Collaboration and experience sharing between countries is an effective tool for accessing innovated ideas and approaches, including the gaining of new skills. The Transnational Learning Networks (co-financed by ESF Technical Assistance) serves as pilots for identifying specific policy needs for transnational cooperation, testing effective exchange and cooperation arrangements, such as learning from others in the communities who have practical experience in solving problems/issues, and for gaining a critical mass of commitment from Managing Authorities and Intermediate Bodies.
By capacity building and mutual learning between ESF managing and implementing bodies and strategic stakeholders of different EU countries, the Agency aims to contribute to the ESF policy through learning from other countries. The following are the EU learning networks the Agency is actively participating:
Active Inclusion (AI) Learning Network
European Commission Employment, Social Affairs and the Inclusion Directorate General project, participating countries: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Sweden, United Kingdom, 2012-14
The core objective of the Network is to enhance employment prospects of socially disadvantaged groups by identifying where and what type of support is required, what policies work best and to offer the best chance of successful employment. Through examining current policies and intervention, the Network aimed to identify the barriers faced by individuals as well as combat discrimination these individuals face when attempting to gain employment and during their employment.
Informal Network of ESF Information Officers (INIO)
European Commission Employment, Social Affairs and the Inclusion Directorate General project, participating countries: EU MS, since 2013
Since 1995, INIO or the Informal Network of ESF Information Officers have met regularly, members comprise of representatives from Member States and are responsible for informing the public about the European Social Fund and its funding opportunities. The information officer‘s goal is to ensure that the people within their Member State know about the projects and actions co-funded by the EU and that the community's role in this is visible.
The Baltic Sea Network European Social Fund (BSN-ESF)
Swedish Institute Baltic Sea Unit project, participating countries: Flanders, Finland, Check Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, since 2011
The Network‘s aim is to strengthen the transnational cooperation between projects funded by the ESF in the Member States. A particular focus of the network is cooperation between projects and stakeholders in the Member States in the Baltic Sea Region.
Learning Network on Transnational Cooperation in ESF
ESF and state budget of the Check Republic project, participating countries: EU MS, 2012-13
The Network‘s aim was to foster learning and to build capacity among ESF programme managers to help ensure successful implementation and promotion of transnational actions under ESF.
Result Based Management International ESF Learning Network
DG EMPL project, participating countries: Check Republic, Greece, Lithuania, Sweden, Flanders, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia, 2009-14
The Network was designed for policy-makers and programme managers involved with the preparation, management, monitoring and evaluation of European Union Structural Funds programmes specifically ERDF and ESF. However, it is of relevance to any public funding manager who seeks to increase the orientation of the funding towards obtaining more results. The operational definition of RBM, “Results Based Management is the way an organization applies processes and resources to achieve targeted results“.
Learning Network From School to Work - S2W
The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) Baltic sea flagship project, participating countries: Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Hamburg, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, since 2013
The Flagship project School to Work (S2W) aims to strengthen transnational cooperation between stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region in the field of education and work in order to prevent early school leaving and develop support for vulnerable groups of students/youth. The project will thus contribute to the achievement of relevant targets in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the EU's overall strategy Europe 2020. Policy gaps and system flaws will be identified and cooperation models once established, jointly worked through in order to develop new solutions, methods and models.
The initiative will create a common platform of understanding and learning and disseminate different successful methods to deal with the issues around drop outs. The actions performed within the Flagship project will contribute to the Europe 2020 aims of both “smart growth” and “inclusive growth” and are of significant importance for the future of our region.
3B ESF meetings
Since 2011, the representatives from the ESFA participates in the annual 3B meetings of all in-stitutions managing ESF funds in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. While comparing the rates be¬tween the three Baltic countries, participants are searching for more efficient and effective ways to administrate the European Social Fund means.