Community Living for Europe: Structural Funds Watch 2016 Survey

We want to make sure that EU funds are being used to support community living for all. We need your help!

About the initiative:

Community Living for Europe: Structural Funds Watch is an independent initiative that is monitoring the use of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), specifically the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund in the transition from institutional care to community based living.  Central to the initiatives work is raising awareness of the potential of the ESIF to end institutional care by developing community based support services for children, their families, persons with disabilities including persons with mental health problems and older persons. We aim to build knowledge of the EU regulations and mechanics of the funds, highlight local, national and EU level actors who manage, monitor and control the funds and empower civil society participation in this change process.  Results from the survey will directly support advocacy efforts at local level. 
 
We want to collect information on if and how the ESIF are being used to support the transition to community living.  By completing this survey you will help us identify promising practices and barriers faced in using the funds for deinstitutionalisation (DI) as well as demonstrate whether and how the ESIF regulations are being implemented.  The questions in this survey are for those with direct experience in the use of ESIF to support the transition from institutional care to community based living.   If you have any questions on the survey please feel free to e-mail us - communitylivingforeurope@nuigalway.ie

Information for completing the survey:

The EU regulations and guidance documents clearly state that the ESIF must support measures for the transition from institutional to family and community based support services (deinstitutionalisation-DI).  These measures should prevent the need for institutionalisation, develop services based in the community enabling people to live independently and, enable access to mainstream services (education and training, employment, housing, health, transport, leisure activities) to everyone, regardless the nature of their impairment.  Guidance on the use of the ESIF and DI produced by the Commission state that building or renovating long-stay residential institutions is excluded from ESIF support, regardless of their size, as this is not in line with the existing EU and international legislation and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  
 
An institution is any residential care where:
• residents are isolated from the broader community and/or compelled to live together;
• residents do not have sufficient control over their lives and over decisions which affect them;
• the requirements of the organisation itself tend to take precedence over the residents’ individual needs.
 
The European Commission has introduced conditions on access to the funds that are to ensure policy and regulatory frameworks are in place at the national level before the ESIF can be spent (ex ante conditionalities).  An ex ante conditionality has been introduced for the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund Investment priorities (types of activities that will be supported by these funds).  Ex ante conditionality 9.1 requires Member States to have and to implement a national strategic policy framework for poverty reduction aiming at active inclusion.  Where needs are identified, Member States must include measures for the shift from institutional to community based care in their national strategic policy framework for poverty reduction (see Annex XI Part 1 Common Provision Regulation 1303/2013 p. 448, ex ante conditionality 9.1).  The European Commission identified the need to include measures for the shift from institutional to community based care in twelve Member States national strategic policy frameworks: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Croatia.  

(see the Toolkit on the use of European Union Funds for the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care http://www.deinstitutionalisationguide.eu/ page 22).
 
Investment priorities linked to ex ante conditionality 9.1:
European Social Fund Investment Priorities (Article 3(1)(b)(i) and (iv) ESF Regulation (EU) No 1304/2013)
European Regional Development Fund Investment Priorities (Article 5(9)(a) and (b) ERDF Regulation (EU) No 1301/2013)

The ESIF Common Provision Regulation 1303/2013 strengthens the role of civil society and NGOs as partners in the implementation of the ESIF, in particular by introducing a European Code of Conduct on Partnership (ECCP). 
The main principles of the ECCP include the following:
  • partners selected should be representative of the relevant stakeholders;
  • selection procedures should be transparent and take into account the different institutional and legal frameworks of the Member States;
  • partners should be involved in the preparation and implementation of the Partnership Agreement and programmes; for this purpose, it is necessary to establish minimum procedural requirements in order to ensure timely, meaningful and transparent consultation (i.e. sufficient time for consultation, availability of documents, etc.);
  • partners should be represented within the monitoring committees of programmes, throughout the whole cycle (i.e. preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation);
  • effective implementation of a partnership should be ensured by strengthening the institutional capacity of relevant partners through capacity building activities targeting social partners and organisations representing civil society who are involved in the programmes;
  • exchange of experience and mutual learning should be facilitated, in particular through the establishment of a Community of Practice on Partnership covering all the ESI Funds;
  • the role of the partners in the implementation of the Partnership Agreement, as well as the performance and effectiveness of the partnership during the programming period should be subject to assessment 
Thank you for completing this survey and providing us with such valuable information.  

For more information about the initiative please see our resource website: www.communitylivingforeurope.org.  To send us documents related to your answers or further information you feel relevant please e-mail these to: communitylivingforeurope@nuigalway.ie
 
* General information

1. Your name
2. Your e-mail
* 3. Country
* 4. In which sector do you work? 
5. Name of your organisation
Applicability and fulfilment of ex ante conditionality 9.1

Member States must have and implement a 'national strategic policy framework for poverty reduction aiming at the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market in the light of the Employment guidelines'. This is a document or set of documents at national or regional level and must include measures for the shift from institutional to community based care in twelve Member States - Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Croatia.

For reference see Annex XI Part 1 Common Provision Regulation 1303/2013, page 448.

6. Is your country using ESIF to support the shift from institutional to family and community based care (deinstitutionalisation – DI)?
 
If no, is the DI process being adequately funded from the national and/or regional budget or other sources?
7. Please state below the name, and if possible provide a link to, your country's national strategic policy framework for poverty reduction aiming at active inclusion.  This is the document or set of documents established at national or regional level that were assessed as fulfilling ex ante conditionality 9.1 in your country's Partnership Agreement/Operational Programme(s).

