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Finance Helpdesk Newsletter #13

Commission Ex Ante Check rules

Grant Agreement Negotiations

Grant Agreement Negotiation draft guidance notes

Grant Agreement Preparation Forms

Guidance Notes on Audit Certification

Updated versions of FP7 Guide to Financial Issues

Updates to Model Grant Agreement Annexes

How to Calculate Man Rates and Man Months for FP7

Updated Project Work Ethics and Best Practice Paper Published

FP7 Budget Tables tool

Upcoming Workshops & Events

 

Commission Ex Ante Check rules:

During Grant Agreement Negotiations, the Commission will be conducting Ex Ante checks on some potential beneficiaries.

The Commission document which defines the rules was adopted on 13 June 2007 and is available now.

 

These rules are applicable to ALL FP7 Indirect Actions taking the form of a Grant Agreement.

Officially they are known as:

“Rules to ensure consistent verification of the existence and legal status of participants, as well as their operational and financial capacities, in indirect actions supported through the form of a grant under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013) and under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for nuclear research and training activities (2007-2011)”

 

To Download the document please click here.

 

Grant Agreement Negotiations:

Congratulations to all of you that have had good news from the first Calls of FP7. Now is the time for you to conduct negotiations with the Commission and your own Consortia. It is important not to get complacent during this stage. You have to ensure that you are happy with the Technical Annex and the Consortium Agreement. Remember – if you sign away rights, then you cannot complain afterwards.

This first round of FP7 negotiations with the Commission is a learning process as much for the Project Officer as for you. There are many issues that are still very much up in the air - The 60% overhead level for SMEs being a classic point. We have heard from various Project Officers that they themselves do not know whether the 60% is allowed or not and are conducting the negotiations as they see fit, knowing that they may have to change the GPFs once the Commission will rule on the 60% for SMEs issue probably some time near the end of September.

We are conducting a 1 Day FP7 Contract Negotiation and Project Kick-off Workshop in Brussels, Belgium, on 20/09/2007 to assist you.

 

The Workshop will cover:

 

·          Differences between FP6 and FP7

·          Negotiations with the Commission

·          Negotiation on Annex 1

·          Grant Preparation Forms

·          Technical Collective Responsibility

·          Financial Viability and Capability of the Coordinator

·          Unique Registration Facility

·          Consortium Agreement

·          Consortium Check-list

·          Distribution of the effort and funding between the partners

·          Negotiations between Partners

·          Role of the Coordinator

·          Project Initiation

·          Cash flow during a typical project

·          Kick-off Meeting

 

Grant Agreement Negotiation draft guidance notes:

These guidance notes are aimed at assisting participants who are invited for project negotiation following the evaluation of their proposal. It outlines the information and procedures in the negotiation process. It is provided for information purposes only and its contents are not intended to replace consultation of any applicable legal sources or the necessary advice of a legal expert, where appropriate. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on its behalf can be held responsible for the use made of these guidance notes.

First Published 20.06.07 and updated 31.07.07.

 

To download the notes please click here.

 

Grant Agreement Preparation Form:

The Coordinator of a successful Proposal will receive a pre-filled GPF, in order to prepare and start the negotiation phase. In order to open the forms, you will be required to download the GPF Editor application.

The GPF editor has the same look and feel of the old CFP editor. There are a few bugs in the GPF that are currently being corrected.

To download the GPF editor application and to have access to the user guide please click here.

 

Guidance Notes on Audit Certification:

The Working Group On Certificate On The Methodology Under FP7 which consists of:

DG RESEARCH, DG INFORMATION SOCIETY AND MEDIA, DG ENERGY AND TRANSPORT, DG ENTERPRISE AND INDUSTRY and DG BUDGET, have produced Guidance Notes For Beneficiaries and Auditors on the Certificates Issued By External Auditors.

Published 23.07.07.

 

Some important points to note from this guidance:

1)             The issue of an audit certificate does not waive the right of the EU to re-examine the methodology.

2)             The auditor must be independent but does not have to be the auditor for the organisation's annual accounts.

