ESF’s work takes place all over England, from multimillion pound contracts involving dozens of delivery partners across whole counties, through to very small community grants supporting local groups to help people into work. But how does it work? In this ESF Funding FAQs section, you can find out more about how ESF funding is delivered across England.
Q. Who is responsible for ESF funding and how is it distributed?
A. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible overall for ESF funds in England, and manages the funds at a national level, while liaising with the European Commission in Brussels. ESF funds are distributed through ‘Co-financing Organisations’ (CFOs), which are public bodies that work to complement national programmes by uniting ESF and domestic funding for employment and skills. The CFOs across England are the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), the DWP Delivery Directorate and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), as well as a small number of local organisations.
In England the European Social Fund is investing £2.3 billion which is matched to £2.3 billion of national funding.
Q. Who can apply for funding through the ESF?
A. Any legally formed public, private or third sector organisation that can deliver ESF provision can apply. Individuals, however, can’t apply.
Q. When and how can I apply for ESF funding?
A. Contact Co-financing Organisations in your area for details about how application rounds work. If you successfully obtain funding for a project through a CFO, the organisation will arrange payment with you. Funding usually lasts for three years.
Q. Does ESF-Works provide funding?
A. No, ESF-Works is not a funding body. Our purpose is to feature projects that are funded by ESF and the work that they do, we do not distribute funding to projects. If you wish to apply for funding, you can find out more by contacting your local CFO by clicking on the link to Co-financing Organisations above, or by visiting the England ESF website.
Q. How is ESF money shared out across England?
A. There are set allocations for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Merseyside and South Yorkshire, and indicative allocations for each of the former English regions (excluding the areas which have set allocations). Allocations for the former English regions are based on local employment and skills needs – for example, the numbers of people who are facing various barriers to employment, and those who have few or no good qualifications.
- disabled people
- lone parents
- people aged over 50
- people from ethnic minorities
- people without good qualifications
- young people who are not in education, employment or training.