NCVO: Local charities must get say in European funding priorities

Local charities must get a say in setting the priorities for local European funding, NCVO Chief Executive Sir Stuart Etherington said today, following the publication today of government guidance that sets out how priorities for European funding will be set locally (1). 

Priorities for the funds in each area across England will be determined by its Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Over €6bn of European funding will be directed according to the priorities determined by these LEPs between 2014 and 2020 (2). Under the new EU funding proposals, at least 20% should be spent on social inclusion projects, helping those hardest to reach (3).

Guidance issued today by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills for the 39 LEPs across England makes clear that they should engage with the voluntary sector locally in order to determine what the priorities and strategy for their local funding allocation should be.

Yet analysis from NCVO shows that only 14 of the 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships currently have a representative from the voluntary sector on their board (4).

NCVO is working with local partners in its European Funding Network, as well as NAVCA, Social Enterprise UK, and Cooperatives UK, to help charities build closer links with LEPs.

NCVO is encouraging LEPs to include voluntary sector representatives on their boards – such as in Leicestershire where the chair of a local infrastructure body is a LEP board member – or to set up consultative groups with the local sector.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:

‘There are areas where LEPs have made strong efforts to involve the voluntary sector, but clearly more needs to be done.

‘Local charities and social enterprises have a vital role to play in the delivery of the funds and we will be writing to LEP chairs to offer examples on how to engage with their local sector in a strategic way. Areas like Leicestershire show how business and charities can work together in LEPs.’

‘I am determined that NCVO members, whose experience and knowledge of the needs of people in their areas is unrivalled, have a say in how this key funding is allocated.

Rachel Quinn, chief executive of One East Midlands, a European Funding Network member, said:

‘At One East Midlands, we have built up a wealth of specific expertise that we are offering to share with LEPs in our area.

‘As a sector we all need to be working hard to remind our communities of the vital role that we play in supporting growth and employment and in helping those facing disadvantage out of current economic hardship.’

Notes

ESF logo1) BIS - Development of EU Structural and Investment Fund Strategies: Preliminary Guidance to Local Enterprise Partnerships
2) England’s funding allocation is €6.174bn 
3) Minimum share of 20% of funding should be dedicated to social inclusion work under funding proposals
4) A list of LEPs and their VCS representation is available on the European Funding Network website
The European Funding Network (EFN), coordinated by NCVO, is made up of key voluntary, community and social enterprise sector representatives from across the country with expertise of ESF and other relevant CSF Funds. Find out more about EFN here.

The European Structural and Investment Funds are intended to provide direct support to organisations and individuals to support growth objectives, including employability and skills outcomes. These funds include the European Social Fund, which aims to ensure social inclusion objectives are met, such as developing skills for those furthest from the labour market.

Site by Clickingmad