Irregularities toolkit: how to prevent, detect & treat errors

December 3-7, 2018, Hilton Malta Hotel

Price: EUR 2,999

Register by 12 November 2018 and pay EUR1,999

Course Description

Results trump errors. Isn’t this the rallying call of the EU for the 2014-20 period? With a level of error of 3.1% in 2016, us Member States and the EU institutions are left waiting for the effects of the new 14-20 regime. Whilst it is true that the performance of the EU is not only a function of its error rate, it is also reasonable to expect a reduction in errors in this programming period to increase the value for money of each euro invested by the EU citizen. And this answers a legitimate question on this course: why do we have to put a limelight on the negatives of EU funding and not on its many positives? Well, we believe that knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error as well. In times when error instantly sounds thunder around the world while success only struggles a quiet shine through the noise, analyzing mistakes makes it both relevant and appealing. By looking at the past, the EU institutions are engaged on a continuous quest for programme and regulatory improvement, devising new, updated tools to reduce error to the minimum possible. This is what we are after as well – shifting the spotlight on new solutions to the common errors of the past.

This new five-day course offers everything you need to know about irregularities, through intense workshops and first-hand experience. We explore past cases, prevention, detection and correction techniques, important figures, new regulations, new tools, important guidance notes and on-site discussions on real cases of EU-funded projects. This time round we will go deeper and broader than the past, more concentrated three-day seminars.

Course Highlights

i. Defining error and the most common areas of irregularities;

ii. Studying errors in public procurement;

iii. Learning how the performance framework works and the relationship with error;

iv. Exploring the different requirements attached to the simplified cost options and how they contribute to reduce error;

v. Understanding how the Annual Submissions (management declaration, accounts and annual summary) will contribute to less error;

vi. Discussing the main tools and techniques available for the prevention and detection of errors;

vii. Analysing financial corrections in the 2014-20 regulatory package;

viii. Examining and discussing different practical cases related to errors in the planning, tendering, selection and contracting stages of any procurement procedure;

ix. Learning how to treat errors by applying financial corrections;

x. Introducing Arachne and other tools to reduce error and the dangers of fraud;

xi. Understanding the auditing perspective of error and irregularities;

Target Audience
Managing Authorities, First Level of Control Bodies, Intermediate Bodies, Certifying Authorities, Audit Authorities, Central Coordination Authorities, Central or Regional Ministries, Finance Officers, Auditors, Methodology Departments, Irregularities officers



One-day EUfundingMalta expedition included

The force behind its regeneration

The ever so popular expedition on EU funded-projects is also included.  The course theme is coupled with visits to important EU-funded projects in a day-long expedition. 


Want to know more? 


Our Trainers

Ray Bartolo
Director - Speaker

  • Ten years of practical experience in the management and control of European Funds
  • Involved in the implementation and closure process of the Maltese 2004-06 Structural and Cohesion Funds Programme
  • Contributed significantly towards the setting up of the financial management and control systems of the ERDF, CF and ESF Operational Programmes for the 2007-2013 Programming Period
  • Responsible for the implementation of the ERDF and CF Operational Programmes for health, transport, education, urban regeneration and technical assistance
  • Served as National Expert and Coordinator on the CEF coordination committee for transport, Environment and the Telecommunications sectors
  • Prepared Procurement Manuals for a number of Maltese Government entities
  • Drafted and evaluated different types of procurement procedures, including concession contracts
  • Provided strategic guidance and project management services to various beneficiaries of EU-Funding
  • Leading role in the design and approval process of Major Projects
  • Delivered several training sessions and seminars on financial, programme management and public procurement to participants coming from MA, CA, AA, IBs, Beneficiaries, and other stakeholders from all around Europe
  • Masters graduate in Public Policy from the University of Malta


Trevor Fenech
Director – Speaker

  • Former Senior Manager at the Managing Authority for Structural and Cohesion funds
  • Past experience in ERDF, ESF, CF, EAGGF and FIFG programmes
  • Strongly involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of the management and control systems for the 04-06 and 07-13 financial periods, including eligibility rules, financial reporting to Management, the European Commission and the Monitoring Committee, management verifications, audits, financial corrections, and internal procedures
  • Carried out the closure process of the 04-06 Single Programming Document (SPD)
  • Delivered several presentations in the field of financial management of EU funds to the MA, CA, AA, IBs, Beneficiaries and TAIEX Beneficiaries
  • Engaged in major audit missions carried out by the EC, ECA and OLAF
  • Former nations delegate to the ESF Committee (Treaty of the Functioning of the EU, Art. 163).
  • Providing expert advise to the Maltese Government on PPPs and the conduct of the Competitive Dialogue procedure
  • Managing successfully a number of EU-funded projects
  • Masters graduate in Financial Management and Economics from the University of London


