INTERIM PROGRESS REPORT

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1 CARDS 2004 Local Partnerships for Employment Phase 2 This project is funded by the European Union EuropeAid/121013/C/SV/HR: Service Contract No EU CARDS 2004 Local partnerships for employment - Phase 2 INTERIM PROGRESS REPORT No. 3 NOVEMBER MAY 2007

2 General Information Report INTERIM PROGRESS REPORT No. 3 Period covered by the report 1 November May 2007 Project number Project title Locations of implementation Date of the commencement of the contract Date of the completion of the contract Name and Surname of the contact person Position Project Office EuropeAid/121013/C/SV/HR: Service Contract No EU CARDS 2004 Local partnerships for employment - Phase 2 The 4 counties of: Brodsko-posavska; Pozesko-slavonska; Karlovacka; Licko-senjska 7 November May 2007 Peter Newman Team Leader Croatian Employment Service - Central Office Radnicka cesta 1, Zagreb Project Telephone number (01) Project Fax number (01) Project Company Address WYG International Ltd Newstead Court, Little Oak Drive, Sherwood Business Park, Annesley Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom. NG15 0DR Company Telephone number Company Fax number Company

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Introduction and Summary of Achievements Introduction Summary of Achievements 2 2. Summary of Progress in the period November May Identification of counterparts and information gathering Strategy design Design of local partnership project Implementation of local partnership project Dissemination Key Issues in Implementation Project Management Timetable of Activities 21 ANNEX List of Documents Previously Submitted

4 ABBREVIATIONS CARDS CES CFCU EC ESF HRD IPR LPE Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation Croatian Employment Service Central Finance and Contracting Unit European Commission European Social Fund Human Resource Development Interim Progress Report Local Partnership for Employment LPE-1 Local Partnership for Employment - Phase 1 LPE-2 Local Partnership for Employment - Phase 2 MELE MSTTD NEAP NGO PIU RD ROP TA TNA ToR TWG-HRD VET Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship Ministry of Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development National Employment Action Plan Non-Governmental Organisation Project Implementation Unit Regional Development Regional Operational Programme Technical Assistance Training Needs Analysis Terms of Reference Thematic Working Group on Human Resource Development Vocational Education and Training

5 1. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY OF ACHIEVEMENTS 1.1 Introduction This Interim Progress Report (IPR) No 3 of the EU CARDS 2004 project "Local Partnerships for Employment - Phase 2" (LPE-2) covers the 6 month period from November 2006 to the end of the project on 6 May The Terms of Reference (ToR) identify the objectives of the project as follows: The overall objective of the project is to strengthen the capacity of local actors to design and implement training and active labour market measures within the framework of a local partnership approach and by using European Social Fund (ESF) procedures. The specific objective is to ensure that the regional operative goals as outlined in the Regional Operational Programmes of 4 counties in Croatia are complemented by appropriate human resource development (HRD) measures taking into account the methodology developed through CARDS 2002 Local Partnerships for Employment project. After the inception phase, the five primary phases of the project are: Phase 1: Identification of counterparts and information gathering Phase 2: Strategy design Phase 3: Design of local partnership project Phase 4: Implementation of local partnership project Phase 5: Dissemination The expected results (as described in the TOR) are: 1. Labour market knowledge at county level improved. 2. The ability to foster HRD at county level increased. 3. Awareness of ESF principles and mechanisms among local counterparts in all 4 counties raised local partnerships being the principal approach to planning and implementation. Local partnerships formed in each county and their members properly trained in ESF principles and mechanisms. 4. Unemployment rate at county level reduced. Active labour market measures through local partnership projects in all 4 counties designed and successfully implemented, meeting their activity output indicators. 5. Awareness of ESF rules and procedures raised among HRD regional policy actors. The geographical area covered by the project consists of the four counties of Brodskoposavska, Pozesko-slavonska, Karlovacka and Licko-senjska which were identified in the ToR. In these counties, the project focuses on HRD actions which are complementary to the measures of the relevant Regional Operational Programmes (ROPs). The ROPs describe a socio-economic vision and strategy for each county, with the associated objectives and priorities. The Contracting Authority is the EC Delegation in Zagreb. The project Partner Institution is the Croatian Employment Service (CES). Through its network of 22 regional and 92 local offices, the CES is in charge of job mediation; preparation for employment; vocational and career guidance; and the implementation of 1

