Scroll down for information about the first level control, FAQ about the consequences of Brexit, or ask directly Interreg Europe representative in the United Kingdom.
There is one point of contact for enquiries about the programme based at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Each part of the UK also has a website with specific regional information.
First level control information
This section provides information on the system set up for first level control in your country. Any costs associated with this control are indicated so they can be planned for in any project budget.
United Kingdom has opted for a decentralised first level control system. The body responsible for the approbation of first level controllers is the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The address and contact persons are stated below.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
ETC Programmes, Compliance and Audit
3rd Floor SW Qtr., Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
Once the project is approved the Ministry will contact the project partners in the UK about appointing a first level controller. The Ministry will provide all the necessary guidance on the appointment process. The project partners will have to propose an independent internal or external controller to the Ministry using an on-line form which should be sent to a dedicated e-mail address. The approval will also be completed on-line by the Ministry. No paper copies will be used in the process.
The costs resulting from the control can be reported as eligible costs in compliance with the relevant EU-regulations and programme rules.
In compliance with the article 23 (4) of the Regulation (EU) No 1299/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 and article 125 (5) and (6) of the Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013, on-the-spot verifications are done for each project partner at least once during the project lifetime. For first level controllers controlling more than one project partner, sampling may be possible under the condition that the method is well justified and documented.
The Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK means that projects will be able to continue as planned, under the same arrangements and rules as before. If the end of the transition period means any changes for your project, the joint secretariat (JS) and/or UK national contact point will contact you. For now, you should carry on delivering your project as planned.
The following questions may help if you have specific queries. You can download them all here.
- Can I still participate in my project from 1 January 2021?
The Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU confirms that 2014-20 ETC programmes will be able to continue with UK project partners, and UK project partners can continue delivering their projects in line with existing programme rules and timescales.
- Can I bid for more money in currently open or future funding calls?
Yes. The Withdrawal Agreement between the EU means that UK organisations can still apply for funding and can deliver projects until project closure. UK organisations can and should continue to secure funding and deliver successful projects for the current programming period.
- Can I stop doing some administration or audit tasks after 1 January 2021?
The Withdrawal Agreement means that your project can continue as planned, including under the existing terms of your contract. You are still subject to the same eligibility rules as set out in your contract, you still have to follow all audit and first level control requirements, and you will remain liable for any irregular expenditure that you claim.
- Will I still be able to do all the activities in my contract from 1 January 2021?
The Withdrawal Agreement means that your project is still able to continue, and please be reassured that the programme wants to support you to deliver successfully. If you are concerned that you may no longer be able to undertake some activities in full, you should discuss this with your JS contact.
- Will all existing expenditure still be eligible?
Your project can continue as planned under the existing terms of your contract, and all expenditure remains eligible providing it is delivered in line with the EU and programme eligibility rules as set out in your contract. You will still have to follow all audit and first level control requirements, and you will remain liable for any irregular expenditure that you claim.
- Will additional banking / transaction fees from January be eligible?
Office and administrative expenditure, which includes bank charges for administering an account, is covered by your existing overheads budget line, i.e. a flat rate of [15%] of each partner's staff costs.
- Will any additional costs related to the movement of people be eligible? Will any additional costs related to the movement of goods be eligible?
If there are any such additional costs, these would be eligible for your project provided they are in line with programme rules and the terms of your contract. You may want to speak with your JS officer to clarify any specifics relating to your project.
Please be aware that the expectation is that you manage this within the existing project budget and the limits of the budget flexibility rules.
- Can I still hold my .eu domain name from 1 January 2021?
Guidance on this is contained at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-domain-names-what-you-need-to-do-before-the-end-of-the-transition-period, and this will apply to all UK organisations. You should follow the advice here, including to contact your domain registrar to understand what this means for you. You should also contact your lead partner or joint secretariat contact to seek their advice.
A number of UK-based ETC project partners have already transferred domain registrations to one of their EU project partners, and this may be something that you wish you explore within your project.
Additional guidance for the Interreg Europe programme: as the Interreg Europe programme is hosting all project websites on the programme website, the programme does not expect this to be an issue for most Interreg Europe project partners.
- Will there be changes to how can I store, access and share data as part of my work in the project? What do I do if data can no longer be shared and my planned project activities cannot proceed as normal?
If the UK and the EU reach a data sharing agreement to enable the free flow of data, you can continue sharing data within your project. However, if no agreement is reached, you may be unable to do so in the same way you do now. The UK national contact points and the programme will ensure you are kept up-to-date on this, and will provide any further guidance as necessary. More information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-personal-data-in-your-business-or-other-organisation-after-the-transition-period
- Will I still be granted access to programme IT systems via their portals?
Yes, you will still be able to access the programme IT systems you need to be able to manage your project and receive payment.
- Can you confirm that we can continue as lead partner for the project whatever happens? Will it still be acceptable for a UK lead partner to undertake all the functions and responsibilities or should we now look to find a lead partner from a Member State?
The Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU means that the UK will continue to participate in current programmes until they end. UK organisations currently acting as lead partners in projects should therefore continue to undertake all functions and responsibilities as at present.
- Can I as UK partner participate in an Interreg Europe project in the new programming period (2021-2027)?
For the 2021-27 funding period, the UK does not participate in Interreg programmes. This means that the UK partners are considered as partners from countries outside the programme area.
They may participate in an Interreg Europe project if their participation contributes to its delivery. However, these partners must provide their own funding since they are ineligible to receive funding from the ERDF under the 2021-2027 period.
Further information can be found in the programme manual Section 184.108.40.206 Funding for partners from outside the programme area.
A note for project partners from the United Kingdom:
ETC programmes are separately adapting to support project partners through the COVID-19 crisis. Each managing authority is setting out what it means for their programme and project partners.
Please contact your lead partner, relevant joint secretariat / managing authority, or visit the relevant programme website.
Alternatively, you can contact the MHCLG ETC team via [email protected]
The above-mentioned body will perform the first level control free of charge to project partners from Northern Ireland.
The first level control body will organise on-the-spot-checks on a sample basis using a risk-based approach.