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Action grants to support transnational projects aiming to build capacity for professionals in child protection systems and legal professionals representing children in legal proceedings - JUST/2015/RCHI/AG/PROF
Deadline: 04 May 2016   CALL EXPIRED

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 Disadvantaged People
 Child Care
 Justice
 Justice Programme
 Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme
 Transnational cooperation

1.INTRODUCTION

This call for proposals for action grants is based on the 2015 annual work programme1 of the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC Programme)2 It aims to co-fundtransnational projects that support integrated child protection systems and increase the capacity of legal professionals representing children in judicial proceedings, in line with the specific objective to promote and protect the rights of the child.

Proposals should aim to produce results with EU added value, as detailed under section 4.5 (award criteria).

Organisations interested in submitting applications should first read the detailed terms and conditions set out in this call for proposals and the Guide for Action Grants published together with this call and constituting an integral part of the conditions of the call.

2.PRIORITIES AND ACTIVITIES TO BE FUNDED

Any projects submitted on the rights of the child must take a rights-based approach and be clearly grounded in the EU Charter of Fundamental rights and the UN Convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC). Applicants are required to include clear and explicit references to EU and international law and standards (see bibliography Section 13) they will adhere to or be guided by in project design, implementation, evaluation and monitoring and explain the project rationale. Other useful documents, guidance and links are provided in the bibliography for each priority and in relation to the explanatory notes. Proposals are expected to demonstrate expertise in the area and knowledge of challenges and issues. Applicants are invited to consider the weighting of the work streams, with a view to ensuring maximum practical benefits and impacts for the target groups and the final beneficiaries (children), and to check that the management and coordination work streams (including travel) are not over- resourced.

Proposals shall complement the efforts of the EU in the area of rights of the child. The continuation or follow-up of successful existing initiatives may be funded if it is in line with one of the priorities. However, the exact duplication of an existing initiative will not be eligible for funding. The degree of relevance to the priorities of the call for proposals will be assessed under the relevance award criterion.

This call for proposals will support capacity building for professionals in child protection systems and legal professionals/practitioners representing children in judicial proceedings, grounded in EU and international standards. The call aims to build capacity and to support the development of training modules (in particular train-the-trainer modules and the implementation of practical tools) and - for Target Groups A and C (2.2.1 and 2.2.3) – to improve interagency and multidisciplinary coordination and cooperation.

All projects should not only develop a sound methodology using recognised existing good practice or tried and tested intervention models but consist of a large proportion of practical implementation measures and outcomes, ultimately to improve children's experience of the justice/detention and child protection systems, or to increase lawyers/legal advisers' specialist knowledge.

Proposals that do not address one of the priorities of this call will not be considered. This call does not aim to fund projects addressing principally:

information to children on rights of the child

general awareness-raising on rights of the child

research on rights of the child

child victims, or violence against children

2.1.Description of the priorities and activities to be funded under the call

This call will fund activities for three priorities focusing on different types of target groups. Project proposals must specify which one of the sub-priorities is addressed, namely

2.1.1Target Group A or 2.1.2 Target Group B or 2.1.3 Target Group C.

2.1.1.Priority 1: Target group A: Capacity-building for practitioners/professionals working with or for children in alternative care or detention

Projects should support capacity-building for practitioners/professionals working with or for children in alternative care or detention and improve interagency and multidisciplinary coordination and cooperation. This may include training and the implementation of practical tools on the rights of the child and on how to communicate and deal with children in an age- and context-appropriate manner. Projects should also seek to address known gaps, such as in preparation for leaving care/ageing out or reintegration into society after detention. Proposals are expected to cover practitioners/professionals working with and for children either in alternative care or in detention.

Proposals on children in alternative care are expected to boost child protection system changes; result in improvements that are sustainable after EU funding ends and to strengthen interagency and multidisciplinary coordination and cooperation. They are also expected to address preparations for ageing-out/leaving care in a comprehensive manner, including the monitoring of educational and other outcomes for children in and leaving care, and bring about improvements in a previously neglected area. Proposals under this target should be aligned with the UN Guidelines for alternative care.