6 Croatian labour market policy including active labour market measures. The CES National Employment Action Plan 2004 seeks to promote a multi-agency strategy towards redevelopment, including working in local partnerships of employers, trade unions, public institutions (especially education) and NGOs. The Contractor is WYG International Ltd, and the team of long term experts are referred to as the project team in this report. This Interim Progress Report (IPR): details the progress that was made in the November May 2007 period; identifies key issues which have been highlighted during implementation; summarises the overall project management situation. 1.2 Summary of Achievements The main achievements during the November May 2007 period can be summarised as follows: Labour Market Analysis The main outcomes in this period were that: the Labour Market Reports for each county, the inter-regional study (a comparison between the four counties and Croatia as a whole) and an international study were all finalised. Together, these documents constituted the Labour Market Analysis for each county; the "Manual on Labour Market Analysis for Croatia" was finalised; each county carried out a second "Employment Barometer Survey". Local Structures for partnership development / HRD strategy During this period: local structures and frameworks for implementation of the project continued to function; ROP Thematic Working Groups on Human Resource Development (TWG-HRD) continued to operate. These were the Local Partnerships for Employment, as envisaged under this project; in each county, a HRD strategy was developed and approved by the Regional Partnership Committee and the County Assembly; a proposal was developed for a Strategy for the Establishment of a County HRD Council. Design of local partnership project According to the ToR, this phase of the project is concerned with the training of counterparts: firstly on the ESF approach; and secondly, on the design and management of a local project(s) which could attract funding through the grant scheme or from alternative funding sources. During this period: 2

7 representatives of the institutions/organisations which are members of the TWG-HRD (the local partnerships for employment) completed the final third module of the 3 x 3 day residential training modules which focused on Project Cycle Management. The whole programme of training was aimed towards ensuring that participants are able: to develop appropriate project(s) and identify sources of financing or co-financing; to identify solutions for implementation; and to manage projects and monitor their performance; a total of 12 project proposals were formally submitted with the support of the TWG- HRD to the LPE Grant Scheme which covered the 8 counties of LPE-1 and LPE-2. Of these proposals, 11 passed the pre-selection phase of the evaluation of the concept note; the provisional result of the evaluation of the 11 full applications was that 5 projects were provisionally selected for a grant and 2 projects were placed on a reserve list; a total of 7 project proposals were submitted to other funding sources; the results of these applications had not been announced by the end of the LPE-2 project. Implementation of local partnership project According to the ToR, Phase 4.1 of this LPE-2 project deals with the on-the-ground implementation of local projects which have been designed through the partnership process and which have succeeded in obtaining funding or other resources for their execution. However, the contracting process for the LPE grant scheme had not been concluded by CFCU before the LPE-2 project came to an end on 6 May Consequently, implementation of the successful local projects did not begin and it was not be possible to directly support any projects which received funding through this scheme. As required by Phase 4.2 of the LPE-2 Project ToR, final meetings of the TWG-HRDs took place. These meetings: reviewed progress over the work of the project; identified examples of best practice which could be transferred to other counties; identified lessons learned. The TWG-HRDs will continue in existence after this LPE-2 project has ended. Dissemination During this period: a review of existing materials from CARDS 2002 LPE-1 was carried out. The general conclusion of this review was that these existing materials could be complemented by examples of projects and partnerships; two further documents were developed. These provided a collection of examples and details of internet information sources; an overall package of materials was produced in both languages. This consisted of three related documents: - Review of existing materials developed through CARDS 2002 project "Local Partnerships for Employment; - CARDS 2004: A Collection of Examples of: HRD Projects; Project Cycle Management; Local Partnerships; Monitoring and Evaluation Reports; - CARDS 2004: HRD in the European Union: Internet Information Sources. 3

8 a national final conference was held in order to present the results of the project and to demonstrate its impact; a project CD of "Main Documents and Materials produced during the Project" was created. This was included in the package of materials given to the participants at the Final Conference. It was also widely distributed at county and national levels. 4

9 2. SUMMARY OF PROGRESS IN THE PERIOD NOVEMBER MAY 2007 The summary of progress is now presented within the overall framework of the 5 phases identified above. However, it is recognised that there is inevitably some overlap between the various activities which have been undertaken, and that activities do not necessarily fit simply into one phase. Equally, as described in the Inception Report and in the previous two Interim Progress Reports (IPRs), the actual activity of partnership development is not specifically covered in the ToR, although it is an integral part of the project. All reports, documents, letters etc. referred to in this IPR have all been previously submitted to the EC Delegation and CES, as individual papers and/or Annexes to monthly reports. For convenience, a list of these documents is annexed to this report. Where necessary, a brief reference is made to the progress during the previous reporting periods (as in IPRs Nos 1 and 2, up to end October 2006) in order to set the context for the November May 2007 period. 2.1 Identification of counterparts and information gathering Identification of Counterparts / Project Presentations This element of the project ToR had been successfully completed during the period of the IPR No. 1. Project Presentations were held in each County during January 2006, with a total of 173 persons attending. These persons consisted of representatives of local administration; the non-profit sector; trade unions; the business community; the PMU implementing Regional Operational Programmes; vocational schools; and the media. In all cases, more than half the participants expressed an interest in working with the project as Local Partnerships for Employment were formed and HRD strategies were developed. Hence, a large number of counterparts were identified and engaged. As had been indicated in the Inception Report, the ToR are not specific about the exact point during the project when the local partnership for employment should be created in each county. In effect, the process of creating partnerships began immediately after the Project Presentations in each county. This ultimately led to the creation of the Thematic Working Groups on HRD which are considered in detail later in this report. Information Gathering - Labour Market Analysis The two main elements of the information gathering activity consisted of a review of existing information and the design and implementation of a regional labour market survey. Together they constituted a labour market analysis. In January 2006, Mr Thomas Kinch-Jensen had been approved by the EC Delegation as the short-term international expert to lead this task. After visits to counties and taking account of the then concurrent nationwide labour market survey by CES, the project developed a very short and highly targeted project survey - "Employment Barometer Survey" - which could reveal a great deal of information about the labour market in the 4 counties - particularly as a basis for identifying trends. The size, nature and focus of the project survey in the 4 counties was therefore very different from the CES national survey. Following the project survey which was carried out by CES staff in April/May 2006, a draft Labour Market Report was produced for each county, based upon the surveys and upon official statistics and administrative records. These draft reports provided an essential basis for the continuing work of the Thematic Working Groups on HRD (see later in this report). 5

