Members were advised that following Cabinet approval in 2015 and 2016 to apply for European Social Fund (ESF) projects to support people into employment, education or training; Members were provided with an update on the Project Change Request application to the Department for Work and Pensions to extend the GBSLEP European Social Fund (ESF) Technical Assistance project, which was led by Solihull MBC.
Members were reminded that the Solihull MBC-led GBSLEP ESF Technical Assistance Project was a three year project from 1 January 2016 and until 31 December 2018. A Project Change Request had been submitted in April 2018, seeking an increase in the funding and extending the delivery timescale of the ESF Technical Assistance Project. Approval had been granted by the Department of Working Pensions up to December 2021.
‘ESF Technical Assistance’ provided capacity building, publicity, promotion and specialist advice/support to potential project applicants across GBSLEP. The ESF Technical Assistance team promoted and raised the profile of ESF; built technical capacity in delivery organisations, enhanced project development, implementation and management, provided advice for early development of robust projects. It was delivered by Solihull MBC and five other delivery partners: Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Growth Company Ltd, Birmingham City University, Community Action Wyre Forest, and institute of Social entrepreneurs.
The report also detailed Solihull’s role as the Accountable Body and the benefits which had been achieved to date.
(i) That approval be given to enter into the Agreement with the Department for Work and Pensions for the award of funding, which extends the GBSLEP European Social Fund Technical Assistance project until December 2021, where the Council is the Accountable Body; and
(ii) That it be agreed to give delegated authority to the Director of Children’s Services & Skills to sign any contractual arrangements associated with the above funding in conjunction with the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Education and Skills