New advisory services for European Social Fund financial instruments

Published on 06 April 2017
New ESF services

The fi-compass European Social Fund (ESF) work stream has recently published new language versions of the handbook on using ESF financial instruments for promoting inclusion, sustainable jobs and better education. French, German, Italian and Spanish language versions (in addition to the original English version) of this handbook are now available for downloading and sharing through the fi-compass website’s Resource Library.

Other new ESF developments from fi-compass include an upcoming thematic workshop and the launch of specific capacity building services covering ESF financial instruments for Member State managing authorities. The latter, coaching-style advisory service, is being developed in response to the needs of ESF managing authorities for practical information about the design, set-up and implementation of ESF financial instruments.  A key aim for this new fi-compass service is to help ESF managing authorities to provide expert advice associated with using financial instruments.

Starting in March 2017, the ESF coaching is initially centred on managing authorities that have already shown an effort and a commitment to introduce financial instruments within ESF operational programmes. Modelled on the fi-compass ‘Targeted Coaching’ service for rural development programmes, this new fi-compass service is being rolled-out via two different and dedicated ESF modules.

Module I provides an ‘Initial capacity building’ module for ESF managing authorities that have expressed a strong interest in financial instruments, but have yet to make their first steps. Advice here can cover information and best practice in preparing ex-ante assessments for ESF financial instruments.

Module II is an ‘Advanced capacity building' module available for ESF managing authorities that have already made significant progress with preparing their financial instrument(s). It is designed with relevance for Member States and regions undertaking the final stages of an ex-ante assessment, and/or for those managing authorities that have programmed financial instruments. This Advanced module is also expected to advise managing authorities and their partners involved with the launch or implementation of their ESF financial instruments.

Requests for assistance from the new fi-compass ESF capacity building services should be made by e-mail from ESF managing authorities to their respective ESF geographical unit at the European Commission. The Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) will prioritise and approve this coaching support in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB). Experts from both the EIB Group and DG EMPL will provide the coaching sessions.

Thematic ESF workshop

The aforementioned thematic workshop will further boost ESF managing authorities’ capacity for using financial instruments. It will take place in Vienna, Austria on 18 May and focus on self-employment, entrepreneurship and business creation (under ESF thematic objective 8 - promoting sustainable and quality employment and supporting labour mobility).

During the workshop, national representatives from managing authorities and financial intermediaries, as well as EIB Group experts, will take participants through the different phases of the life cycle when designing and implementing ESF financial instruments. Workshop content will be based around two case studies featuring Lithuania’s ‘Entrepreneurship Promotion Fund’ and Italy’s ‘SELFIEmployment’ scheme. Keep an eye on the fi-compass event calendar for further information about our 18 May ESF event and its registration.