deadline for the full application is the 29 th July for the first 4 calls and the 10 th August for the BIS national call. The next round of calls will be launched after the OP will have been formally signed off by the European Commission, probably in June. 16. Martin then provided an update on the national programme. The Operational Programme (OP) for ERDF is very close to in-principle agreement and the final text has been submitted to the European Commission (EC) by Government. The OP will be published alongside the calls on gov.uk to give applicants context. The terms of reference for the ESIF Sub-Committees should shortly be in place and will be circulated to Committee members. Martin stressed that this is a locally driven process and that the input of the Committee is seen as essential to ensure local strategic fit. The Committee enquired whether handbooks and guidance on eligibility would be available when the calls go live. Martin stated that he would expect this to be the case, as these are necessary to put an outline application together. 17. Michael voiced his concern regarding guidance being available and also publicised a ERDF Call event on 24 th March, to which he invited Committee members. He also informed the Committee that the ESIF Strategy is currently being updated to reflect procedural developments but that the strategic part was still up to date. 18. The Committee wanted to know whether there were development plans for the Committee and/ or contingency plans for possible developments after the general elections. The Chair argued that this could either be treated under item 13 AOB or that the Committee could debate it now. The Committee decided to discuss this matter now. Item 13.1 AOB 19. The Committee voiced concern that the current meeting pattern might hold off approval of applications and it was suggested to meet more frequently, to pursue approval of un-contentious cases through written procedures, or to form a subgroup of the Sub-Committee. 20. The Chair suggested to form a working group that would comprise himself, Martin, Michael and a volunteer to work out the best way forward. Andrew Thomson volunteered to participate. Martin confirmed that it is the GDT s intention to address this issue of local working procedures at the monthly GDT/ LEP meeting. Action: Martin Haindl and Michael Barnes to explore the issue of local working practices at the next East of England GDT/ LEP meeting. Item 10 ESF National Programme Update 5

6 21. Ian Chapman gave an update to the Committee on ESF developments. He informed the Committee that ESF would not be managed by DCLG but that DWP would remain the Managing Authority for ESF. Progress on the OP is broadly similar to ERDF except that there is no in-principle agreement yet because the Commission has yet to conclude internal consultation on the text Government submitted. DWP continues to prepare for the programme launch and some calls will be launching in March. These will be mainly Youth Employment Initiative calls and those where Growth Deal funding forms the match element. Technical Assistance will be made available through a joint call with ERDF that will run until the end of October Ian gave an update on Opt-ins and those are being worked up at the moment. The Managing Authority sees these as a priority, as it wants to avoid not committing enough money ahead of the N+3 period. 22. The Committee inquired whether national targets would be available for ERDF and ESF. Martin answered that national targets for ERDF had been circulated to the GDT this week but that there was no breakdown for individual LEP areas yet. The Committee also wanted to know whether ESF would continue to be administered centrally from Sheffield, stressing the advantages of having a local team for ERDF. Ian confirmed that DWP is currently in a recruitment exercise to build local teams for the programme. Item 11 ESF Opt-In Updates 23. Lucy Walker provided an update on the SFA Opt-in, for which project initiation documents have been written but still need some rewriting. The bid will be for businesses to understand the benefits of training and to better target their training needs and will include a training grant to businesses. 24. Jonathan Clark provided an update on the Big Lottery Opt-in. Work is on-going on funding applications. These are generic national templates and there will be sections for the LEP specific details within them. They are currently looking at agreeing 50% of available funding to this call through a two stage competitive grant process. The activity will be in three broad areas: Barriers to work Financial Inclusion Social Inclusion and poverty There will potentially be 4 projects. Big Lottery Fund as lead partner will work with local delivery partner to ensure that these operations are locally driven. Launch of the calls is expected to take place in June/ July with a second round to launch in October/ November. Operations are expected to commence in early

7 25. Stuart Durrell and Julia Nix provided an update on the Job Centre Plus Opt-in. Their employability provision has been closely aligned with the SFA skills provision to avoid duplication and maximise the impact of the funding. Provision will be aimed at disadvantaged groups such as ethnic minorities, people aged 50 and over, people on employment and support allowance. The provision will include weekly contact with a case worker for up to 26 weeks including action planning and mentoring with an expectation to move people into work at the end of the provision. Item 12 EAFRD National Programme Update 26. Vicki Bidwell updated the Committee on EAFRD. The EAFRD OP had been submitted to the Commission in December and was signed off on 13 th February. Five LEPs are launching calls in March and these will be mainly for grant schemes to the Food and Drinks Industry, Assisting rural businesses in accessing green technology, support for micro businesses in the rural sector and for tourism. The RPA is currently working with all LEPs to develop calls for June. Vicki stressed that although there would be no TA budget available for EAFRD the RPA would be providing services to potential applicants that are similar to those activities funded under TA in the other funds. Future calls will take about two to three months to draft. Vicki stressed the need for a quorate endorsement of these calls by the Committee. RPA is going to write the calls on behalf of the LEP area feeding in content from the local ESIF Strategy. Potential projects will be assessed through a two stage assessment, similar to the ERDF process described above. The timeline assuming a June call launch and a three month call period would mean that projects would only start operating in the 2016/2017 fiscal year, as appraisal will take about three months. Vicki also provided an update on other EAFRD schemes that are about to launch or have just been launched, such as LEADER and the Countryside Productivity Scheme. Item 13.2 AOB 27. This item had already been addressed above and the Chair asked whether there was anything else the Committee wished to discuss? Michael informed the Committee that Phillip Bradshaw (NFU) was now the rural representative on the Committee, whose membership was therefore now complete. Mick Lazarus gave a short update on the ERDF calls for BIS National Products to the Committee. 7

8 Summary of actions Reference Action Owner Target date The Secretariat will update point DCLG 11 th June 13 of the minutes from the last 2015 meeting to accurately reflect the facts. The Secretariat will the membership lists for Herts LEP, NA LEP, and SE LEP to the Committee members. Martin Haindl and Michael Barnes to discuss local working procedures at the next East of England GDT / LEP monthly meeting. All local practices to be finalised at the earliest opportunity DCLG 1 st May 2015 Martin Haindl, Michael Barnes, 11 th June 2015 Future meeting dates: 11 th June 2015, 17 th September 2015, 3 rd December

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