Reduction of Administrative Burden for ESF Project Beneficiaries

In order to reduce the administrative burden for applicants and project promoters, we constantly analyze the requirements of legislation, provide suggestions on reducing the administrative burden. During 2012, the Agency formulated a working group with its main objective to optimize major project administration processes which included the simplification of certain procedures and processes. Different specialists from different divisions actively participated in this working group, which included evaluation coordinators, project and program managers and financial analysts. Areas determined for development and expansion included: payment requests, documents for recording activities and expenses, applications of sampling methodology, interim and final reports, administrative evaluation costs, benefit compliance costs, as well as modification of contracts.

We started to work on the administrative burden analysis in 2012 to assure that ESF applicants and project beneficiaries were receiving optimum EU support and administrative conditions. The objective of this analysis was to assess the administrative burden in monetary terms undergone by ESF applicants and project beneficiaries during a one year period. In accordance to the Standard Cost Model (SCM), which is a highly practice analysis in the EU, ESFA performed an assessment of administrative burden based on monetary terms.

The selection and interviews with the representatives of the projects was the most essential and time-consuming step of the assessment process. ESFA organized working groups and roundtable discussions to conduct this assessment, which is based on the most effective practice when measuring administrative burden.  Topics during meetings included: applications, payment requests, contractual amendments, reports and publicity. Discussed during an interview with projects representatives, were the aspects of fulfilling the requirements of specific obligations.

Administrative burden was assessed in monetary terms by multiplying: the time spent carrying out legislative requirements by project beneficiaries, by a standardised hourly-project manager rate and by a quantity variable which represents the frequency of executing legislative requirements and by the number of beneficiaries who have implemented it.

After the administrative assessment (2013), the ESFA began implementing a project for the preparation of administrative burden reduction proposals. Based on the interviews with project beneficiaries, ESFA organised an interinstitutional working group with its main objective to assess administrative burden reduction proposals, and to adopt concluded decisions. This interinstitutional working group (representatives of social partners, project beneficiaries, intermediate bodies and managing authorities) was formed with the purpose to reduce by no less than 25% the administrative burden for ESF beneficiaries. The proposals determined by this working group regarding the amendments of specific legislation were submitted to responsible institutions.

During the 2014-2020 programming period and following the Agency’s best practice, the administrative burden will be managed throughout the system of Structural Funds administration.