Justine Schinas
Senior Advisor – Expedition

  • Worked for the Managing Authority for Structural and Cohesion Fund since 2009
  • Experience on all Cohesion Policy funds being the ERDF, CF and ESF
  • Assisted in the closure of the 2004-2006 programme
  • Provided technical guidance to MA officials with regards to the implementation of EU Funded projects.
  • Carried out numerous verification and physical project checks, identified financial corrections and was involved in the setting up of operating procedures within the MA.
  • Highly involved in an audit missions carried out by the European Commission
  • Participated in Monitoring Committees, delivered presentations/training to stakeholders and MA officials, and participated in research work and compilation of data, particularly with regards to absorption issues.
  • Managed the implementation of large projects with budgets of close to fifty million.
  • Worked on the Technical Assistance (TA) Fund and was tasked with the role of TA Manager whereby she oversaw a team of officers working on this fund.
  • Responsible for a number of procurement procedures within the MA where she issued call for quotations and tenders. She also formed part of numerous evaluation committees.
  • Masters in Business Administration from the University of Malta


Venue & Accommodation

Training Venue
Hilton Hotel – Portomaso St. Julian’s

The training course will take place at the Hilton Hotel - Malta, a 5-star luxurious hotel, in St. Julian's. Accommodation can be provided at the Hilton Hotel itself and other hotels in the vicinity.

Below please find special corporate prices for our participants.



Westin Hotel
EUR 170**

Hilton Hotel
EUR 130*

Intercontinental Hotel
EUR na*

Hotel Valentina
EUR 70**

Hotel Argento
EUR 65**

Cavalieri Art Hotel
EUR na**

Golden Tulip Vivaldi
EUR 80**

* room only basis
** bed and breakfast basis

How to benefit from Hotels’ corporate rates

NB. Always keep This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in copy.

Westin Hotel – send an e-mail to Margaret at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and refer to EuropeanFunds.info in your e-mail.

Hilton Malta – send an e-mail to Stephanie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and refer to EuropeanFunds.info in your e-mail.

Intercontinental Hotel – send an e-mail to Gordon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and refer to EuropeanFunds.info in your e-mail.

Valentina Hotel – Log on to www.hotelvalentina.com and enter the EUFUNDS promo code

Hotel Argento – send an e-mail to Fabrizio at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and refer to EuropeanFunds.info in your e-mail.

Cavalieri Art Hotel – send an e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and refer to EuropeanFunds.info in your e-mail.

Golden Tulip Vivaldi – send an e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and refer to EuropeanFunds.info in your e-mail. 



Useful Information

St Julians

How to get around

Upon arriving at the Malta International Airport, you can get to St. Julian's by catching a taxi or the public transport system (Bus number X2 which runs from 05550hrs till 2250hrs). Buses are quite frequent to St. Julian's.

If you are staying outside of St. Julian's, reaching the training venue is quite easy. The bus stops just further down the road from the Westin Dragonara Resort, which is only 5 minutes away.



Weather in Malta

Malta has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm to hot summers. THe warm season generally starts in Mid-April and ends in September with an average temperature of 20 degrees. Temperatures are between 20 to 30 degrees in July and August.



Local Cuisine

While the island offers a variety of culinary choices, one must not miss the opportunity to try some local, tasty dishes: the Lampuki Pie (fish pie), rabbit stew, Bragioli (beef olives), Kapunata, (Maltese version of ratatouile), and widow's soup. The Gbejniet (sheep or goat's cheese) and Bigilla, a thick pate of broad beans with garlic are an ideal started for your meal.

Don't leave Malta without trying the traditional 'pastizzi'which are flaky parcels filled with ricotta or mushed peas. Some fouvrite dessert delicacies are kannoli and the Helwa tat-Tork.

You should also try out some of our local wines, our local beer and "Kinnie", our local soft drink.





Upcoming Courses in 2018



Day 1 – Monday 3rd December 2018

Registration and distribution of training material
Introduction – Setting the objectives and expected outcomes
Irregularities & EU-funded projects This session defines irregular expenditure and explores the main types of irregularities in EU-funded projects, both under shared and central management, and the most vulnerable areas.
Coffee Break
Safeguarding and preventing the EU Budget from irregularities This session discusses the in-built mechanisms to safeguard the EU Budget from irregularities, describing the different layers of assurance in the management & control system and the tools used to deter the occurrence of irregular expenditure.
Ensuring a timely detection of errors (at first-level of control) Prevention mechanisms are just one side of the coin. Detection methods are equally essential in safeguarding public funding. This session explores the features that ensure the timely detection of irregularities in EU-funded programmes.
Common irregularities – Part I (Workshop): Eligibility This session takes a closer look at the most common types of irregularity which prevail in EU-funded projects: ineligible projects & ineligible expenditure.
Common irregularities – Part II (Workshop): Durability & Net Revenue In which context can the durability clause become a problem for a beneficiary? And how do you treat net revenue? Can it be used a source of co-financing? These, and other questions will be discussed during this session.
Coffee Break
Common irregularities – Part III(Workshop): Horizontal Priorities & Publicity This session explores where failure to comply with horizontal priorities & publicity rules may put the eligibility of expenditure risk.
Concluding remarks and wrap-up of Day 1

