Initial note on Scotland’s EU Structural Funds and Scottish Rural Development Programme

 INITIAL NOTE ON SCOTLAND’S EU STRUCTURAL FUNDS
AND SCOTTISH RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A)   ABOUT THIS NOTE

Information provided in this Note is provided on a “need to know” basis, seeks to avoid Euro jargon, and is based on available sources as indicated.

This Note is provided with a “health warning” since Programmes and their delivery arrangements are evolving rapidly. An EU Funds Update will appear regularly in the Senscot Bulletin.

Since this Note gives advance information about funding developments, some of which may not yet have been officially announced, those organisations seeking to make initial progress should take note of actions recommended in this colour. 

An EU Funds Masterclass will be held at 1000 in the Teacher Building, St Enoch Square, Glasgow on Friday 26 June 2015. You can register here for this. 

B)   BACKGROUND – SCOTLAND’S EU FUNDS WITHIN UK PROGRAMME

The European Union has a Common Strategic Framework for its 2014-2020 Funding Programmes – the European Union Structural and Investment Funds, designed to bring about social, economic and territorial cohesion across the EU:

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF) – €11bn for the UK
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) – €5.2bn for the UK
European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) – €243mn for the UK

Though Scotland has its own Managing Authority, Structural Funds in Scotland are administered as a Scottish Chapter of the UK National Partnership Agreement, as adopted by the European Commission on Wednesday 29 October 2014. 

This note focuses on those parts of ERDF, ESF and the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) of most interest to organisations and associates of Senscot, Social Firms Scotland, Development Trusts Association Scotland and Scottish Community Alliance.  Where available, funding allocations to Scotland are taken from the Scottish Chapter of the UK Programme and allocated more specifically below where possible. More funding projections will be available in future EU Funds Updates.

C)   SCOTTISH STRUCTURAL FUNDS PROGRAMME 2014-2020

1)    Strategic Intervention Leads

In contrast to the centralised approach adopted for the two 2007-2013 Scottish Lowland and Uplands and Highlands and Islands EU Programmes, which were administered by two separate bodies, Scottish Structural Fund Programmes for 2014-2020 (ERDF and ESF) will be delivered through 14 different Strategic Intervention Lead Partners, each with a focus on which funds will be targeted, managed and co-financed to create transformational change and benefits.

This is a list of contacts for Lead Partner Organisations, including Local Councils. Many of these may not yet be in a position to provide potential applicants with further information at this stage.

2)    Details of Strategic Intervention Leads

These are details of ERDF Strategic Intervention Leads, which are not under the heading of Promoting Social Inclusion, Combating Poverty and any Discrimination which are included in the box below. Funding estimates are based on Scottish Chapter of UK National Partnership Agreement with the EU Commission and allocated where possible. 

 

 

The contents of this box, which feature ESF Strategic Intervention Leads, are probably of most interest to members concerned.

Promoting Social Inclusion, Combating Poverty and any Discrimination – €89mn ESF to be delivered by Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Partners.

This Scottish Government diagram shows how the 5 Social Inclusion Strategic Objectives below fit together and how these will be delivered.  These are the 5 Strategic Objectives:

Strategic Objective 21 – Financial Inclusion Programme, delivered through Big Lottery. 

Big Lottery has announced a programme of awareness raising events in 5 chosen Financial Inclusion areas – Argyll and Bute, Dundee, Glasgow, Inverclyde and North Ayrshire. Further details as they become available will be posted in the EU Funds Update in the Senscot Bulletin. Big Lottery is seeking projects which should deliver:

a step change in financial inclusion in 5 areas
innovations in affordable credit, debt advice, money management skills etc
proposing a service delivery contract in each area that joins up what’s there, adds to it and innovates, including consortium bids

Bids might include:

Tailored action plans
Provision of financial and debt advice
Provision of fuel/energy advice
Set-up of first-steps banking services and credit unions

