Developing "Off the Shelf" Simplified Cost Options (SCOs)
Study prepared by PPMI for DG EMPL, 2017
What was the problem?
The European Commission is committed to simplifying the implementation of European Structural and Investment Funds in the 2014-2020 programming period, by decreasing the heavy burden of administration. The Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) has therefore committed itself to covering at least 50% of the ESF funds using simplified cost options (SCOs). DG EMPL will set up EU-level SCOs in order to stimulate the further use of these options. This will facilitate the take-up of SCOs by those Member States (MS) that lack the administrative capacity and experience necessary to develop their own national-level SCOs.
What did PPMI do?
PPMI is developing SCOs in the areas of training for people in employment, training for the unemployed, and employment services (employment pathway). To calculate these SCOs, PPMI will collect various statistical, monitoring and administrative data from Member States. In case some MS will be unable to provide all necessary data, a data extrapolation method will be constructed. The use of SCOs instead of real costs creates some risks, hence PPMI will propose tools to avoid ‘creaming’ or perverse incentives, and define an audit trail between the European Commission and the Managing Authorities. PPMI will also develop a mechanism to revise SCO rates in the future, which will enable the European commission to ensure the continuing relevance of the SCOs.
How did it contribute to solving the problem?
The outputs prepared by PPMI will allow the European Commission to establish EU-level SCOs in areas such as training for people in employment, training for the unemployed, and employment services (employment pathway). Hence, a practical instrument will be available for Member States to simplify the implementation of ESF in the aforementioned areas. If actively applied, this will increase the share of ESF funds covered by SCOs.