Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (People)
The Cabinet considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (People), that would also be considered by the City Council at their meeting on 25th February 2020, which sought approval for European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) Programme applications that had been submitted under a new second round of funding. The report provided information on each of the new bids and requested approval for the city Council to act as accountable body guarantor and delivery partner for these funding programmes.
The 2014-2020 ESIF Programme was launched in March 2015 and would now run until 2023 in the UK. A report to the Cabinet on 26 November 2015 (minute 70/15 referred) approved successful projects from the first round of funding under the programme. In that report it was noted that further rounds of funding would be available, and that the Council would seek to apply in those rounds. The Council had a strong track record in securing European funds in recent years and had secured in excess of £65m from the European Structural Funds since 2007.
However, the current EU funded employability support Programmes were due to come to an end following an agreed extension (until 31 March 2020 for the Priority 1.1, 1.2 and 1.4 programmes and 31 December 2020 for the Priority 1.3 programme). The Employment and Skills Service had therefore submitted bids for Phase 2 programmes which would run from 1 April 2020, or on a date to be agreed as soon as Funding Agreements had been issued, until 31 December 2023. Across all the bids the amount of ESF Grant being bid for in the Phase 2 round was £11.38m.
The further Council led applications had been submitted in the new programme under the Active Inclusion (Priority 1.1), Access to Employment (Priority 1.4), Sustainable Integration of Young People (Priority 1.2) themes and under the Youth Employment Initiative (Priority 1.3). The total value of all applications (Grant plus Match Funding from the City Council and delivery partners) was £20.56m with nearly 55% of these costs being made available from the ESIF grants to support those applications.
The Council had already taken a leadership role by bringing partners together from across the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership area to develop projects and programmes that would lead to improved employment prospects across the City and the sub-region. The Council had an outstanding track record of securing, managing and delivering EU-funded employability support programmes.
RESOLVED that the Cabinet:
1) Notes the success of European Funding through the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF), in delivering the City’s economic aspirations and continues to support the Council bidding for European Funds that are still available via the ESIF programme and which will support the objectives of the Economic Growth and Prosperity Strategy 2018-2022.
2) Recommends that the City Council:
I. Approves (if successful) the drawdown of the ESF grant funding, totalling up to £11.38m from ESIF to be utilised in delivering the City’s priorities as set out in this report.
II. Delegates authority to the Deputy Chief Executive (People) in consultation with the Director of Finance and Corporate Services and the City Solicitor to negotiate final terms and approve entry into:
(a) the grant funding agreement to secure the ESIF funding with the City Council acting as the Accountable Body for the funding: and
(b) back to back funding agreement with such delivery partners as is deemed necessary to deliver the City’s priorities as set out in this report.