Proposals on detention and reintegration post-detention are expected to boost child protection and justice system changes and improvements that are sustainable and strengthen interagency and multidisciplinary coordination and cooperation. Reintegration projects are expected to address pre-release planning and services, re-entry preparation andcommunity-based services upon release, including the monitoring of outcomes for children.

2.1.2. Priority 2: Target group B: Capacity-building for lawyers/legal advisers representing children in criminal, administrative and civil justice

Projects should support the development and delivery of training modules and the implementation of practical tools for lawyers/legal advisers representing children in criminal, administrative and civil judicial proceedings. This may include innovative methods used to promote and protect the rights of the child, such as:

test cases and class actions;

practical implementation of the third optional protocol to the UNCRC on a communications procedure;

recourse to the European Committee of Social Rights or the European Court of Human Rights.

Proposals on capacity building for lawyers/legal advisers representing children in judicial proceedings are expected to boost the numbers of lawyers/legal advisers with specialised knowledge able to promote and protect the rights of the child, including those operating in legal clinics and human rights organisations.

2.1.3. Priority 3: Target group C: Capacity-building for legal and other practitioners such as social and health workers, youth workers and the police to pilot and roll outmulti-disciplinary evidence-based child-friendly practices in the area of diversion

Paragraph 24 of General Comment No 10 of the UN Committee on the rights of the child, on children's rights in juvenile justice underlines that:

"according to Article 40 (3) of CRC, the States parties shall seek to promote measures for dealing with children alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law without resorting to judicial proceedings, whenever appropriate and desirable. Given the fact that the majority of child offenders commit only minor offences, a range of measures involving removal from criminal/juvenile justice processing and referral to alternative (social) services (i.e. diversion) should be a well-established practice that can and should be used in most cases."

Projects should support the building of capacity of legal and other practitioners such as social and health workers, youth workers and the police to pilot and roll out multi-disciplinaryevidence-based child-friendly practices in the area of diversion and improve interagency and multidisciplinary coordination and cooperation.

Specific focus should be on system improvements including by way of interdisciplinary training on the rights and needs of children of different age groups, on proceedings that are adapted to them in the context of implementation of UNCRC Article 12 as well as on early intervention and preventative approaches (including support to families).

Proposals on diversion from criminal law proceedings in court are expected to boost system changes and improvements that are sustainable and strengthen interagency and multidisciplinary coordination and cooperation. Proposals must be aligned with Article 40 of the UN Convention on the rights of the child and General Comment No 10 (2007) of the UN Committee on the rights of the child on children's rights in juvenile justice, for a target group of children above the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR) in the respective States participating in the project. The proposal should clarify the aims of the diversion programme, the referral decision points, the scope of intervention, entry/exit criteria, etc., and specify which aspects of diversion, including the monitoring of outcomes for children, will be addressed.3

The following types of activities will not be funded by the Commission:

-activities supporting individual political parties;

-provision of financial support to third parties;

-legal actions before national or international courts regardless of their grounds or objectives

2.2Explanatory notes on priorities

2.2.1Data collection

Proposals under all priorities must make provisions to document the number of persons/professionals reached, provide anonymised data disaggregated by gender and by age and must describe in their grant application how this will be done.

2.2.2 Monitoring of outcomes for children

Given the focus on system changes, an integral part of all projects must be planning and implementation of monitoring of outcomes for children, so that progress can be measured over time and inform future policy decisions. 4

2.2.3 Child protection/child safeguarding policies (all Target Groups)

If a project will involve direct contact with children, the applicant must describe and submit the child protection/safeguarding policy it will adhere to (see 1.15 in Annex 1 - Project Description and Implementation Form and Annex 8). A child protection policy should include standards that cover four broad areas: (1) policy, (2) people, (3) procedures, and (4) accountability. More information on these areas can be found in "Child safeguarding standards and how to implement them" issued by Keeping Children Safe.5 Further guidance on what is expected is provided in the description of Annex 8.