10 The nature and methodology of the project survey were described in detail in IPR No 1, identifying how the different economic sectors and enterprises were selected. IPR No 2 dealt with the processing and revision of data, and the production of amended Labour Market Reports which were subject to review. Alongside the development of the 4 County Labour Market Reports, two further draft reports were prepared in the April-October 2006 period with the use of data obtained from the Central Bureau of Statistics or collected by CES staff. These draft reports were an inter-regional study (a comparison between the four counties and Croatia as a whole) and an international study. These were also translated into Croatian and distributed to CES Regional Offices for comment. The first draft of an additional document "Manual on Labour Market Analysis for Croatia" was also prepared. In the period covered by this Progress Report, the 4 County Labour Market Reports, the inter-regional study and the international study were all finalised in Croatian and English languages. Each county therefore had a consolidated Labour Market Analysis, which consisted of its individual Labour Market Report, the inter-regional study, and the international study. This consolidated Labour Market Analysis for each county was distributed electronically. The four Labour Market Analyses were all included on the project CD of "Main Documents and Materials produced during the project" which was widely disseminated (see later in this report). The additional document "Manual on Labour Market Analysis for Croatia" was finalised and translated into the Croatian language. It too was distributed electronically and included on the project CD. Second "Employment Barometer Survey" When the project "Employment Barometer Survey" was introduced and implemented in March/April 2006, it was stressed that the full benefit of the approach would be felt if the survey could be repeated on a regular basis (ideally every six months) in order to determine trends. Accordingly, each of the CES Regional Offices decided to carry out a repeat of the "Employment Barometer Survey" in November/December It took some time for the results to be processed, and reports on the second survey were annexed to the project's monthly report for March Although a third employment barometer survey was scheduled to take place in March 2007, this was postponed because a national CES survey was being carried out at this time. Employers would have had two different surveys at the same time, and CES staff did not have sufficient resources for two simultaneous surveys. This raised the question for the future of how the two kinds of surveys could better complement each other. CES Regional Offices intend to carry out the third barometer survey later in Strategy design The main element here is the creation of a HRD strategy in each county. Partnership development was seen to be a critical part of this process (although not specifically covered by the ToR). It was quickly recognised that there had to be an integrated approach with the Regional Operational Programmes (ROP) structure, particularly in view of the project's specific objective. 6

11 As fully described in the IPR No 1, national strategic guidance from CES, MELE and MSTTD provided the framework for co-operation and linkage at the regional / county level between the ROP and the Local Partnerships for Employment. Establishment of Local Partnerships for Employment - the Thematic Working Groups on Human Resource Development As a result of the national strategic guidance (issued on ), all 4 counties followed the preferred model, and established a Thematic Working Group on Human Resource Development (TWG-HRD) as part of the structures of the Regional Partnership Committee. The TWG-HRD became the Local Partnership for Employment as envisaged under this CES project. Hence, local structures and frameworks for implementation of the project were agreed and functioning. Each TWG-HRD consisted of members from a wide range of institutions/organisations covering the 3 main sectors: public, private, and community. The size of the TWG-HRD varied between counties: Brodsko-posavska, 15; Karlovacka, 16; Licko-senjska, 15; Pozesko-slavonska, 21. The TWG-HRDs continued to meet during the period covered by this IPR, with formal meetings as follows: Brodsko-posavska: 22 February; 21 March. Karlovacka: 28 November; 1 February; 6 March; 30 March. Licko-senjska: 25 January; 29 March. Pozesko-slavonska: 14 November; 27 February. There were less formal meetings than in the previous 6 months. The HRD strategies had been largely completed, and the main emphasis for members in November/December was on the development of project proposals for the LPE Grant Scheme (see later in this report). All the TWG-HRDs will continue in existence after the project has ended. HRD Strategy / Partnership Development By April 2006, the TWG-HRD in each county was seen to be the basic forum for the development of the HRD strategy, with the involvement of other stakeholders as appropriate. The TWG-HRD is the Local Partnership for Employment as envisaged under this CES project. Consequently, partnership development continued as part of this process. As described in IPR No 2, each TWG-HRD prepared a draft HRD strategy in consultation with other stakeholders. In 3 of the counties, the process of consultation had come to a conclusion, and revised versions had been prepared and submitted to the Regional Partnership Committee (RPC). The HRD strategies had been accepted by the RPCs as follows: Brodsko-posavska, 6 October; Karlovacka, 9 October; Pozesko-slavonska, 3 October. In November, the above 3 HRD strategies were approved by the relevant County Assembly: Brodsko-posavska, 14 November; Karlovacka, 14 November; Pozeskoslavonska, 16 November. In Licko-senjska, the final version of the HRD strategy was accepted by the RPC on 11 December, by a meeting of Directors of County Departments on 22 January, and by the County Assembly on 15 February. 7