3)             The cost of the audit of methodology is an expense in the first Financial Statements,          after acceptance by the EU.

4)             The cost of the certificate should be reasonable and comparable to relevant market prices for similar services of the auditor.

5)             The Commission will not pay for the cost of calculation of methodology only the audit.

6)             Section 4 of the guidance notes gives a list of the documents to be supplied to the auditors, in addition to the calculations prepared by the organisation. The list is not exhaustive and the auditor should carefully review it and determine whether additional documentation is required before the report can be issued.

7)             The following are the advantages of the use of the certification on the Methodology:

 

Without CoM/CoMAv

With CoM/CoMAv

 

No use of average costs for direct personnel costs

Use of average costs for direct personnel costs allowed: all beneficiaries who intend to declare average personnel costs must have a certified methodology approved by the EC (see Art. II.14 of the model grant agreement)

Individual calculation of actual costs for personnel audited

No recalculation individuals actual costs for personnel in the certificate on the financial statements for the final payment or during ex-post audit

Errors in costs claimed are detected when processing payments or during ex-post audits

Early detection and corrections of possible errors in personnel and indirect costs claimed

No certainty that the methodology used by the beneficiary to calculate their claims is conforming to the provisions of the model grant agreement

Early assessment of compliance to contractual provisions of methodology applied to calculate personnel and indirect costs

Without CoM, one CFS to be submitted for each  interim payment exceeding EUR 375,000 when cumulated with all previous payments for which a certificate on the financial payments has not been submitted (except if the project duration is less than two years; in the case, only at the end)

Waiving of interim CFS only with CoM

CFS valid only for the relevant costs claimed

CoM/CoMAv valid throughout all FP7 projects

 

With CoM, reduced costs for the whole certification system

 

With CoM, simplification of administrative burden both for beneficiaries and EC operational services (less number of certificates to provide/process)

 

To download the notes please click here.

 

Updated versions of FP7 Guide to Financial Issues:

The Commission have released an updated version of the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues -24.07.07 which is available from our website here.

 

Updates to Model Grant Agreement Annexes:

There have been updates to the following Annexes of the Model Grant Agreement which are dated 31.07.2007:

 

Under ‘Cooperation’ and ‘Capacities’:

Annex VI – Form C for combination of CP and CSA - Version 2, 2007-07-31

List of special clauses - Version 2, 31/7/2007

 

Under ‘People’ (Marie Curie):

List of special clauses - Version 2, 31/7/2007

 

To download these updates please click here.

 

How to Calculate Man Rates and Man Months for FP7:

The Finance Helpdesk helpline has been receiving many questions regarding Man Months and Man Month Rates recently, so we have produced a leaflet which explains the basics and gives an example of working out Man Months.

 

To download the leaflet please click here.

 

Updated Project Work Ethics and Best Practice Paper Published:

In FP6 the Commission devolved many responsibilities to the consortia. This unintentionally opened the doors wide for abuse of trust within Projects.

 

In the new rules and regulation for FP7, the Commission try to make "simplifications". However, any change is a complication, and several of the FP7 changes could exasperate the situation.

 

This paper is an update to the original EFPConsulting document which enumerated the various aspects and suggested approaches to rectify the situation for FP7. The update expands on the original paper and includes some new aspects as a result of the initial calls in FP7.

 

To view the updated Paper please click here.

 

FP7 Proposal Budgeting tool:

We have made some modifications to our “Budget Tables for CPs” tool. We have a modified tool available now to take into account the actual overheads on personnel costs. The vast majority of proposers will not require this, as most use either a flat rate or the simplified method for overheads. It also includes some other usability enhancements.

To download the tool, click here.

 

Upcoming Workshops & Events:

 

17/09/2007     2 Day Proposal Writing Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.

19/09/2007     1 Day FP7 Financial Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.

20/09/2007    1 Day FP7 Contract Negotiation and Project Kick-off Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.

05/11/2007     1 Day SME Measures Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.

06/11/2007     3 Day in-depth FP7 Financial Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.

 

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