ESF Information Memo 23/21 - Verification of participants’ data on the ESIF database

This memo provides guidance to project promoters around the verification of participant data to ensure the accuracy of data reported in the Annual Implementation Report (AIR) to the European Commission.

Dear Project Promoter, 

European Social Fund Northern Ireland logo containing text "European Union, European Social Fund, Northern Ireland"

The ESF Managing Authority (MA) carries out verification of participant data to ensure the accuracy of data reported in the Annual Implementation Report (AIR) to the European Commission. During the verification of the 2020 AIR data, the following issues were detected:

  • the PTP/IRI/Disability Declarations were not uploaded to the database in a timely manner
  • where there is no wet signature on PTP/IRI document, absence of appropriate email as supporting evidence as set out in ESF memos 18/21 and 09/20.

The lack of evidence to support participant data recorded on the ESIF database can have significant implications on the timing and quality of data reported in the AIR and could result in penalties being imposed by the Commission. To address these issues, the following new verification procedures have been established:

  • the MA will sample 25% of projects tested during the April – June 2021 verification period to ensure the necessary evidence is uploaded and that data it reflects has been accurately entered on the database
  • any project falling below 100% verification will be subject to a further verification in the next quarter
  • if the verification rate remains below 100% a suspension in payments may be imposed until matters have been addressed
  • participants submitted on the database without the required evidence will not be counted against LoO targets i.e. participants who fail verification checks will not be included in the project’s actual achievement figures going forward. 

The MA will then select a further 25% of projects in the next three quarters so that all projects will be checked during the year.

Going forward, all projects should ensure all PTPs, disability declarations and IRI evidence are uploaded to ESIF immediately once they are available, and that they are accurate. Electronic signatures on performance documentation should be supported by e mail confirmation either by the participant or the member of staff.

A review of memos 18/21 and 09/20 will take place in October 2021 to establish whether there is an ongoing need to suspend the requirement for wet signatures on performance monitoring documentation, however, unless advised otherwise, the second level verification procedures set out above will continue throughout year 4 and into Call 3.

Annie McGowan
Head of ESF Project Delivery Branch

Related articles

Back to top