12 After professional proof-reading of all strategies in both languages, arrangements for the printing of the strategies and the production of associated CDs were made in each county. As part of the project team's approach that local institutions should have ownership of the HRD strategy, the costs of printing and CD production were met by contributions from TWG-HRD institutions (including CES) and other sources, as well as from the LPE-2 project. This approach was also due to the limited amount of funds that were available within Incidental Expenditure for translating, proof-reading and printing of the HRD strategies. These printed versions and their associated individual CDs were widely distributed in each county, and were also formally submitted to the CES and the EC Delegation. Electronic versions of all the strategies were included on the project CD of "Main Documents and Materials produced during the project". Strategy for Establishment of County (Regional) HRD Council As part of the requirements of Phase 2.1 of the project ToR, the project team prepared a proposal for a strategy for establishment of a County HRD Council. Although the project ToR use the term "Regional HRD Council", the project team has used the term "County HRD Council". This was to avoid confusion with the recently announced proposal for 3 European NUTS II regions in Croatia. The strategy document for establishment of County HRD Council was formally submitted to CES and the EC Delegation. It was then distributed through the CES Regional Offices for consideration in each county. An electronic version was included on the project CD of "Main Documents and Materials produced during the project". Design of guidelines for grant scheme IPR No 2 described the design of guidelines for applicants (and the resulting issues) in respect of an associated grant scheme which had a budget of 650,000 euro and covered the 4 counties of this CARDS 2004 LPE-2 project and the 4 counties covered by the previous CARDS 2002 LPE-1 project. As the task of implementing the grant scheme was not part of this CARDS 2004 LPE-2 project, a Framework Contractor was appointed by the EC Delegation to assist CFCU (the Contracting Authority) with implementation. In September / October, some issues which would affect the work of the project team emerged in relation to the final version of the Guidelines for Grant Applicants which was to be published by CFCU. It should be noted that these guidelines differed in some significant respects from the revised draft guidelines which had been prepared by the LPE-2 project and submitted to CFCU and EC Delegation in July. The major differences were in respect of: the minimum grant level of 50,000 euro; the closing date of 2 January 2007; the eligibility of partners; the estimated time period for the evaluation and contracting process. A detailed analysis of these differences and the implications were given in IPR No 2. The Open Call for Proposals for the LPE Grant Scheme was published on 2 November 2006, with a closing date of 2 January In November, some further issues were brought to the attention of CFCU and the EC Delegation; these concerned: contributions in kind; situation regarding private enterprises; minimum number of institutions that constitute a partnership. 8

13 A meeting was held in November between the Framework Contractor (appointed to support the implementation of the grant scheme), CES PIU, and the LPE-2 Project Team Leader. The above issues were considered during that meeting, and it was agreed that they would be addressed in the information sessions which the Framework Contractor was providing for potential applicants. Development of Project Concepts and Proposals In response to the grant scheme and in conjunction with the training provided in Phase 3.2 of this LPE-2 project, project concepts and proposals were developed. This is considered in more detail later in this IPR. 2.3 Design of local partnership project According to the ToR, this phase (3) of the project is concerned with the training of counterparts: firstly in phase 3.1 on the ESF approach; and secondly, in phase 3.2 on the design and management of a local project(s) which could attract funding through the grant scheme or from alternative funding sources. The first training on ESF will be more technical and specific and will be aimed at the CES. The second part of training will be aimed at representatives of the local partnerships for employment which have been created at the local level, including CES representatives. Training of local counterparts on the ESF approach This training took place in Baska, Krk on 6-8 June 2006 as described in IPR No 2. In total, there were 21 participants from CES (20 from CES Regional Offices, 1 from PIU in CES Central Office). The major areas covered in the training were: - EU Employment and Regional Policy; - European Employment Strategy in practice; - European Social Fund; - Institutional Framework of the ESF Management System; - The role of Public Employment Services in the EU; - Project Cycle Management - introduction. The Evaluation Questionnaire completed by participants at the end of the training course showed that they had a generally positive response to the training. In response to a subsequent request made by the participants of the above Phase 3.1 training on the ESF approach, a proposal for an additional short workshop was submitted to the CES Director-General. This proposal was accepted, and the workshop on "Role of Public Employment Services in EU Member States" was provided in March 2007 in the CES Regional Office in Karlovac. The workshop was attended by 14 representatives from the 4 CES Regional Offices covered by the LPE-2 project. Training for local counterparts in the design and management of a project As indicated above, this second part of training was to be aimed at the representatives of the local partnerships for employment which had been created at the local level, including CES representatives. The finally agreed schedule was: Module 1: Tuesday 26 / Wednesday 27 / Thursday 28 September 2006 Module 2: Tuesday 17 / Wednesday 18 / Thursday 19 October 2006 Module 3: Tuesday 7 / Wednesday 8 / Thursday 9 November

