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Posting of workers: enhancing administrative cooperation and access to information - VP/2017/003
Deadline: 09 Jun 2017   CALL EXPIRED

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1. INTRODUCTION – BACKGROUND

1.1. Programme/Legal Basis

This call for proposals is published under REGULATION (EU) No 1296/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on a European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI")1 and amending Decision No 283/2010/EU establishing a European Progress Microfinance Facility for employment and social inclusion.

The European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation "EaSI" 2014-20202 is a European-level financing instrument managed directly by the European Commission to contribute to the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy, by providing financial support for the Union's objectives in terms of promoting a high level of quality and sustainable employment, guaranteeing adequate and decent social protection, combating social exclusion and poverty and improving working conditions.

The EaSI Programme shall, in all its axes and actions, aim to:

(a) pay particular attention to vulnerable groups, such as young people;

(b) promote equality between women and men,

(c) combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation;

(d) promote a high-level of quality and sustainable employment, guarantee adequate and decent social protection, combat long-term unemployment and fight against poverty and social exclusion.

Hence, in designing, implementing and reporting on the activity, beneficiaries/contractors must address the issues noted above and will be required to provide detail, in the final activity report on the steps and achievements made towards addressing those aims.

1.2. Policy and general background

The general aim of this Call for Proposals is to fund initiatives in order to enhance the implementation and correct application of Directive 96/71/EC3 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the transnational provision of services, as well as the implementation of the Enforcement Directive 2014/67/EU4.

The Commission is currently assessing the transposition of the Enforcement Directive by the Member States and launching infringement procedures against non-compliant Member States. The deadline for the transposition expired on 18 June 2016.

Some initiatives with the aim to promote administrative cooperation and mutual understanding and fund initiatives relating to the application and enforcement in

practice of the applicable rules, have been carried out in the past under the Pilot Projects on "Working and Living Conditions of Posted Workers" (VP/2009/015 and VP/2010/011). A similar call to this one was launched during the last years (VP/2013/008, VP/2014/007, VP/2015/007 and VP/2016/006). Furthermore, a call for proposals for preparatory actions with a view to create information centres for migrant and posted workers was launched in 2013 (VP/2013/011) and 2014 (VP/2014/005). No similar call was launched in 2015.

 

2. OBJECTIVES, TYPES OF ACTION AND EXPECTED OUTPUTS

2.1. General objectives

This call intends to support the Commission and the Member States to understand existing and new challenges and develop initiatives in the field of posting of workers and a decent work agenda.

The proper functioning of administrative cooperation among Member States and improved access to information on applicable terms and conditions of employment in a transparent and accessible manner, are essential for the correct application, implementation and enforcement of the Directive.

The general objectives are to 1) further improve transnational administrative cooperation between national competent bodies and social partners involved in the monitoring and correct application of the Posting of Workers Directive and its Enforcement Directive and 2) increase mutual trust among stakeholders, including promoting common actions between social partners at different levels, exchanges of relevant officials and training, as well as 3) enhancing the evidence basis, both of qualitative and quantitative nature, and evaluation of original information and data concerning various dimensions of posting of workers.

In order to achieve the objective, it is intended with this call for proposals to fund transnational cooperation initiatives covering at least 7 eligible countries.

2.2. Specific objectives

The specific objectives of this call for proposals are the following:

  1. a)  To promote transnational cooperation among public authorities and stakeholders, including the promotion of the use of IMI and sharing experiences and best practices in this respect.

  2. b)  To increase the accessibility, transparency and quality of the information concerning the terms and conditions of employment to be respected and the existing practises in the Member States to monitor and enforce the provisions of the Posting of Workers Directive;

  3. c)  To promote the evidence basis through the collection and evaluation of original data, analysis and information specific to the posting process, including through the collaboration between universities across various disciplines, research centres and institutes, and stakeholders.

2.3. Types of activities

The following activities may be co-financed:

a) Cooperation: developing new or improving existing exchanges, peer reviews and/or training programmes (for example joint visits, joint inspections, short training actions) between officials of competent public authorities and/or between relevant social partners and stakeholders in the contexts of monitoring the compliance with and enforcement of the applicable rules in relation to posted workers, including in subcontracting chains, and/or of administrative cooperation and mutual assistance, including the use of the Internal Market Information System (IMI).

b) Information: developing or upgrading online platforms for the collection and dissemination of quality, user-friendly, and specific information targeted at workers and/or undertakings with respect to the working conditions applicable to posted workers, the procedures and conditions to be respected by undertakings in different Member States, and other relevant information for the posting of workers in the context of the provision of cross-border services.

c) Knowledge: development of joint research projects on different dimensions of the posting of workers in the context of the transnational provision of services and dissemination of results through targeted publication strategies, both in the scientific domain as well as in the specialised and general press.