For reference see 'Guidance on ex ante conditionalities for the European Structural and Investment Funds' Part II (13th February 2014) page 257-258.
 
8. What is your assessment of the national strategic policy framework for poverty reduction aiming at active inclusion? (choose all that apply)

For reference:
European Commission Guidance on ex ante conditionalities for the European Structural and Investment Funds Part II, 13th February 2014, page 257-267
2008 Recommendation on active inclusion
National Reform Programme              
 
Comments (please include any information you feel relevant for example, if the DI measures in the national strategic policy framework apply only to certain groups but not to others, if Action Plans defined in Article 19(2) Common Provision Regulation 1303/2013 on any of the above criteria are currently being implemented)
DI measures in the national strategic policy framework for poverty reduction 

9. Are the proposed DI measures based on… (choose all that apply) 
 
Comments
10. Are the DI measures underpinned by a strategic vision (or a stated goal) for the closure of institutions and development of community-based services supporting community living for all groups?
 
Comments
11. Do the DI measures in the national strategic policy framework plan to support a range of services in the community? For example, making mainstream services such as housing accessible and available to all, measures that prevent institutional care and measures for the development of specific services such as Personal Assistance. (choose all that apply)
 
Comments
12. Do the DI measures in the national strategic policy framework enable all children, including children with disabilities, to grow up in their family or in family like settings and prevent institutional care? (choose all measures that are to be supported by the funds in your country)
 
Comments
13. Are the DI measures in the national strategic policy framework further elaborated in specific national and/or regional strategies and action plans on DI?

For reference see the Toolkit on the Use of European Union Funds for the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (http://www.deinstitutionalisationguide.eu/) page 31-32.
 
Comments (please name the specific DI strategy/plan and add any comments you may have on it)
Involvement in Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes in relation to DI

14. Did the government consult with civil society in relation to its ESIF plans? For example, was civil society consulted on the allocations of ERDF/ESF funding, the identification of needs or the main results to be acheived.

For reference see the European Code of Conduct on Partnership Article 6
 
Please describe how civil society was involved and in relation to what.
15. Was the consultation of civil society inclusive of all representative organisations including children, families, persons with disabilities including people with mental health problems and older persons?
 
Comments
16. Was the consultation and involvement of civil society quite general in focus or was it specific to DI?
 
Comments
17. What was civil society consulted on during the development of ESIF Operational Programme(s) in relation to DI? (choose all that apply)

For reference see European Code of Conduct on Partnership Article 8
 
Please describe how civil society was involved and any other comments such as the quality of involvement experienced
18.  Has your organisation benefitted from Technical Assistance or capacity building from the ESIF?
 
If Yes, please specify
Monitoring DI

19. Please share your observations on and experience of the functioning of the Monitoring Committee (MC).  (choose all that apply)

Note: 'support' could include dedicated workshops, training sessions, coordination and networking structures or contributions to the cost of participating in meetings.  We would like to gather specific examples of civil society/NGO experiences on the MC, for example the barriers faced or support provided that was helpful, please include any examples in the comment box.

For reference see Article 49 and 110 Common Provision Regulation 1303/2013 that set out the functions of the MC.
 
Comments (please include in your opinion what would strengthen the role of the MC to monitor DI)
Calls for Proposals

20. Has your organisation been involved in the preparation of Calls for Proposals supporting DI?
 
If yes, please specify how you were involved and which calls you were involved in
21. Do you have concerns about any of the Calls for Proposals and/or attached Technical Standards documents related to the DI process?  For example, the development of social/health services, planned building or refurbishment of infrastructure, use of the European Social Fund within institutions/special schools that supports the institutional care of children, persons with disabilities or older persons. 
 
Comments
Use of Funding

22. Are you aware of any EU funding that is currently being used to support institutional care for children, persons with disabilities and/or older persons in your country?  For example, the building and/or refurbishment of an institution (the definition of an institution is stated in the information section at the top of the survey).  The use of funding to improve conditions within institutions/special schools that support the continued existence of long term residential care such as: providing education in an institution, employment of psychologists and/or social workers in an institution, purchasing of sporting or play equipment for use in an institution/special school/long-term residential setting.

EU funding includes for example, any of the European Structural and Investment Funds in particular the ERDF and ESF, cross border funding under the Integrated Regional Development goal (INTERREG), The European Fund for Strategic Investments (Juncker Investment Fund), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and/or the European Economic Area (EEA) and Norway Grants.
 
Comments
23.  Where institutions have been reduced or closed, has the money saved been 'ring-fenced' for investment in developing community based services?
 
Comments (Can you confirm your answer with official data or evidence?)
24. Are you aware of projects (either ongoing or planned) concerning children, persons with disabilities and/or older persons that have taken an innovative and effective approach to supporting DI in your country?  

For example, the development of integrated community based support services, preventive measures such as early childhood intervention, the development of personalised transition plans for each person currently in an institution, peer support projects, awareness raising, staff training on the transition from institutional care to community based/in-home care, local government and NGO/civil society collaboration in relation to DI, accessible social housing projects, effective complementary use of the ERDF and the ESF in the DI process.
 
Please explain
* 25. Please note that we may use quotations and information from this survey in our publicity materials including our website/social media. Please confirm below whether or not your organisation gives consent to being included alongside quotations and information in future Community Living for Europe: Structural Funds Watch publications. 
 
Additional comments - please include any additional information you think relevant that has not been covered above.