14 A proposed framework for the training had been submitted and approved in June The approved framework identified that, for each county, there would be 8 training participants. These were to be representatives of the institutions/organisations which are members of the TWG-HRD. Within these 8 from each county, there could be up to 3 representatives from the CES Regional Office. During July / August, potential participants were identified by the TWG-HRD and by CES, and a Training Needs Analysis was carried out. All potential participants received a formal invitation to attend the 3 x 3 day residential training modules. This included a "Training Agreement"; by signing this, participants agreed to attend all 3 modules, and to share with their institutions the knowledge and experience gained. Venues Different venues were used for each module in order to take account of the geographic location of the four counties where the LPE-2 project is being implemented i.e. to attempt to fairly distribute the amount of travelling. IPR No 2 described the difficulties in finding a suitable venue for 45 persons (participants, project team, interpreters) in the east of Croatia which was of acceptable quality and within an affordable price. The venues were finalised as: Module 1: Hotel Zvonimir, Baska; Module 2: Hotel Turist, Varazdin; Module 3: Hotel Admiral, Opatija. Programme, Materials, and Delivery The WYG Project Team had met over 2 days at the beginning of July to develop the overall strategy, the broad content, and the programme of action for the series of modules. This was linked with the timetabling of the process for the associated development of project concepts (see later in this report), and the then anticipated scheduling of the grant scheme. For each Module, a programme and materials were developed, and submitted in the English language to the EC Delegation and CES PIU in advance of the Module. Arrangements were then made for translation into Croatian. Electronic versions were included on the project CD of "Main Documents and Materials produced during the project". The approved training programme was followed in each module, and all participants received a volume of training materials in the Croatian language. During the previous reporting period, Modules 1 and 2 took place as planned. Just before Module 1, there was a late withdrawal of 1 person from the Licko-senjska participants, and so the total number of participants at Module 1 was 32 (i.e. 8 from each of the other 3 counties, 7 from Licko-senjska, and 1 from CES PIU). A suitable replacement was subsequently identified in Licko-senjska, and hence there were 33 participants at Module 2 and Module 3. The list of participants at each Module was annexed to the relevant Monthly Report. The primary focus of the series of training was Project Cycle Management. The major areas covered in Modules 1 and 2 had been: Basic Terminology; Introduction to Project Cycle Management; The Analysis Process; Project Assumptions; Logical Framework Matrix; Planning and Results; Activity Schedules; Identification and Management of Resources; Funding Framework: IPA, ESF, eligibility rules; Budget Preparation; EC Practical Guide - Grants. 10

15 During this reporting period, Module 3 training took place as planned on 7-9 November in Opatija. The major areas covered in Module 3 were: - Financial Management - Project implementing organisations, and partnership - Project Monitoring - Evaluation - Successful project implementation - Preparation of Project Concept Notes - Presentations of Project Concepts, and Evaluation In workshops, each county prepared 2 Project Concept Notes using the guidance contained in the Open Call for Proposals for the LPE grant scheme. These were then formally presented to the whole training group. Each presentation was evaluated by the training group (excluding participants and project team members from the same county as the presenting group) in accordance with the standard Concept Note Evaluation Grid. The average evaluation scored grid was provided confidentially to the relevant project group. It was stressed that this was not a competition; it was an opportunity for each project group to see how others evaluate their project and to learn from that experience. All participants completed an Evaluation Questionnaire at the end of the module. Two documents were prepared from the data in these questionnaires: a form showing the number of persons who scored each category for the various questions; and a summary of the main written comments. Both of these documents were annexed to the November Monthly Report. The following table gives a synopsis of the scoring for Module 3. Question Excellent Good Average Poor Bad 1. Training Materials Structure of Training Programme Content of Training Sessions Trainers Venue Overall Quality Total numbers % 35.4% 2.5% It can be seen that the participants gave a very positive response to the training. Module 3 concluded the 3 x 3 day residential training programme under Phase 3.2. The whole programme of training had been aimed towards ensuring that participants are able: to develop appropriate project(s) and identify sources of financing or co-financing; to identify solutions for implementation; and to manage projects and monitor their performance. At the end of Module 3, all participants received a Formal Certificate of participation in the series of training modules. 11

