Projects have a lead partner who is responsible for coordinating the application and submission process. He is the interlocutor of the Managing Authority, the Joint Secretariat and the Regional Contact Points.
If project funding is approved, the leader becomes responsible for its management and implementation. On the other hand, he is legally and financially responsible for the partnership throughout the project lifecycle.
Whatever the decision (favorable, unfavorable, rejection), the leader receives in the first place an e-mail information. Subsequently, a notification signed by the managing authority shall be submitted to it with, where appropriate, the reasons for rejection or postponement.
The grant agreement
Once a project has been selected for funding, a grant agreement will be signed between the managing authority of the program and the project leader.
This agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities of the lead and managing authority, financing arrangements, reporting and financial control requirements, etc.
This agreement includes a number of annexes (project description, financing plan, indicators, estimated schedule of the remittances, sampling method of site visits) which are an integral part of the document.
On this occasion, a guide on the obligations in the field of advertising and communication is also sent to the leader.
The partnership agreement
The leader and partners must sign a partnership agreement for the project. It allows the leader to extend the provisions of the grant agreement at the level of each partner. Thanks to this agreement the partners are held responsible for their part of the implementation of the project vis-à-vis the leader.
In order to monitor the implementation of the project, a physical implementation report and a financial implementation report must be sent regularly.
With regard to the physical execution report, a single document must be provided indicating the overall level of implementation of the project by all partners. This document includes, in particular, information on indicators.
The Joint Secretariat verifies the report and, if necessary, requests additional information.
With regard to the financial implementation report, each partner must provide a specific document, developed on the basis of the model provided by the program, indicating the level of expenditure incurred. On this occasion, all the accounting supporting documents (invoices, statements of accounts, market documents, proof of wages, attestation of the accountant, the auditor or the public accountant ...) and non-accountants (report of mission , Attestation of Attendance at Meetings, Studies Completed ...) must be attached to verify the compliance of expenses.
Terms of payment of funds
An advance of between 5% and 20% maximum on the amount of European co-financing may possibly be paid upon a reasoned request from the beneficiary.
The payment of the advance is not systematic and depends on the availability of appropriations and the assessment of the managing authority.
In addition, installments are paid to the leader on presentation of supporting documents of expenses actually incurred and paid.
The cumulative amount of advance payments and advances, if any, must not exceed 80% of the amount of the Community grant.
The balance, (20%) is paid upon presentation of the proof of expenses and a request for payment of the balance.
Changes in the implementation of the project
Any minor changes (eg change of contact details, rescheduling of activities and budget changes within 10% for each budget line and each partner) should be reported to the Joint Secretariat.
For major changes, the project is required to request program approval: increase of budget lines by more than 10%, deletion or addition of activities, new expenses, addition or deletion of partners.
Two cases of budget changes are possible:
budget flexibility of 10% for each budget line at project level and per partner: the project can exceed budget lines and partner budgets by up to 10% of the initial total amount with constant financial perimeter.
a budget reallocation above the 10% flexibility limit for each budget line at the project level and per partner. In this case the file must be submitted again to the selection committee for validation of the changes.
In any case, budget changes are possible only if the total amount of the ERDF is not exceeded.
Program managers as well as grant beneficiaries are subject to different types of checks in order to check the regularity of expenditure as well as the proper functioning of the management and control system.
1) The service check is done
All projects are subject to this control. It covers the totality of the payments made and aims at determining the reality of the payments, the respects of the specific obligations (public order for example) as well as the link of the expenditure with the planned activities.
This control is carried out by an external service provider selected by the managing authority after a public procurement procedure.
After analyzing the documents, this service provider makes a proposal for a report which must then be validated by the Joint Secretariat and then by the managing authority.
In the process of control, this service provider may be required to request additional documents from the project partners.
2) Operations controls
They intervene after the first-level control and cover a sample of transactions selected annually.
They are the responsibility of the auditing authority of the program, namely the CICC.
3) Other controls
Quality controls, internal controls or audits by the European Commission may be involved in the implementation of the program. They focus more on the management bodies (Joint Secretariat, Managing Authority, Certification Authority, etc.) than on the project partners.
As recipients of a grant, partners are subject not only to publicity but also to communication requirements in order to promote the contribution of the program to the realization of the planned activities.
A specific document, the communication kit, lists all the expectations of the Joint Secretariat in this area.