Applicants must include at least two out of the aforementioned types of activity in their proposal.5

2.4. Expected outputs - Requirement for an adequate communication and information plan

Adequate communication and dissemination of results is essential in ensuring the EU added value of the action and its sustainability after the funding has ended. Information-giving and awareness raising are key activities to ensure that other interested parties benefit from the project and can create new opportunities to extend it or develop new partnerships. The proposals must therefore include a detailed plan for communication and dissemination of the projects' results. In particular, such a plan must include information on dissemination activities and targeted audiences.

At final report stage, the awarded applicants will be required to provide details about how and to whom the results, best practices and findings have been disseminated and how interested parties have been involved in the project.

2.5. Monitoring

The Commission, with the support of an external contractor, will monitor regularly the EaSI Programme. Therefore, beneficiaries/contractors will have to transmit qualitative and quantitative monitoring data on the results of the activities.

These will include the extent to which the principles of equality between women and men has been applied, as well as how anti-discrimination considerations, including accessibility issues, have been addressed through the activities. Related templates are attached or will be provided.

In setting up the action, beneficiaries/contractors must foresee the necessary funding for monitoring and reporting to the Commission.

 

3. TIMETABLE

Publication of the call

March 2017

 

 

Deadline for submitting proposals

9 June 2017

 

 

Evaluation period (indicative)

June-August 2017

 

 

Information to applicants (indicative)

September 20176

 

 

Signature of the grant agreement (indicative)

October 20177

 

 

Starting date of the action (indicative)

As from January 2018

 

3.1. Starting date and duration of the projects

The actual starting date of the action will either be the first day following the date when the last of the two parties signs the grant agreement, the first day of the month following the date when the last of the two parties signs or a date agreed upon between the parties.

Applicants should note that if their project is selected, they may receive the grant agreement after the start date of the action that they have indicatively set in the application form. It is therefore advisable to number the months in the work programme instead of indicating the name of the month.

Any expenditure incurred before the signature of the Grant Agreement will be at the applicant’s risk. No expenditure can be incurred before the deadline for submission.

The project's duration should indicatively be between twelve (12) months and twenty- four (24) month. Projects shall start no earlier than 1 January 2018.

 

4. AVAILABLE BUDGET AND CO-FINANCING RATE

4.1. Available budget

The total budget earmarked for the EU co-financing of projects under this call is estimated at EUR 2,700,000.00.

The present call requires applicants to ensure a broad geographical coverage and the set-up of sizeable consortia as well as to tackle a wide range of activities. Thus, and for illustrative purposes, the Commission expects to award 6-8 grants.

The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available or to increase the budget if additional funds become available.

 

4.2. Co-financing rate

Under this call for proposals, the EU grant may not exceed 80.00 % of the total eligible costs of the action. The applicants must guarantee their co-financing of the remaining amount covered by the applicants' own resources or from other sources other than the European Union budget8.

 

5. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  • -  Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submission referred to in section 3(b)

  • -  Applications (application form including budget and description of the action including work plan) must be submitted using the electronic submission system available at https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/swim, and by sending a signed, printed version of the application form and the other afore-mentioned documents by post or courier service (one original dossier and one copy; see also section 12).

    Failure to comply with the above requirements will lead to the rejection of the application.

    Applicants are encouraged to submit their project proposal in English, in order to facilitate the treatment of the proposals and speed up the evaluation process. It should be noted, however, that proposals in all official languages of the EU will be accepted. In this case, applications should be accompanied by an executive summary in English (checklist point 3).

    6. Eligibility Criteria

6.1. Eligibility of the applicants (lead and co-applicants) and affiliated entities9

a) Place of establishment

Legal entities properly established and registered in the following countries10 are eligible as lead applicant and co-applicants:

  •   EU Member States;

  •   Iceland and Norway in accordance with the EEA Agreement;

  •   Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and

    Turkey11

  • b) Type of entities

    To be eligible, lead applicants, co-applicants and affiliated entities must fall in one of the following categories:

  •   Public authorities;

  •   International organisations;

  •   Non-profit organisations (private or public);

  •   Research centres/institutes;

  •   Higher education establishments;

  •   Civil society organisations,

  •   social partner organisation at European12, national or regional level (in application of Article 131 of the Financial Regulation, social partner organisations without legal personality are also eligible provided that the conditions of the Financial Regulation related thereto are met13).

c) Consortia14

To be eligible, actions must have the involvement of lead applicant and co-applicants established in at least four different EU Member States or other eligible EaSI-Progress participating countries [see point b) above], i.e. lead applicant and at least 3 co- applicants

If the lead applicant is not considered to be eligible, the application will be rejected.