2.2.4 Evidence-based policy and practice (all Target Groups)

Given the focus on supporting integrated child protection systems and capacity-building, it is essential that proposals seek to take an evidence-based approach, selecting appropriate models and methods, and planning robust evaluation of any new approaches. In writing the proposal, the rationale for the choice of one or other model should be explained.

2.2.5 Capacity-building/training (all Target Groups)

Any training and/or practical tools should have an overarching objective to make the system work better to improve outcomes for children. This may include development and delivery of new training modules/tools or roll out and delivery of previously tried and tested training modules/tools. Proposal should describe how access to those to be trained will be assured and

3 The Juvenile diversion guidebook in the bibliography includes a 16-step guide to planning diversion programmes.

4See bibliography example

–5 http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/files/rights_child/standards_child_protection_kcsc_en.pdf

describe how training/tools will be rolled out in the participating countries. In terms of promoting sustainability, capacity-building should preferably focus on train-the-trainerapproaches and may also include tools such as checklists/draft protocols, etc. Any training modules developed should be made available and be easily adaptable for use in all EU Member States. New training modules must be piloted and, if necessary, adapted prior to delivery.

2.2.6 Child participation (all Target Groups)6

All proposals are expected to respect the child's right to participate, as codified in Article 24 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This means embedding the child’s right to express his or her views freely in all matters affecting the child as well as the child's right to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, in accordance with Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, drawing on good practice referenced below, where relevant.

For Target Groups A and C, proposals must make children's involvement central and integral to the project, for example in designing and reviewing preparations for leavingcare/ageing-out and reintegration plans, in reviewing services, in assessing what needs to be changed at system level, in empowering children to be involved in decisions that affect them and in empowering children and young people to help themselves and other children, etc. Are there possibilities to involve children in project design prior to submission of proposals? Are the views of children on issues addressed in the call (possibly gathered elsewhere) reflected in the proposal?

For Target Group B, proposals must seek to facilitate and ensure children's effective participation and their right to be heard, in line with the Council of Europe child-friendlyjustice guidelines, which state that "All professionals working with and for children should receive necessary interdisciplinary training on the rights and needs of children of different age groups, as well as on proceedings that are adapted to them. Professionals having direct contact with children should also be trained in communicating with them at all ages and stages of development, as well as with children in situations of particular vulnerability".

In 2015, the Commission published its study on legislation, policy and practice on child participation in the 28 Member States of the EU. The child-led part of the research documents the direct and immediate benefits for children as a result of their participation, as well as wider benefits including empowerment and involvement in decisions that affect them, inclusion of marginalised children, active citizenship, better decision- and policy-making by adults and better services for children. The study references some good child participation practice, such as the participatory work done by SOS Children's Villages for children in alternative care, or Inclusion Europe's work to ensure the participation rights of children with disabilities or the Welsh initiatives: "Eat carrots: be safe from elephants", and the Participation Workers' Network. The study resource catalogue provides a compilation of resources identified during the research that can be filtered by age group/type of participation/geographical scope/sector/setting or vulnerable group.

Accessible guidance on how to ensure child participation is also contained in the Lundy Model of Participation and the Lundy Voice Model Checklist for Participation, designed by Professor Laura Lundy of Queen's University, Belfast. Her models have, for example, been

6 See links and examples in bibliography included in Ireland's National Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation inDecision-Making 2015-2020.

2.2.7 Children in vulnerable situations (all Target Groups)

All project proposals should explain how their project can benefit and include children in particularly vulnerable situations, for example children with disabilities, and are required to describe how they have planned to address vulnerability throughout project design and implementation.

2.2.8 The involvement of relevant State authorities or actors mandated by the State (Target Groups A and C)

Given the aims of supporting integrated child protection systems (to facilitate multidisciplinary practice, and to build the capacity of judicial and other actors) the involvement of national (and/or regional and/or local if decentralised) authorities, or other entities mandated by the State, is essential. The range of actors proposed for each participating State must be appropriate in terms of the project objectives and activities. See Section 4.2.2. Eligibility of the application for more details

2.3Mainstreaming

Projects funded under this call shall also seek to promote equality between women and men. Gender mainstreaming means integrating a gender perspective in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of a project, as appropriate. Consequently, when relevant, the applicant shall take the necessary steps to ensure that gender equality issues are taken into account by paying attention to the situation and particular needs of women/girls and men/boys.