16 Development of Project Concepts and Proposals As described above, the focus of Phase 3.2 training was the design and management of projects, which potentially links in to the grant scheme - but it must always be recognised that other funding sources may be available. To make best use of the training, basic concepts of project ideas had originally been created and accepted by each TWG-HRD in advance: Brodsko-posavska 12; Karlovacka 5, Licko-senjska 7; Pozesko-slavonska 7. It was emphasised that some project concepts may not actually subsequently become concrete grant applications - it is natural that some project concepts would disappear. Each county was requested to select two of their project concepts to be used as initial working material in all three modules of the Phase 3.2 training. As mentioned earlier in this report, the publication by the EC Delegation and the CFCU of the Open Call for Proposals for the LPE Grant Scheme took place on 2 November. Specifically, during Module 3 of Phase 3.2 training, participants carried out an exercise of preparing a presentation (which was then evaluated) of an actual Project Concept Note (2 for each county) in accordance with the requirements of the Call for Proposals. LPE Grant Scheme Using the experience gained from all 3 modules, and with support and advice from the LPE-2 project team, formal concepts and proposals were developed with a view to submission to the LPE Grant Scheme by the closing date of 2 January The eventual result was that a total of 12 proposals were submitted with the support of the TWG-HRD in the 4 counties covered by the project: Brodsko-posavska, 4; Karlovacka, 2; Licko-senjska, 3; Pozesko-slavonska, 3. In early March, applicants were informed that 11 out of these 12 proposals had passed the pre-selection phase of the evaluation of the concept note. It should be noted that the project promoter of the proposal which did not pass this phase had chosen not to consult with the LPE-2 project team in the preparation of the formal application. At the end of March, the 11 promoters of the projects passing the concept evaluation were informed by CFCU (the Contracting Authority) of the provisional outcome of the evaluation of the full application. These results were: 5 projects were provisionally selected for a grant; 2 projects were placed on a reserve list; 4 projects were not selected as they had not achieved the minimum score required for "financial and operational capacity" or "relevance". Bearing in mind that the grant scheme was open to 8 counties (LPE-1 and LPE-2) and that only 8-12 grants were available, it is very satisfactory that at least 5 projects from LPE-2 have been successful in their application. By the end of the LPE-2 project period on 6 May, there were no further developments as the evaluation process had not been concluded by CFCU, and no contracts had yet been awarded. As had been clearly described and anticipated in IPR No 2, implementation of the successful local projects therefore did not begin during the period of the LPE-2 project. Other Funding Sources As discussed earlier, the Phase 3.2 training was not simply focussed upon the LPE Grant Scheme. Its overall purpose was to enable participants to be able to develop projects which would meet national and local strategic priorities and should be eligible for ESF- 12

17 type funding from various sources. Support was therefore also given by the project team for the development of other project concepts and proposals for which application to other funding sources was appropriate. This enabled the submission of an additional 7 project proposals to the following funding sources: World Bank, Programme of Social and Economic Recovery (This fund is managed through the Ministry of Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development); CARDS Social Service delivery by non-profit sector. By the end of the LPE-2 project, the result of these applications was not known. Additionally, proposals were also being prepared for the grant scheme operated under the Phare 2005 project for "Active Labour Market Measures" which is based within the CES. The closing date for applications to this grant scheme is 5 June. 2.4 Implementation of local partnership project Implementation of local projects According to the ToR, Phase 4.1 of this CES project deals with the on-the-ground implementation of local projects which have been designed through the partnership process and which have succeeded in obtaining funding or other resources for their execution. Hence, this activity could not commence until local projects actually received funding - either from the LPE grant scheme or from other sources. As was fully anticipated in monthly reports and in Section 3 of IPR No 2, and indicated earlier in this report, CFCU's evaluation and contracting process took much longer than had originally been envisaged by the LPE-2 project team when the draft guidelines for grant applicants had been submitted in July The LPE-2 project team had anticipated that projects would begin to be implemented by the end of February 2007; this was based on the original proposed closing date of 30 November, and assuming a 3 month period for evaluation and contracting. As the grants had not been contracted by CFCU before the LPE-2 project came to an end on 6 May 2007, implementation of the successful local projects therefore did not begin and it was not be possible to directly support any projects which received funding through the LPE Grant Scheme. The LPE-2 project team did continue to assist the development of other projects which sought funding from other sources, but again the result of these applications was not known by the end of the LPE-2 project. Final meetings with local stakeholders The final meetings of the TWG-HRD during the period of the project took place in February / March as described earlier. These final meetings fulfilled the requirement of Phase 4.2 of the project: "Final Meeting with local stakeholders to evaluate progress achieved". In general, these meetings therefore: reviewed progress over the work of the project; identified examples of best practice which could be transferred to other counties; identified lessons learned. Reports of these final meetings were annexed to the monthly report for March The TWG-HRDs will continue in existence after the LPE-2 project has ended. 13

