EU CONVERGENCE PROGRAMMES 2007-2013

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What are the Structural Fund programmes?
What are the Convergence programmes for 2007-2013?
What is the difference between the ERDF and ESF programmes?
Which areas of Neath Port Talbot County Borough are eligible for funding under the Convergence programme?

When were the programmes legally agreed by the European Commission?
When were the programmes officially launched?
How will the programme be implemented / what are Strategic Frameworks?

How can I apply for funding?


 

What are the Structural Funds programmes?

Structural Fund programmes help to deliver Welsh Assembly Government economic, education and employment and environment policies on the basis of seven-year Operational Programmes agreed with the European Commission.

 

What are the Convergence programmes for 2007-2013?

The Convergence programmes cover the West Wales and the Valleys region (15 local authority areas) and are the successor to the Objective 1 programme 2000-2006. West Wales and the Valleys will receive EU Structural Funds worth £1.4 billion at current prices for the 2007-2013 programming period. Together with match funding, the total investment in West Wales and the Valleys is likely to be around £3.2 billion.

 

What is the difference between the ERDF and ESF programmes?

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence programme will focus on R&D and Innovation, access to business finance, transport, addressing climate change and physical regeneration of our most deprived communities.

The European Social Fund (ESF) Convergence programme will focus on developing the skills of individuals in employment, particularly basic skills, and tackling economic inactivity through addressing barriers to employment. It will also seek to help young people remain in education, learning or training and improve their employability skills, and to a small degree, support the public services improvement agenda – Making the Connections.

Funding is split 60% / 40% between the ERDF and ESF programmes.

Which areas of Neath Port Talbot  County Borough are eligible for funding under the Convergence programme?

The whole of the West Wales and Valleys region, including all wards in Neath Port Talbot County Borough, are eligible for funding under the Convergence Programme.

 

When were the programmes legally agreed by the European Commission?

The European Commission legally adopted the West Wales and the Valleys ERDF and ESF Convergence Operational Programmes (the first two programmes to be legally agreed in the UK and among the first in Europe) on 8 and 9 August 2007, respectively.

 

When were the programmes officially launched?

The ESF Convergence programme was launched on 20 September and the ERDF Convergence programme was launched on 5 October 2007.

 

How will the programme be implemented / what are Strategic Frameworks?

The 2007-2013 programmes will be implemented through the use of Strategic Frameworks. For the Convergence programme there are Thematic Frameworks (covering subjects such as R&D and Innovation, transport, tackling unemployment and economic inactivity; and skills development especially basic skills but also intermediate and higher level skills) and, for ERDF only, Spatial Frameworks (focussing on the sustainable regeneration strategies).

Strategic Frameworks are operational strategies that aim to assist WEFO, project sponsors and the wider stakeholder community to derive maximum benefit from the Structural Fund programmes including Convergence.

Responsibility for the co-ordination of Strategic Framework development rests with nominated Framework co-ordinators. For Thematic Frameworks, this responsibility rests with the relevant Welsh Assembly Government Departments. Wales Spatial Plan Area Groups are responsible for co-ordinating the development of the ERDF Spatial Frameworks.

The aims of the Strategic Framework are to:

  • provide clear information on the operational strategy developed by partners to deliver effectively on the relevant Priorities and Themes in the Operational Programmes;
  • assist potential sponsors in identifying and developing project ideas that will best contribute to achieving the aims, objectives and targets of the Operational Programmes, and,
  •  guide the selection, prioritisation and approval of projects by WEFO.

Fit with a Strategic Framework will be an important element of the project selection criteria. The strategic frameworks have been published on the WEFO website and can be accessed by clicking here. Over the life of the programme, as conditions change, the operational strategies set out in the Frameworks may also need to change; therefore each Framework will be subject to on-going monitoring, evaluation and review.

 

How can I apply for funding?

Guidance on how to apply for Convergence Funding can be found here

Where can I find further information?

The WEFO telephone helpline is operational and will work with all Framework Co-ordinators and WEFO staff in handling enquires from prospective project sponsors and interested stakeholders, providing advice and guidance on framework fit and other implementation and monitoring issues.

WEFO Website: www.wefo.wales.gov.uk

Helpline Enquiries tel: 0845 010 3355

Helpline Enquiries email: enquiries-wefo@wales.gsi.gov.uk

Alternatively, you can contact the European Team to discuss your project idea on 01639 686074, or email europeanteam@npt.gov.uk

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Last Updated: 09.04.2013 at 12:57

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