June 12, 2019
European funds at risk
EU auditors have suspended payments on the £22m that Scotland receives from the European Social Fund due to concerns over the programme’s management. Unease around the internal systems that were being designed for the European Social Fund stretches back to when the original rules for the management of the programme were being drafted. Advice from experienced third sector representatives at the time predicted that problems could arise and unfortunately that’s exactly what has happened. The very existence of some third sector organisations is now in jeopardy due to delayed payments.
In response to an article published in the Daily Record on the suspension of European Social Fund grants in Scotland, SCVO Chief Executive Anna Fowlie said:
“SCVO has been working with Scottish Government and colleagues in the voluntary sector since this potentially devastating situation emerged. We have had concerns about the process for managing European funding for some time and have been pressing Scottish Government to address them.
“Third sector providers have been working in good faith with the most vulnerable people in our communities who desperately need support into work. While the delay or even loss of this funding hits local authorities hard, it looks increasingly likely that long standing and successful third sector organisations will go out of business. That is not only awful for those organisations and their staff, it has a huge impact on the people they support.
“The situation has now become urgent and Ministers need to intervene and find a solution now, keeping the sector included and informed at every stage.”