Day 2 – Tuesday 4th December 2018

Welcome coffee
Common irregularities – Part IV: Public Procurement (incl Workshop) An analysis of the most common errors at all stages of the public procurement process – from planning down to the final payment.
Introducing the EC guidelines for determining financial corrections for non-compliance with the rules on public procurement The main guidance tool for the application of financial corrections provides the basis for our discussions in the workshops which follow. This session analyses the principles behind it.
Coffee break
Workshop: Applying financial corrections || Tender specifications In this first workshop of the day we analyse and discuss different practical cases related to errors in the planning stage of any tendering procedure and the recommended financial corrections.
Workshop: Applying financial corrections || Advertising Tenders The second workshop addresses errors in the publication and advertising of tenders and the corresponding financial corrections.
Workshop: Applying financial corrections || Evaluations of Tenders The third workshop analyses cases in the evaluation of tenders.
Coffee Break
Workshop: Applying financial corrections || Contract Implementation The fourth workshop discusses cases in contract implementation.
Concluding remarks and wrap-up of Day 2

Day 3 – Wednesday 5th December 2018

Welcome coffee
Reducing irregular expenditure – Part I: The Public Procurement Directive (incl Workshop) This session discusses how the new Public Procurement Directives address the common errors of the past.
Reducing irregular expenditure – Part II: The Performance Framework In the Annual Report for 2013 the European Court of Auditors expressed concerns that Member States were narrowly focused on disbursement rather than to reach the result indicators. This session analyses whether the performance framework will now shift the focus on result-orientation and whether this will bring with it a reduction in the error rate.
Coffee break
Reducing irregular expenditure – Part III: Simplified Cost Options This session explores the different requirements attached to the simplified cost options and explains why SCOs promise a reduction in the number of irregularities detected.
Workshop: Working with Simplified Cost Options Applying SCOs to a common case under ESI Funds.
Reducing irregular expenditure – Part IV: The Management Declaration and Annual Summary This session explores how the management declaration and annual summary add assurance in the 2014-2020 programming period.
Coffee Break
Reporting & Treatment of irregularities Once irregularities have been detected and corrections have been applied, the European Commission needs to be notified. However, it is the Member State’s decision whether to withdraw them immediately from the next Statement of Expenditure or await recovery from the Beneficiary. This session analyses both.
Concluding remarks and wrap-up of Day 3

Day 4 – Thursday 6th December 2018

CF 198 - Ferry Terminal || Cirkewwa
ERDF 31 - Zewwieqa Waterfront || Mgarr
ERDF 32 - Ggantija Temples
discussing ERDF 24 - Villa Rundle Gardens & CF1.1.0.2 - Mgarr-Victoria link
ERDF 142 - Eco Museum || Victoria
ERDF 246 - Cittadella Masterplan
ERDF 140 - Ta' Pinu Basilica
LIFE - Coastal Nature Reserve || Dwejra

Day 5 – Friday 7th December 2018

Welcome coffee
Dealing with EC, ECA & OLAF Auditors – The Maltese experience This session discusses the relationship between national authorities and the EU audit bodies.
Coffee break
The Auditing perspective of irregularities: The self-assessment and the ARACHNE tools This session explores the role of second-level of control in the detection of irregularities, together with the investigative roles entrusted to Member States.
Group discussion Participants will have the opportunity to share their experiences in dealing with irregular expenditure. This session provides a unique opportunity to ask the opinion of other colleagues on how they would have reacted to specific cases.
Wrap-up and distribution of certificates
End of course

*FIVE-days* December 3-7, 2018 || One-day EUfundingMalta expedition included!

This 5-day toolkit deals with anything you need to know on irregularities; from prevention to detection, all the way to treatment of irregularities. It is ideal for EU-funding practitioners across all stakeholders.