Big Lottery has so far issued a Tender Prior Information Notice as part of its tendering guidance. Interested organisations are invited to complete a short Questionnaire for 12 noon on Monday 06 July 2015

Since these applications don’t have to be led by a public sector body, Senscot Partner organisations would like to explore a consortium bid. If your organisation might be interested in a partnership or consortium bid, can you please e mail Leslie Huckfield: les@huckfield.com

Strategic Objective 22 – Enhanced Employability Pipelines. Further details are provided here. Please refer to local authority contacts above. €170mn ESF is to be delivered by 32 Local Authorities. Five have already advertised for tendering or Expressions of Interest on Public Contracts Scotland. Further details about Employability Projects will be provided here as they become available.  This is the Note on Enhanced Employability Pipelines from Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development Group. If your organisation is interested, it’s probably a good idea to make contact with your local authority contact and register your interest. It’s also a good idea, if you’ve not already done do, to become more familiar with the main features of the Scottish Government’s Employability Pipeline

Strategic Objective 23 – Disadvantaged Communities to develop long term solutions to increase active inclusion and reduce poverty.  Scottish Government is currently working how this will be delivered and information will be made available as soon as possible.

Strategic Objective 24 – Increase the Sustainability and Capacity of the Social Economy to deliver support to the most disadvantaged areas and groups.  Scottish Government is currently working how this will be delivered and information will be made available as soon as possible.  Senscot, SFS and DTAS are already working on proposals for new Networks and Consortia under this Strategic Objective and will be in touch with those interested.

Strategic Objective 25 – Support and Encourage Social Innovation and Solutions. Scottish Government is currently working how this will be delivered and information will be made available as soon as possible. 

Youth Employment Initiative. This is a separate ESF initiative with €46.30mn matched by an amount from mainstream ESF, for NEETS aged 16 to 29. YEI is administered through Scottish Funding Council and 12 local authorities to focus on employer recruitment. Much of this will be delivered as a wage subsidy scheme and interested organisations might offer subsidised placements. YEI has two outcomes – sustained employment or entry onto and progress through accredited qualification. This initiative covers South Western Scotland and includes part of Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, most of North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire.  The Lead Partners’ Contact List above includes some Local Authority YEI contacts, with whom interested organisations should be in touch. Because of slow takeup difficulties, since Leslie Huckfield has been in touch with local authority and EU Commission officials, he would be pleased to hear from members on this at les@huckfield.com. 

D)   SCOTTISH RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (SRDP)

The SRDP will be delivered through a number of schemes, not all of which are directly farming related. Schemes shown below are of more interest to members. Provisional funding estimates shown are from Scottish Rural Development Programme Guide, September 2014 and Scottish Government Rural Payments and Services:

Agri-Environment Climate Scheme – £350mn This Scheme includes preserving historic environment and improving public access. There was a short initial bidding round from mid March till May 29 2015. Details of the next bidding round will be shown here as soon as information becomes available.
Rural Broadband – £9mn to be managed by Community Broadband Scotland for community projects to create, improve and extend superfast broadband infrastructure in remote and rural Scotland
Environmental Co-operation Action Fund – £10mn for facilitation of cooperative projects where there is multiple landowning
Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation £70mn to support development, including facilities, marketing and cooperative ventures
Forestry Grant Scheme £252mn for creation of new and management of existing woodlands. This Scheme to be processed through Forestry Commission Scotland.
Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund – £10mn (this is new to SRDP) may include operational groups and include vocational training, coaching, workshops and visits. Further investigation is needed on degree of relationship to actual farming practices.
LEADER. A budget of £86mn, with Scottish Chapter or UK Partnership Agreement showing €51mn earmarked for Social Inclusion. 20 LEADER Local Action Groups are currently devising their local strategies. Previous projects have included community account management, cultural events, museums, footpaths, landscape activities, skills, employment and broadband – now extended to include Farm Diversification. Each Local Action Group (LAG) has received allocations of funding for local community development projects and for Farm and Rural Diversification (this is new for LEADER) and for cooperation.