Projects funded under this call shall also comply with the prohibition of discrimination based on any of the grounds listed in Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the "Charter"), in accordance with and within the limits set by Article 51 of the Charter. Among others the Commission encourages applicants to promote equal employment opportunities for all its staff and team. This entails that the beneficiary is encouraged to foster an appropriate mix of people, whatever their ethnic origin, religion, age, gender and ability.

Finally, all projects under this call shall respect and shall be implemented in line with the rights and principles enshrined in the Charter.

While planning their project and preparing their application, applicants should take into account these requirements and demonstrate in their proposal how these requirements will be respected at implementation stage. Beneficiaries will be required to detail in their final activity report the steps and achievements made towards meeting these requirements.

3.BUDGET AVAILABLE

The indicative available budget under this call for proposals is EUR 3 300 000.

The Commission reserves the right not to award all available funds, and/or to redistribute the amounts per priority depending on the projects received and the outcome of the evaluation procedure.

4.EVALUATION PROCEDURE

All applications are subject to an evaluation process.

The evaluators will check whether the application complies with all the formal requirements according to admissibility, eligibility and exclusion criteria as listed below under Sections 4.1.to 4.3.

Applicants that successfully pass this first stage will be subject to the verification of operational and financial capacity (selection criteria listed in Section 4.4.) and their proposals will be evaluated on the basis of the award criteria of this call (listed in Section 4.5.). For the verification of the selection criteria, the evaluators check, based on the documents submitted, will, whether the applicant and partners have sufficient financial, human and operational resources to carry out the activities described in Annex 1- Project Description and Implementation Form.

For the evaluation of the award criteria, the evaluators will assess the proposal on its merits against the award criteria, giving points to each proposal.

Proposals will be evaluated by an evaluation committee composed of Commission staff. The committee may be assisted by external experts. The proposals will be evaluated solely on the basis of the criteria outlined below. In most cases, admissibility, exclusion and eligibility criteria will be checked first, but the evaluation committee may decide to proceed in a different order or assess different sets of criteria in parallel.

4.1.Admissibility requirements

To be admissible applications must comply with all of the following criteria:

(a)Applications must be submitted no later than the deadline for submission referred to in section 8.

(b)Applications must be submitted using PRIAMOS, the online application tool ofDirectorate-General Justice and Consumers,

(c)Applications must be submitted using the standard PRIAMOS Grant Application Form. They must include all the mandatory information and be accompanied by all the compulsory documents and annexes requested under Section 7.3 of this call for proposals.

4.2.Eligibility criteria

To be eligible, applications must fulfil all of the following criteria. If a grant application is declared ineligible, it will not be considered for further evaluation and a rejection letter to that effect will be sent to the applicant.

4.2.1. Eligibility of the applicant and of the partners7

Applicants and partners must comply with the following requirements:

(a)Legal status: Applicants and partners must be legally constituted public or private organisations, or international organisations.

Bodies set up by the European Union falling under Article 208 of the Financial Regulations (EU bodies and institutions) are not eligible for funding and cannot submit applications. They can be associated to an application, but their costs will not be co- financed.

Only legally constituted organisations can participate. Natural persons (private individuals) are not allowed to submit applications.

(b)Non-profit: The applicant must be a non-profit organisation.

Bodies and organisations which are profit-oriented shall have access to grants only as partners.

‘Non-profit organisation’ can be

1)a legal entity that is by its legal form non-profit-making; or

2)has a legal or statutory obligation not to distribute profits to its shareholders or individual members. The provision that profits will not be distributed must be clearly stipulated either in the law or in the statutes of the organisation; decisions on (not) distributing profits made by its managing board, associates, stakeholders, members or representatives are not sufficient proof of the non-profit nature.

(c)Eligible country: Applicant and partners must be legally established in an eligible country. This is not applicable for International organisations.

IMPORTANT NOTE

Eligible countries8:

all the EU Member States;

Iceland.

