European Social Fund update information

Local authorities and partners considering the submission of applications to the European Social Fund (ESF) should note that the Official Programme was adopted on 11 September 2015. Further information and links to advice on how you can track further developments is provided below.  

The European Social Fund (ESF) is an important source of funding for councils to help develop the skills and employment prospects of local residents and meet the skills needs of local businesses.  

The DWP as the Managing Authority (MA) for the fund, provides updated information and timescales for local authorities and their partners to submit bids to run projects backed by the ESF. Further details and sign up options for updates are available

The LGA guidance on how to apply for ESF funds in the context of Universal Credit related projects was published in October 2014, and includes some relevant case studies. The guidance provides some helpful learning points from the experience of others who have previously applied and had their submission approved.


Further details

Against a background of reduced domestic funding for this type of activity, ESF still provides some opportunities to resource local authority exploratory activity and pilot work which would not otherwise be possible.  

The England European Social Fund (ESF) Operational Programme (OP) was formally adopted by the European Commission on 11 September 2015 and gives the green light to substantial structural fund investments in England. (see

3 November 2015