Collaboration and experience sharing between countries is an effective tool for accessing innovated ideas and approaches, including the gaining of new skills. The Transnational Learning Networks serves as pilots for identifying specific policy needs for transnational cooperation, testing effective exchange and cooperation arrangements, such as learning from others in the communities who have practical experience in solving problems/issues, and for gaining a critical mass of commitment from Managing Authorities and Intermediate Bodies.

By capacity building and mutual learning between ESF managing and implementing bodies and strategic stakeholders of different EU countries, the Agency aims to contribute to the ESF policy through learning from other countries. The following are the EU learning networks the Agency is actively participating:

Active Inclusion (AI) Learning Network
European Commission Employment, Social Affairs and the Inclusion Directorate General project, participating countries: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Sweden, United Kingdom, 2013-15

The core objective of the Network was to enhance employment prospects of socially disadvantaged groups by identifying where and what type of support is required, what policies work best and to offer the best chance of successful employment. Through examining current policies and intervention, the Network aimed to identify the barriers faced by individuals as well as combat discrimination these individuals face when attempting to gain employment and during their employment. More information about the Network and reached results can be found here.

Informal Network of ESF Information Officers (INIO)
European Commission Employment, Social Affairs and the Inclusion Directorate General project, participating countries: EU MS

The informal Network of ESF information officers was set up by the ESF information sector in 1995 as part of the Commission's information and communication strategy for the Social Fund. The Network brings together those dealing with communication within national ESF administrations and at European level. The Network aims to enhance the visibility of the Fund by exchanging ideas and best practice; allow Member States and the Commission to compare information approaches, outputs and techniques and to learn from each other's successes, failures and problems experienced along the way; to guide Member States in the implementation of the rules on Structural Funds information and communication measures.

The Baltic Sea Network European Social Fund (BSN-ESF)

The Baltic Sea Network-ESF was initiated by the Swedish ESF-Council in 2011 in order to strengthen the transnational cooperation between Managing Authorities of the European Social Fund (ESF), intermediate / implementing bodies and projects in the Baltic Sea Region. It also aimed at strengthening the link between the ESF and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). The network will actively take part in the Common Framework, the support structure for transnational cooperation provided by the European Commission according to Article 10 of the ESF-regulation 1304/2013. The members of the network come from Sweden, the Åland lslands, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Land of Hamburg.

Result Based Management International ESF Learning Network
DG EMPL project, participating countries: Check Republic, Greece, Lithuania, Sweden, Flanders, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia, 2009-14

The Network was designed for policy-makers and programme managers involved with the preparation, management, monitoring and evaluation of European Union Structural Funds programmes specifically ERDF and ESF. However, it is of relevance to any public funding manager who seeks to increase the orientation of the funding towards obtaining more results. The operational definition of RBM, “Results Based Management is the way an organization applies processes and resources to achieve targeted results“.

Learning Network From School to Work - S2W
The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) Baltic sea flagship project, participating countries: Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Hamburg, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, since 2013

The Flagship project School to Work (S2W) aims to strengthen transnational cooperation between stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region in the field of education and work in order to prevent early school leaving and develop support for vulnerable groups of students/youth. The project will thus contribute to the achievement of relevant targets in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the EU's overall strategy Europe 2020. Policy gaps and system flaws will be identified and cooperation models once established, jointly worked through in order to develop new solutions, methods and models. The initiative will create a common platform of understanding and learning and disseminate different successful methods to deal with the issues around drop outs.

FEAD network

The FEAD Network is an open membership community for people providing assistance to the most deprived in Europe. This includes EU level NGOs and EU institutions, organisations interested in or delivering FEAD-funded activities and national Managing Authorities. The FEAD Network brings together those working to reduce the worst forms of poverty in European countries. It provides a space for good practice to be shared and encourages new ideas for how to provide non-financial assistance to the most deprived persons in the EU.

ESF Transnational Platform’s thematic network for Simplification

The Simplification network is making unexpectedly fast progress on developing EU-level Simplified Cost Options, and is also tackling state aid, legal harmonisation, gold-plating, indicators and other thorny barriers to cutting red tape. Not only are 25 Member States taking part but participants are demanding more and longer meetings and are incredibly reactive. The network activities are managed by the ESF Transnational Platform, AEIDL.