If a co-applicant is considered not to be eligible, this organisation will be removed from the consortium and the eligibility of the modified consortium will be re-evaluated. In addition, the costs that are allocated to a non-eligible co-applicant will be removed from the budget. If the modified consortium is still eligible, the application will be evaluated on that basis. If the application is accepted for funding, the work plan will have to be adapted as appropriate.

d) Affiliated entities

Legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation and which satisfy the eligibility criteria, may take part in the action as affiliated entities, and may declare eligible costs. For that purpose, applicants shall identify such affiliated entities in the application form.

6.2. Eligible activities

a) Geographical Coverage

To be eligible, actions must demonstrate that they will cover at least 7 EaSI- participating countries (see point 6.1); e.g. coverage through a study, reach-out for communication activities, etc.

b) Types of activities

The grant will finance inter alia the activities indicated in section 2.3.

c) Core activities

The following activities are considered to be core activities and may not be subcontracted:

 Project management
6.3. Ineligible activities

Financial support to third parties as defined in point 3 of the Financial Guidelines is not eligible under this call.

 

7. EXCLUSION CRITERIA

Applicants (lead and co-applicants) must sign a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in article 106(1) and 107.1(b) and (c) of the Financial Regulation concerning exclusion and rejection from the procedure respectively, using the relevant form attached to the application form available at https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/swim/external/displayWelcome.do.

The same exclusion criteria apply to any affiliated entities.

 

8. SELECTION CRITERIA

The applicant (lead and co-applicants) must have the financial and operational capacity to complete the activity for which funding is requested. Only organisations with the necessary financial and operational capacity may be considered for a grant.

8.1. Financial capacity

Applicants (lead and co-applicants) must have access to solid and adequate funding to maintain their activities for the period of the action and to help finance it as necessary.

The verification of financial capacity will not apply to public bodies or to international organisations.

The applicant's (lead and co-applicants) financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application:

  •  Declaration on honour (including financial capacity to carry out the activity) (see section 14, checklist point 4);
  •   Annual balance sheets and profit and loss accounts for the last financial year available (see section 14, checklist point 16);

  •   Summary balance sheet and profit and loss accounts using the template provided in SWIM (see section 12) and signed by the legal representative (see section 14, checklist point 17);

  •   For grants of EUR 750,000.00 or more, an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last financial year available (see section 14, checklist point 18).

8.2. Operational capacity

Applicant's (lead and co-applicants) must have the professional competencies as well as appropriate qualifications necessary to complete the proposed action. In particular, applicants must have:

  •   A strong track record of experience in the fields of free movement of workers or labour mobility and in particular in the type of action proposed;

  •   The necessary operational resources (technical, management) to carry out the action.

    The operational capacity of the applicant (lead and co-applicant) to complete the proposed action must be confirmed by the submission in the proposal of the following:

  •   A list of the main projects relating to the subject of the call carried out in the last three years (see section 14, checklist point 15);

  •   The CVs of the proposed project co-ordinator and of the persons who will perform the main tasks, showing all their relevant professional experience (see section 14, checklist point 14);

  •   Declaration on honour signed by the legal representative (including operational capacity to carry out the activity) (see section 14, checklist point 4).

If the lead applicant is considered not to have the required financial or operational capacity, the application as a whole will be rejected. If a co-applicant is considered not to have the required financial or operational capacity, this co-applicant will be removed from the consortium and the application will be evaluated without this co- applicant15. In addition, the costs that are allocated to the non-selected co-applicant will be removed from the budget. If the application is accepted, the work programme will have to be adapted as appropriate.

 

9. AWARD CRITERIA

The proposals which fulfil the eligibility and selection criteria will be assessed according to the following award criteria:

√ Relevance of the proposal to the call objectives, in particular:
o The quality, clarity and comprehensiveness of the strategic objective(s) of

the proposal;

o The coherence between the objective(s) of the proposal and of the actions and the general and specific objectives of the call;

o The extent to which the action has a genuine transnational dimension. √ Quality of the methodology and of the activities proposed, in particular:

o The concrete result(s) expected and the instruments identified to attain it/them;

o The role (degree of involvement, commitment) of each stakeholder (lead applicant, co-applicants, any affiliated entities) in carrying out the action, and the strategy envisaged to coordinate them;

o The consistency between the composition of the consortium and the aim of the action.