18 2.5 Dissemination The dissemination of the project results is important to sustainability (see section 4 of this report) and capacity development. This began with the Project Presentations in January 2006 and the distribution of a project leaflet. It continued with the formation of TWG-HRD, the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, and with the distribution of the draft HRD strategies for consultation. Review of CARDS 2002 LPE-1 materials; CARDS 2004 LPE-2 additional materials In accordance with the requirements of Phases 5.1 and 5.2 of the project ToR, a review of existing materials from CARDS 2002 LPE-1 was carried out. The general conclusion of this review was that these existing materials could be complemented by examples of projects and partnerships. It was also felt that the provision of relevant web-sites would be a useful source of information. This confirmed the experience of the implementation of the CARDS 2004 LPE-2 project. It was clear that beneficiaries and participants found it very helpful to have practical examples of HRD projects and local partnerships. Accordingly, the CARDS 2004 project team prepared two further documents which provided a collection of examples and details of internet information sources. An overall package of materials was produced in both languages, entitled: (A) Review of CARDS 2002 Materials (B) CARDS 2004: Examples and Information This consisted of three related documents: Review of existing materials developed through CARDS 2002 project "Local Partnerships for Employment; CARDS 2004: A Collection of Examples of: HRD Projects; Project Cycle Management; Local Partnerships; Monitoring and Evaluation Reports; CARDS 2004: HRD in the European Union: Internet Information Sources. The main method of distributing and using this set of materials was by CD. A limited number of hard copies of the materials were produced without the detailed individual project examples but with the contents list of examples. Hard copies of the materials and the associated "Materials CD" were formally submitted to CES and the EC Delegation. Copies of the "Materials CD" were distributed through the CES Regional Offices to the TWG-HRD in each county and to other interested parties. Final Conference The project team organised a national final conference in order to present the results of the project and to demonstrate its impact. A formal framework for the final conference, including a draft programme, was submitted to the then CES Director-General 1. The proposed framework was accepted, but with one exception. It had been proposed that all CES Regional Directors should be invited, thereby involving the 4 Regional Directors from LPE-1 and the remaining Regional Directors who could be involved in the future developments of partnerships in their counties. The then CES Director-General did not accept this; the only Regional Directors who were allowed to attend were the four who had participated in LPE-2. 1 It should be noted that there was a change in the post of CES Director-General on 19 April

19 The conference took place on 18 April in Zagreb. A total of 149 persons were invited, but inevitably there were other activities taking place at the same time, thereby reducing the numbers who were able to attend. Altogether there were 81 participants, with representation from the counties as follows: Brodsko-posavska 7; Karlovacka 14; Lickosenjska 8; Pozesko-slavonska 9. The national context was set by speakers from the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship and from the EC Delegation. A presentation was then given by each CES Regional Director on a particular topic which was common to all four counties, using information from all 4 counties. The topics were: Partnership Development; Skills Development / New Approaches; Labour Market Interventions; Future for Human Resource Development. There were also horizontal themes which cut across these topics: putting ESF principles into practice; capacity building; problems encountered; how problems were solved; lessons learned. In addition to these presentations, written information sheets containing the details of implementation in each of the 4 counties had been developed by the CES Regional Offices and the project team. These were included in the package of materials received by each participant. All participants also received the project CD (see below). Project CD A project CD of "Main Documents and Materials produced during the Project" was created. This was included in the package of materials given to the participants at the Final Conference. It was also widely distributed at county and national levels. The CD consists of: 1. Introduction; 2. Project Leaflet; 3. Labour Market Analyses: 1 for each county; 4. Manual on Labour Market Analysis in Croatia; 5. County HRD Strategies: 1 for each county; 6. Strategy for establishing County HRD Council; 7. Training materials for Phase 3.1: Training on the ESF approach; 8. Training materials for Phase 3.2: Training on the design and management of projects; 9. Final Conference materials. 15

