Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Application Pack Item 1: Introduction and key dates

Application Pack Item 1: Introduction and key dates

ESF logo



The European Social Fund (ESF) is one of the main structural funds set up to help reduce differences in living standards between the regions of the European Union (EU), by:

  • Reducing unemployment
  • Improving and developing the skills of employed people
  • Investing in industrial or rural areas which are in decline
  • Investing in areas with low economic development.

ESF Objective 3 aims to:
  • Tackle long-term unemployment
  • Help young people and those at risk from not being able to find work
  • Improve training, education and counselling for lifelong learning
  • Encourage entrepreneurship and adaptability in the workplace
  • Promote equal opportunities and improve the role of women in the workforce.

ESF Objective 3 funding is available in the whole of the West Midlands region.


Co-financing channels both ESF money and the required match funding to providers in a single funding stream. Bodies that do that, having got their ESF money direct from the Government Office for the West Midlands (GOWM), are called Co-financing Organisations (CFOs).

As a Co-financing Organisation Birmingham City Council is responsible for:
  • Submitting the Co-financing Plan to GOWM
  • Securing match funding for the programme
  • Selecting providers through an open and competitive tendering process
  • Contracting Co-financed projects with local providers
  • Audit, performance and quality monitoring of providers
  • Making payments to providers
  • Collating and reporting monitoring information to GOWM
  • Drawing down funds from GOWM
  • Ensuring that ESF publicity and other regulations are met
  • Overall evaluation of the Co-financing Plan
  • Preparing the project closure report and final claim.

HM Government introduced ESF Co-financing to:
  • Secure better value for money.
  • Ensure that the ESF adds more value to the delivery of government programmes.
  • Address the regional priorities in European programmes and continue to allow for innovation and creativity at regional and local levels.
  • Promote greater coherence, co-ordination and targeting of provision (but it is not the aim of Co-financing to benefit any particular sector at the expense of another).
  • Reduce bureaucracy and administration for providers.

You can get more details of the European Social Fund and ESF Co-financing at:





The City Council's ESF Co-financing programme matches European funding with the Councils Main Programme, Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF), North West Corridors of Regeneration (SRB6) and New Deal for Communities (NDC) funding, to create a single unified funding stream to providers.

The programme targets the inner and outer city wards with the highest deprivation indices, highest unemployment and greatest disadvantage in the labour market.

Since going live in April 2002, the City Council's ESF Co-financing programme has helped over 20,000 people in the most disadvantaged communities in the City.


The City Council's Co-financing Plan complements those of the other two CFOs in Birmingham - Birmingham and Solihull Learning & Skills Council and Job Centre Plus. CFOs are required to co-ordinate their plans to avoid duplication and gaps in provision. You can visit their web sites to see their priorities and plans at:



1.5 Co-financing 2005 - 2007

The City Councils Co-financing Plan for 2005-2007 is for a 1.8m programme, subject to availability and approval of match funding.

The City Council will contract with service providers selected through open and competitive tendering for the delivery of services up to September 2007.

Calls for proposals are made as match funding is secured for the programme.

The programme supports specific actions in priority areas:
  • Engagement outreach into the most deprived communities to provide initial advice, guidance and support to help clients access mainstream employment support programmes and jobs
  • Intermediate Labour Market paid work experience and training incorporating job search support
  • Customised recruitment provision of specific training linked to identified job vacancies and available to targeted communities
  • Job Matching job brokerage actions which better link identified target communities to identified vacancies.

For more information go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/cofinancing