√ Impact of the proposal, in particular:

o The added value and degree of innovativeness of the actions carried out and of the expected results with respect to existing programmes, facilities, tools or studies, including in the context of a particular geographical area, or economic sector;

o The possibility of long-term sustainability of the output beyond the period of duration of this call

√ Visibility of the proposed activities, in particular:

o Comprehensiveness, clarity and expected effectiveness of the arrangements envisaged to publicise the action and to disseminate information about the development of the action(s) and of the results of the project.

√ Cost efficiency of the operation, in particular:

o Consistency between expected costs, objective(s) of the action and envisaged activities;

o Appropriateness of staff costs with respect to the type of envisaged activity.

Applications will be ranked according to the total score awarded. Taking into account the available budget, the proposals with the highest total scores will be recommended for award, on condition that:

  •   the total score reaches at least 70% of the maximum possible mark;

  •   the score for each criterion is at least 50% of the maximum possible

    mark for that criterion.

 

10. LEGAL COMMITMENTS

In the event of a grant being awarded by the Commission, the grant agreement, drawn up in euro and detailing the conditions and level of funding, will be sent to the beneficiary, or to the coordinator in the case of multi-beneficiary grant agreements. These grant agreements are the standard agreements as approved by the Commission. Their standard provisions cannot be altered and there is no alternative to these agreements in the context of this call.

The 2 copies of the original agreement must be signed by the beneficiary, or the coordinator in the case of multi-beneficiary grant agreements, and returned to the Commission immediately. The Commission will sign it last.

The grant agreement may include corrections and deletion of ineligible costs or activities made by the Commission – therefore the applicant should carefully read the whole agreement and the budget and work programme sections in particular, before signing and returning the copies to the Commission.

A model Grant Agreement is published on the Europa website under the relevant call: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=629&langId=en.

Please note that the award of a grant does not establish an entitlement for subsequent years.

10.1. Sources of funding

In addition to the obligations with regard to visibility of Union funding foreseen in the General conditions to the grant agreement, beneficiaries must acknowledge in writing that the project has been supported by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") 2014-2020.

In practice, all products (publications, brochures, press releases, videos, CDs, posters and banners, and especially those associated with conferences, seminars and information campaigns) must state the following:

This (publication, conference, video, xxx) has received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation "EaSI" (2014-2020). For further information please consult: http://ec.europa.eu/social/easi

The European emblem must appear on every publication or other material produced. Please see:

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/communication/services/visual_identity/pdf/use- emblem_en.pdf

Every publication must include the following:

The information contained in this publication does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission.

11. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

Details on financial provisions are laid out in the Financial Guidelines for Applicants and the model Grant Agreement, both published on the Europa website under the relevant call: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=629&langId=en.

a) Specific procurement procedures

Where the value of a foreseen procurement contract for subcontracting external expertise exceeds EUR 60 000, in addition to the rules indicated in the Financial Guidelines for applicants, the following shall apply:

 the applicant must provide with the grant application a copy of the draft tender specifications. To assist applicants, a model for tender specifications is included in Annex to this call. The draft tender specifications should be submitted in English, French or German.

This requirement does not apply to public authorities which are already governed by a system of public procurement rules.

 

12. PROCEDURE FOR THE SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS

The procedure to submit proposals electronically is explained in point 14 of the "Financial Guidelines for Applicants". Before starting, please read carefully the SWIM user manual:

http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/calls/pdf/swim_manual_en.pdf

Once the application form is filled in, applicants must submit it both electronically and in hard copy, before the deadline set in section 3.b above.

The SWIM electronic application form is available until midnight on the day of the submission deadline. Since the applicants must first submit the form electronically, and then print, sign and send it by post service or hand delivery by the submission deadline, it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the appropriate postal or courier services are locally available on the day of the deadline.

The hard copy of the proposal must be duly signed and sent in duplicate (one marked “original” and one marked “copy”), including all documents listed in section 14, by the deadline (the postmark or the express courier receipt date serving as proof) to the following address:

European Commission
Call for proposals VP/2017/003 DG EMPL.D.1
Office: J-27 – 05/050 1049 Bruxelles Belgium

 

Please send your proposal by registered post, express courier service or by hand delivery only. Proof of posting or express courier receipt should be kept as it could be requested by the European Commission in cases of doubt regarding the date of submission.

