Final report of the study 'Use and intended use of simplified cost options in ESi Funds'

Written By Nicola Brignani
Publishing 01 June 2018

The European Commission – Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy published the final report of the study 'Use and intended use of simplified cost options in European Social Fund (ESF), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Cohesion Fund (CF) and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)'.

The study has been coordinated by Nicola Brignani and Luca Santin, with the collaboration of Paola Le Moglie, Carla Sopranzetti, Elodie Lorgeoux, Dea Hrelja, Paolo Seri, Sabine Zillmer, Christian Lüer, Frank Holstein, Andrea Floria, Irina Ciocirlan, Jan Vozab, Tiia Johansson, Amaya Morales, Tommi Ranta, Maria Topsidou, Sebastian Bonis, Vytenis Cipinys, Sebastian Hans, Tatjana Muravska, Stephanie Vella, Jacek Kotrasinski, Tobias Fridholm, Jan Persson, Petra Očkerl, Neculai-Cristian Surubaru.
The e-survey has been developed by Smartpeg Srl.
The main objective of the study is to assess the use and intended use of Simplified Cost Options (SCOs) across Member States (MS) and ESI Funds. The study is based on an online survey carried out between September and October 2017 of all EAFRD, ESF and ERDF-CF Managing Authorities (MAs), including MAs of multi fund programmes.
The study shows that between 2014 and 2017 the large majority of ESIF MAs used SCOs (64% of EAFRD Rural Development Programmes (RDPs), 73% of ERDF-CF Operational Programmes (OPs) and 95% of ESF OPs. SCOs are expected to be used even more as from 2018. It is expected that at the end of the programming period SCOs will cover approximately 33% of ESF, 2% of EAFRD and 4% of ERDF-CF budget. In the case of ERDF-CF, the use of SCO is higher for ETC programmes.
Overall, more developed regions show a greater use of SCOs than less developed regions (for more developed regions 11% of ERDF/CF budget and 58% of ESF budget are expected to be covered by SCOs).
Among the type of SCOs, the study shows that flat rates and SSUC are largely used under EAFRD and ESF, while in the case of ERDF/CF the MAs mainly use flat rates.
The majority of ESI Fund MAs highlight the need for further support to help improve the use of SCOs. Key recommendations are to increase the number of EU and national level SCOs, to support exchanges of experience and practice and to promote collaboration between MAs and Audit Authorities (or Certification Bodies).
The figure below shows the uptake of the use of SCOs among EAFRD, ERDF/CF and ESF programmes.