UK National Strategic Reference Framework 2007-2013
On the 23 October 2006, the UK government produced the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) which outlines the Government’s broad strategy for using the UK’s Structural Fundsi allocations in the 2007-2013 budgetary cycle. The purpose of the document is to provide a policy framework for the preparation of future Structural Funds Operational Programmes, in order to ensure that these Programmes contribute fully to EUi and domestic priorities for regional development.

The NSRF also sets out the broad arrangements for delivering the funds in during the 2007- 2013 period. In England, the RDAs will take a leading role in delivering regional ERDFi programmes, working in partnership with local stakeholders. Meanwhile, the Regional Skills Partnerships will play an active role in setting strategies for ESFi spending in the English regions within the context of a national English ESF programme. In this way, the two funds, while separate, can be more easily aligned to meet defined local and regional needs.

The spending allocations announcements were also part of the official launch of the NSRF which lay out the national social and economic priorities for the next year programme. The North West will be receiving just under £790 million for the 2007-2013 European Structural Funds Programme, with a ring fenced allocation for Merseyside of £317 million.

You can find the UK National Strategic Reference Framework at the
Home/European Funding/Post 2006/Useful Documents section of the North West Network website.

The new Structural Fund programme 2007 - 2013
As part of its reform plans for the Structural and Cohesion Funds, the European Commission has proposed a new three-tier strategic process. After the formal adoption of an EU budget and the Structural and Cohesion Funds Regulations the following will have to be agreed in the following order:

Community Strategic Guidelines
National Strategic Reference Framework (for each Member State)
Operational Programmes (at a regional level).

On 5 July 2005, the Commission published its draft Community Strategic Guidelines for economic, social and territorial cohesion. These would define a framework for the intervention of the Funds from 2007-2013. This was followed by an EU-wide consultation on the Guidelines, which ended on 30 September 2005. Further information on the consultation is available on the Commission’s Regional Policy website at:

The Department for Business is co-ordinating the project for the UK’s National Strategic Reference Framework, which will be used as a strategic guide for Operational Programmes during the new Financial Perspective. The Department for Business are aiming to publish a draft NSRF early in 2006. As well as initiating a UK-wide consultation on this document, it will provide Project Managers with an initial basis to begin planning for the 2007-2013 Financial Perspective.

Useful Link

Summary of the results of the public consultation on the Community Strategic Guidelines for Cohesion, 2007-2013

Cohesion Policy in Support of Growth and Jobs: Community Strategic Guidelines, 2007-2013

EU fact sheet on the new Proposals for the new structural funds regulations for the period 2007-2013