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ESF LUPS Changes to the Operational Programme

Background and Application Process for Priority 5

04 August 2010

Background to Proposed Amendments

Our ESF programme was designed before the recession and the structure has not been revised despite facing significantly changed economic realities. The Fraser Report in 2009 considered the fit of the ESF programme with the socio-economic situation in the immediate economic downturn and moving into recovery, against the socio-economic situation at the time when the programme was planned. While the Report found that there was still a broad fit, it recommended that the remaining funding for the Lifelong Learning Priority 3 be moved into the Employability Priority 1 - a recommendation approved by the Programme Monitoring Committee (PMC) and carried through in time for the 3rd Round awards.

With such changed economic realities it is no surprise that we have seen significant over-subscription for ESF Priority 1, which reflects a real need for intervention. Similarly, in Priority 2, there is little demand for workforce development skills; employers have found it hard enough to minimise redundancies, let alone find the additional resources to develop current employees further or to allow workers time off to develop transferable skills. The last 2 years has been a time fully occupied dealing with the immediate global economic crisis, but now is the time to concentrate on the creation of new access structures and plan for the future.

Programme Monitoring Committee and Ministerial Decisions

The PMC discussed options for changes to the Operational Programme at the March 2010 meeting. A more detailed options paper was then discussed with the European Commission on 22 April, and presented to the PMC on 27 May 2010 at an additional meeting. At this meeting, the PMC recommended to Scottish Ministers that an amendment should be made to the LUPS Operational Programme to prepare a new Priority 5 Strategic Skills Pipeline. They also agreed there would be no further challenge round for Priority 1, 2 or 3 and that all unallocated funding should be moved into the new Priority 5 (approximately €62 Million).

Ministers considered this and asked for a steering group of partners to look further at the detail of implementation and the new indicators and targets for such a Priority. This Group met first on 5 June and again to agree a final position on 29 June. The Head of the LUPS ESF Managing Authority and the Head of the European Structural Funds Division met Mr Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism later that day. He agreed that a submission should go to the Commission seeking the change to the Operational Programme to vire the remaining un-allocated funds into a new Priority 5 Strategic Skills Pipeline. This request was sent to the Commission on 14 July 2010.

Priority 5 Strategic Skills Pipeline

The main focus of the new Priority 5 will be the linking of needs and opportunities at local level and this will be done largely, but not exclusively, through CPP bids to fund local strategic skills pipelines. Complementary (not competing) national bids would be accepted from SFC, STUC, SDS, and a consortium of national Third Sector organisations where a local approach to address certain groups' needs (such as ex-offenders) would be too complex and where best value could be demonstrated by a national approach complementing the local plans.

ESF LUPS Managing Authority

4 August 2010