4.2.2.Eligibility of the application

(a)The project must be transnational and must be submitted by a partnership of eligible organisations. For the purpose of this call, the proposal must be submitted by organisations (applicant and partner(s)) from at least four different eligible countries as referred to under section 4.2.1 of this document call notice. Please note that any associate partners participating in the project are not counted for the purposes of this criterion;

(b)If the project implements activities for Target Groups A or C, at least one public

authority/agency/entity mandated by the State for provision of services from each countries) join the programme, a notification will be placed on

the call website informing applicants that

organisations from such countries can participate as applicants or partners. participating country must either be involved in the project (as applicant or co- applicant) or express in writing its support for the proposal. These public authorities can be Ministries and/or agencies responsible for children (e.g. Ministries for children, education, health, child protection, social affairs, justice, children's ombudspersons and/or national human rights institutes for children, responsible regional authorities, etc). The rationale for the choice must be documented and explained in Annex 1- Project Description and Implementation Form. In practical terms, it means that if, for instance, a transnational project is submitted by a partnership involving four different eligible countries, at least four public authorities as described above (one per each eligible country) must either be involved in the project as applicant or partner(s) (not as associate partner(s)) or express in writing its support of the application. In the latter case, this support will be expressed through Annex 9 - Letter from the public authority supporting the application.

(c)The EU grant requested cannot be lower than EUR 100 000. There is no upper limit.

(d)Projects must not have started prior to the date of submission of the grant application.

4.3.Exclusion criteria

4.3.1.Exclusion from participation

Organisations (i.e. applicant and partners) will be excluded from participating in this call for proposals if they are in any of the following situations:

(a)they are bankrupt or being wound up, are having their affairs administered by the courts, have entered into an arrangement with creditors, have suspended business activities, are the subject of proceedings concerning those matters, or are in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for in national legislation or regulations;

(b)they or persons having powers of representation, decision making or control over them have been convicted of an offence concerning their professional conduct by a judgment of a competent authority of a Member State which has the force of res judicata;

(c)they have been guilty of grave professional misconduct proven by any means which the contracting authority can justify including by decisions of the EIB and international organisations;

(d)they are not in compliance with their obligations relating to the payment of social security contributions or the payment of taxes in accordance with the legal provisions of the country in which they are established or with those of Belgium or those of the country where the grant agreement is to be performed;

(e)they or persons having powers of representation, decision making or control over them have been the subject of a judgment which has the force of res judicata for fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation, money laundering or any other illegal activity, where such an illegal activity is detrimental to the Union's financial interests;

(f)they are currently subject to an administrative penalty referred to in Article 109(1) of Regulation (EU, EURATOM) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union (Financial Regulation)9.

4.3.2.Exclusion from award

Organisations (i.e. applicant and partners) will not be granted financial assistance if, in the course of the grant award procedure, they:

(a)are subject to a conflict of interest;

(b)are guilty of misrepresentation in supplying the information required by the Commission as a condition of participation in the grant award procedure or fail to supply this information;

(c)find themselves in one of the situations of exclusion, referred to in section 4.3.1.

Administrative and financial penalties may be imposed on applicants who are guilty of misrepresentation.

4.4.Selection criteria

4.4.1.Financial capacity

Applicants and partners must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the period for which the grant is awarded and to participate in its funding. Organisations participating in several projects shall have sufficient financial capacity to implement multiple projects.

For the purpose of demonstrating its financial capacity, the applicant must present its balance sheets and profit and loss accounts for the last two years available.

If the share of a grant requested by an organisation (applicant or partner)10 exceeds EUR 750 000, this organisation must submit an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying its accounts for the last closed financial year.

The following elements will be taken into account, among others, to assess the applicant's financial capacity:

-The applicant's dependency on EU financing;

-The applicant's deficit of the previous financial years;

-The applicant's revenue of the previous financial years;

-The auditor's findings in the audit report (when applicable).

If the Commission considers that the financial capacity is not satisfactory, it may request further guarantees or impose risk mitigation measures (e.g. reduced or no pre-financing, bank guarantee covering the amount of pre-financing payment), or reject the application.

 

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