The organisations and projects receiving financial support under ESF must comply with requirements laid down in EU regulations and Member State Operational Programmes and guidance. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in ESF activity being deemed to be ineligible with the result that the ESF must be repaid.
It is recommended that any organisation that is likely to be involved with the operation and delivery of the ESF programme in England and Gibraltar reads the relevant parts of the guidance and requirements carefully so that they understand their obligations. Please note that the devolved administrations will issue separate guidance on ESF in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Contact information is available in section 1.14.
This guidance has been written and structured to meet the needs of practitioners involved in the day to day management and operation of ESF. It also includes Action Notes issued by ESFD as the Managing Authority which detail changes to operational policy.
The guidance is divided into self contained chapters or manuals to assist those practitioners primarily in Co-financing Organisations (CFOs), Government Offices (GOs) and European Social Fund Division (ESFD). Although designed to be comprehensive, inevitably issues will arise that are not covered by the guidance and will need to be referred to the Managing Authority (MA) in ESFD and Government Offices.
There are seven manuals covering the key elements of the ESF programme:
Manual 1: Programme overview; eligibility rules; innovation and transnationality; and how to apply for ESF funding
Manual 2: Co-financing beneficiary guidance and requirements
Manual 3: Non-Co-financing guidance and requirements
Manual 4: Managing Authority guidance and requirements
Annex 11 - Article 13 forms and guidance:
Manual 5: Certifying Authority guidance and requirements
Manual 6: Audit Authority guidance and requirements
Manual 7: IT systems guidance and requirements
'The Compact and Procurement Law' (July 2009) answers frequently asked questions about Procurement Law, including EU procurement rules. Drafted with the input of specialist lawyers, the guide demonstrates how procurement processes can be designed so that they comply with procurement law, and are also flexible enough to support third sector applicants. The guide shows that Procurement Law is compatible with the Compact - a framework of principles for public sector bodies working with third sector organisations.