Hand-delivered proposals must be received by the European Commission before 4 p.m. on the date of the deadline for submission as indicated in section 3(b) at the following address:

European Commission
Service central de réception du courrier Call for proposals VP/2017/003
DG EMPL.D.1
Avenue du Bourget, 1
1140 Evere
Belgium

 

At that time the European Commission's Mail Service will provide a signed receipt which should be conserved as proof of delivery.

If an applicant submits more than one proposal, each proposal must be submitted separately.

Additional documents sent by post, by fax or by electronic mail after the deadlines mentioned above will not be considered for evaluation unless requested by the European Commission.

The applicant's attention is also drawn to the fact that incomplete or unsigned forms, hand-written forms and those sent by fax or e-mail will not be taken into consideration.

 

13. COMMUNICATION

The information contained in the present call document together with the Financial Guidelines for Applicants provides all the information you require to submit an application. Please read it carefully before doing so, paying particular attention to the priorities of the present call.

All enquiries must be made by e-mail only to:

empl-vp-2017-003@ec.europa.eu

For any technical problems please contact: empl-swim-support@ec.europa.eu

Questions may be sent by to the above address no later than 10 days before the deadline for the submission of proposals.

The Commission has no obligation to provide clarifications to questions received after this date.

Replies will be given no later than 5 days before the deadline for submission of proposals. To ensure equal treatment of applicants, the Commission will not give a prior opinion on the eligibility of applicants, or affiliated entity(ies), an action or specific activities.

 

No individual replies to questions will be sent but all questions together with the answers and other important notices will be published (FAQ in EN) at regular intervals on the Europa website under the relevant call: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=629&langId=en.

The Commission may, on its own initiative, inform interested parties of any error, inaccuracy, omission or clerical error in the text of the call for proposals on the mentioned Europa website. It is therefore advisable to consult the above mentioned website regularly in order to be informed of the questions and answers published.

No modification to the proposal is allowed once the deadline for submission has elapsed. If there is a need to clarify certain aspects or to correct clerical mistakes, the Commission may contact the applicant for this purpose during the evaluation process.

Applicants will be informed in writing about the results of the selection process. Unsuccessful applicants will be informed of the reasons for rejection. No information regarding the award procedure will be disclosed until the notification letters have been sent to the beneficiaries.

14. Instructions for the presentation of the application and Required Documents

14.1. Instructions for the presentation of the application

The application comprises an application form including the budget, a description of the action and work plan plus a series of other required documents (see section 14.2).

The description of the action and work plan must be written using the template available in SWIM. All the information related to the description of the action and the work plan must be presented in one single document. The budget must be presented using the application form in SWIM.

Proposals should include inter alia the mandatory activities indicated in section 2.3 above in the description of the action and the work plan and foresee the corresponding expenditure in the budget estimate.

In case of subcontracting any tasks comprising part of the action (see the Financial Guidelines), the description of the action must provide details on the tasks to be subcontracted and the reasons for doing so and these tasks must be clearly identified in the budget. Core tasks as defined in section 6.2(c) of the call cannot be subcontracted.

14.2. Required documents

The table in annex includes the documents that should be provided in addition to the documents mentioned in 14.1 Except for items 8, 11 and 1216 which can be submitted only for successful applications, please note that all other documents are necessary either for the admissibility (see section 5) or for the analysis of the eligibility (see section 6) or selection criteria (see section 8). It also indicates where originals are required. We recommend that applicants use the table as a checklist in order to verify compliance with all requirements.

While some information must be supplied using the templates available in the SWIM, other documents may need to be completed and/or attached electronically, usually either administrative documents or free format text descriptions. The SWIM application indicates in each section where SWIM templates should be used as well as which and where free format documents can be uploaded electronically.

Copies of the signed originals will be accepted for most of the documents to be submitted by the co-applicants. However, the lead applicant shall keep the original signed versions for its records, because originals may have to be submitted for certain documents at a later stage. If the lead applicant fails to submit these original documents within the deadline given by the Commission, the proposal will be rejected for lack of administrative compliance.

Regarding the compilation of the application file, it is recommended to:

  1. 1)  follow the order of documents as listed in the checklist (and attach a ticked checklist as below to the proposal);

  2. 2)  print the documents double-sided;

  3. 3)  use 2-hole folders (do not bind or glue; stapling is acceptable).



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