ESIF Strategy

This page gives an overview of how the ESIF programme is structured nationally and of the Leeds City Region ESIF strategy.

National context

The ESIF programme brings together two long-established European funding programmes – European Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF), along with a small part of the rural European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) programme. ESIF is being rolled out through the 39 Local Enterprise partnerships (LEPs) in England, which have all determined their own local strategies for using ESIF, but although ESIF is presented as a single growth programme, the different funds are still there behind the scenes with their own rules and regulations. Broadly speaking, ERDF supports economic infrastructure and businesses, ESF supports people to help them to engage in the labour market, while EAFRD supplements both funds for rural areas.

Each fund is overseen by a government department which fulfills the role of Managing Authority (MA); ERDF by Communities and Local Government (CLG), ESF by Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and EAFRD by Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Each MA is responsible for the delivery of the Operational Programme for the relevant fund, reporting to the European Commission.  The MAs will do this both by running direct Calls (procurement or grant competitions, where organisations apply directly to the programme and have to bring their own match-funding) and by appointing Opt-In Providers (national bodies that can run their own calls, but which provide the match-funding themselves). There are 3 Opt-In Providers, all for ESF: DWP for the Employment Theme; Big Lottery Fund (BIG) for Social Inclusion and Skills Funding Agency (SFA) for Skills; Leeds City Region (LCR) has provisionally signed up to all of these.

Find out more about Calls and the decision-making process.

Leeds City Region (LCR) ESIF Strategy

The LCR ESIF Strategy sets out what it wants to achieve through the use of its ESIF funding allocation; it was developed in response to EU requirements as well as to national guidance which stipulated that LEPs’ ESIF strategies needed to complement their wider growth strategies. The strategy went through various consultation processes and was amended in response to these and national feedback, and was finalised in May 2015. It now provides the basis from which Calls will be developed throughout the programme.

One of the key consultation processes used, which is still in operation for some parts of the programme development, has been sounding groups. These have been open to anyone to sign up to and have been convened to consider specific areas of the programme, usually based around the different thematic objectives in the ESIF programme (see Briefing Note 1 below for these).

The LCR ESIF Strategy can be found on the LEP’s website - go to the download section at the bottom of the page. The LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan to which it contributes is also available.


This page updated 29/7/15

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