20 3. KEY ISSUES IN IMPLEMENTATION In the section on issues for consideration during project implementation, the Inception Report identified some Project Management Issues and some wider challenges to project implementation. These remained unchanged over the implementation period. The Interim Progress Report No 2 had highlighted two new issues: (a) the low budget for Incidental Expenditure; and (b) the indication that it was unlikely that the evaluation and contracting process for the Grant Scheme would be concluded by CFCU before May Budget for Incidental Expenditure The LPE-2 project continued to operate with the implications of the low budget of 95,000 euro for Incidental Expenditure, particularly when compared to the 160,000 euro budget for the similar CARDS 2002 LPE-1 project. This led to considerable caution in the use of Incidental Expenditure, with actual expenditure for some individual budget headings being slightly less than planned (see the table in Section 4 of this progress report). The cumulative effect of this caution is that, in total, approximately 95% of the budget of 95,000 euro was actually spent. The project team would like to stress that the fact that the Incidentals Budget of 95,000 euro was not fully used should not be seen as demonstrating that the Budget was sufficient. As stated above, the under-spending was a result of the considerable caution in using the low budget. A higher (and more realistic) budget for Incidental Expenditure would have further greatly facilitated project implementation, particularly in respect of the overall standard of training venues and in the development and production of the HRD strategies. Evaluation and Contracting Process of the LPE grant scheme As had been fully anticipated in previous reports, and indicated earlier in this progress report, CFCU's evaluation and contracting process took much longer than had originally been envisaged by the LPE-2 project team. Although the provisional results of the process were announced by CFCU by the end of March, contracts were not awarded before the LPE-2 project came to an end in May Therefore, the successful local projects did not begin during the LPE-2 project, and hence the project team were unable to support their implementation. The LPE-2 project team did continue to assist the development of other projects which sought funding from other sources, but again the result of these applications was not known by the end of the LPE-2 project. Bearing in mind that the only element of the grant scheme which was the direct responsibility of the LPE-2 project was the design of draft guidelines for applicants, it is felt that it would be beneficial for any future grant scheme to be fully integrated into the tasks of the project ToR - with appropriate additional resources for the necessary organisation and management. Final Report As required by the Contracting Authority (the EC Delegation), the Final Report will briefly provide some general conclusions of the entire project. This will cover the issues of: ownership by CES; benefits of cross-county work; 16

21 initial training; skills of partnership-working; involvement of other CES Regional Directors; national framework for LPE; grant scheme; labour market survey; local consultants; project resources. 17

22 4. PROJECT MANAGEMENT The overall project management arrangements remained unchanged. The Project Team Leader and the Office Manager were located in the Central Office of CES. There was one key expert for each county where the project is being implemented. Each expert was accommodated in the relevant CES Regional Office, and was supported by a local consultant who was recruited through the project. Amended Logical Framework with Revised Project Indicators The Logical Framework as contained in the Project Terms of Reference had remained unchanged. The Project Team were asked to improve the Logical Framework by defining alternative "Objectively Verifiable Indicators" (OVIs) which were more suitable for monitoring and management purposes. An Amended Logical Framework containing these revised OVIs was developed and then agreed with CES PIU. This was submitted to EC Delegation; subsequently formal acceptance was received. In view of the emerging situation regarding CFCU's evaluation and contracting process of the LPE grant scheme, a new "Assumption" was added to Result Number 4 i.e. "Grants are awarded and contracted, and projects begin implementation, during the period of the LPE project". This was an issue that had not been recognised earlier, but which has had a significant impact upon project implementation. Factors contributing towards sustainability Further to discussion between the EC Delegation and the CES PIU regarding the sustainability of the LPE-2 project, the project team identified a list of factors which contributed towards sustainability. The list was agreed with CES PIU, and submitted to the EC Delegation. The four main areas of sustainability were: Establishment of Local Partnerships for Employment which were integrated into the counties' ROP structures; Creation of framework for HRD at County level, including development of a HRD strategy which was formally accepted by the County Assembly; Development of Local Projects; Skills Development / New Approaches, including increased capacities of local institutions and the gaining of new knowledge. Steering Committee A meeting of the Steering Committee took place in May; the main items discussed were the Final Conference, the Interim Progress Reports, and the draft content of the Final Report. The Committee also gave its formal approval to the revised project indicators and to the factors contributing to sustainability as described above. Croatian Employment Service It should be noted that there was a change in the post of CES Director-General on 19 April Use of project resources Up to the end of the project period, the number of person-days used is shown in the table on the following page. 18

23 Position Person-days Budget Person-days Used Percentage Used Team Leader % Key Expert: Brodsko-posavska % Key Expert: Karlovacka % Key Expert: Pozesko-slavonska % Key Expert: Licko-senjska % Short-term International Experts % Short-term Local Experts % All person-days were fully utilised. * * * Up to the end of April 2007, the position regarding Overall Incidental Expenditure as in the project's internal records was as follows: Description Budget Amount Used Percentage Used Overall Incidental Expenditure % Please note: in the above table, the figures used in the "amount used" column are from internal local project records up to the end of April. They will differ slightly from the amounts actually included in the official WYG Invoice because of differences in the applied exchange rate (HRK/EURO). There was also some expenditure in May. As previously reported, the LPE-2 project had continued to operate with the implications of the low budget of 95,000 euro for Incidental Expenditure, particularly when compared to the 160,000 euro budget for the similar CARDS 2002 LPE-1 project. This led to considerable caution in the use of Incidental Expenditure, with actual expenditure for some individual budget headings being slightly less than planned. The cumulative effect of this caution is that it is anticipated that, in total, approximately 95% of the budget of 95,000 euro will actually have been spent. As already pointed out, the fact that the Incidentals Budget of 95,000 euro was not fully used should not be seen as demonstrating that the Budget was sufficient, but it is rather a reflection of the considerable caution required in its deployment and planning. A higher (and more realistic) budget for Incidental Expenditure would have facilitated project implementation, particularly in respect of training venues and in the development and production of the HRD strategies. 19

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