What is Co-financingi?
Normally ESFi provides up to 45% of the costs of a project. The remainder called 'match fundingi' has to come from other sources. Co-Financing means channelling both ESF money and required match funding to providers in a single funding stream. Bodies that do that will be called Co-financing organisations (CFOs).

It is anticipated that Co-financing will secure better value for moneyi, ensure that ESF adds more value to the delivery of Government programmes, address the regional priorities in European programmes, allow for innovation and creativity at regional and local levels, promote greater coherence, co-ordination and targeting of provision and reduce bureaucracy and administration for providers. Any CFO must be in a position to provide money from sources other than ESF or another Co Financing Organisation to form a match  funding package and it must be in the public sector.

What do Co-financing organisations fund?
CFOs are required to produce individual Co-financing plans that broadly outline where they will concentrate their resource. These plans are backed up with more detailed prospectuses that detail what types of projects and activity are required to address the priorities within the Co-financing plans. All activity must meet the priorities and objectives of the North West ESF Regional Framework and the National Operational Programme. Their role is to bring together ESF and domestic funding for employment and skills so that ESF complements domestic programmes. The Co-financing Organisations contract with the organisations or 'providers' that deliver ESF projects on the ground.

CFOs in the North West:
There are three CFOs in the North West: The Skills Funding Agency (a new agency which has taken over the work of the Learning and Skills Council, which closed down on 31 March 2010),  the Department of Work and Pensions/Jobectre Plus (DWP/JCP) and The National Offender Management Service (NOMS). It is important that activity across the CFOs is complementary and does not duplicate or leave gaps in provision. North West CFOs have been working closely together to develop their programmes and are only operating in priorities and measures that best reflect their areas of operation.
For further information on how to apply for ESF please click on the links below: