GLA as an Intermediate body: Programme Management

In London, the European Social Fund (ESF) is managed by the Greater London Authority who acts as an Intermediate Body (IB) on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (the Managing Authority)


On a day to day basis, the IB role is undertaken by the GLA’s European Programmes Management Unit (EPMU). Its responsibilities include:

  • Developing calls for funding and tendering opportunities
  • Appraising applications
  • Signing contractually-binding funding agreements
  • Performance monitoring and management
  • Carrying out pre- and post-expenditure checks on projects and reclaiming ESF and ERDF funds where necessary

This IB role is different to the GLA Co-financing Organisation (CFO), which is responsible for the distribution of ESF funds at a regional level.

ESF is disbursed through two means:

  • Direct award: Projects can be directly funded by the GLA’s European Programmes Management Unit (EPMU), in which case they are required to provide their own match funding. Calls were opened in 2015 and 2019 by EPMU for projects that complement mainstream funding and Co-Financed provision and 13 projects have been awarded funding.
  • Co-financed: the majority of projects are commissioned and managed by a Co-Financing Organisation (CFO) who are responsible for providing the match funding for the ESF provision that they procure.

    There are four national CFOs: the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), the National Lottery Community Fund, and Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service.

            There are five local CFOs: the GLA four sub-regional partnerships of London boroughs (West London Alliance, Central London Forward, Local London and South London Partnership).

LEP Area ESIF Committees, including the London ESIF Committee, provide continued advice on the needs and opportunities in an area and on the strategic fit of applications for funding. 

Programme Development

The LEAP has been notionally allocated £584 million of funding by the ESF and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to create jobs and support business growth in London. The LEAP is responsible for the strategic oversight of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) on behalf of the Government. 

In London, ESF will support the LEAP’s three skills and employment themes:

  • promoting sustainable employment and progression outcomes
  • ensuring individuals and employers are better informed to drive the skills and employment system
  • engaging with London’s businesses to help drive growth in the Capital.

Further information on the programmes being developed can be found on the LEAP website

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