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Practical and comprehensive courses on EU Funds management and control based on first-hand experience, research and insight. They will expose the important features of the course theme, through practical, real-world examples, in a set-up that facilitates the free exchange of ideas.   {marcoparallaxbground height="300" image="IPH_0148.jpg"}             March 2018   March 21-23 || Verifying & Certifying ESIF projects in 2014-2020 One-day EUfundingMalta expedition included! Straight-to-the-point facts and methods to improve the verification and certification of ESI-funded projects, based on the latest reports and guidelines.   April 2018   5-day seminar April 16-20 || ESF toolkit: Focus on SCO, Financial Instruments & the quality of public administration One-day EUfundingMalta expedition included! This five-day seminar reaches out to all practitioners involved in the European Social Fund, to discuss all the technical matters that make ESF the catalyst for education, employment and social inclusion in the EU.    May 2018   May 16-18 || Indicators & the performance framework: result-based management for 2014-2020? One-day EUfundingGozo expedition included! The workshop which speaks about anything meaningful to the efficient and effective delivery, monitoring and evaluation of ESI-funded programmes and projects.   June 2018   June 18-20 || State aid & procurement in infrastructural projects One-day EUfundingGozo expedition included! A three-day informative seminar which puts light on the complex subjects of state-aid and public procurement surrounding infrastructural projects. This training course is ideal for project implementers and verifiers.   July 2018   5-day seminar July 16-20 || Financial Management toolkit: carrying out administrative and on-the-spot verifications One-day EUfundingGozo expedition included! A five-day series of workshops and intensive sessions addressing the main features of financial management and control of ESI Funds, carefully built on the right blend of theory and practice.   September 2018   September 12-14 || Simplified Cost Options: improving programme implementation and reimbursements One-day EUfundingGozo expedition included! This course explains all the SCOc available, with practical examples which clearly define the differences between SCOs and the classical view of real-cost reimbursement. We explore each option and discuss how they truly contribute towards better results.   October 2018   October 10-12|| The Most Common Errors: Simpler ways to keep them low One-day EUfundingMalta expedition included! This seminar sheds light on how the newest Regulations, Directives and simplification measures coincide to lower the error rates in EU-funded programmes. This is ideal for practitioners in MAs, IBs, CAs and AAs and project managers.   November 2018   November 7-9 || Financial Corrections Workshop: Procurement, Financial Instruments & other errors One-day EUfundingMalta expedition included! A set of workshops designed to instil confidence in the personal interpretation of errors and the application of knowledge and experience to determine fair financial corrections.     December 2018   5-day seminar December 3-7 || Irregularities toolkit: how to prevent, detect & treat errors One-day EUfundingMalta expedition included! This 5-day toolkit deals with anything you need to know on irregularities; from prevention to detection, all the way to treatment of irregularities. It is ideal for EU-funding practitioners across all stakeholders.     For more information about our courses Subscribe to ENews.  

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Business Enhance ERDF Grant Schemes   The Business Enhance Grant Schemes provide non-refundable grants which are financed through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  These are available to private enterprises, namely SMEs.  Under the current Programming Period for 2014-2020, these schemes are being managed and issued by the Measures and Support Division which falls under the remit of the Ministry for European Affairs.  To date six grant schemes have been published which include:  •    SME Consultancy Services Grant Scheme•    E-Commerce Grant Scheme•    SME Diversification and Innovation Grant Scheme•    SME Internationalisation Grant Scheme•    SME Growth Grant Scheme•    Start-up Investment Grant Scheme  For further information on each scheme please click on the relevant schemes listed above.   Our Services At EuropeanFunds.info, we are able to guide you through the whole Grant Scheme application process.  This entails determining your eligibility for the schemes as we will not advise you to apply should you not be eligible for such funding.  Guidance as to which scheme best suits your enterprise will also be provided.  Together with the filling in of the application form/s, all Grant Scheme application forms include an obligatory business plan which related costs may be recovered through the SME Consultancy Services Grant Scheme.   Our directors and advisors have worked in the EU Funding area and previously within the Ministry managing the Grant Schemes for over ten years which benefits our clients as we will provide guidance based on our experience within this field. For further details on the schemes and application process you may contact us on justine@europeanfunds.info to set an obligation-free meeting.

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About Us

The European Union wants results.  EuropeanFunds.info is just about them.

We provide training and other optimal solutions on the back of experience gained in the management of the 2004-2006, 2007-2013 and 2014-2020 EU funded programmes at the Managing Authority of Malta. Our experts were directly involved in operational programme development, final programme closure reporting and (pretty much) anything in between!

2014-2020 is about performance.  Indeed, we are here to share our knowledge on EU funding and help you perform.

Our Team

Ray Bartolo

Ray Bartolo is Director and Lead Consultant at EuropeanFunds.info.

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Trevor Fenech

Trevor Fenech is Director and Lead Consultant at EuropeanFunds.info.

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Justine Schinas

Justine Schinas is a Senior Advisor and Speaker at EuropeanFunds.info.

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About Malta

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Whether on business or vacation, Malta offers a rich concentration of natural beauty, cultural legacy, vibrant entertainment, friendly faces and top-end facilities.   The country stretches just over 300km2, covering the three main inhabited islands, with the largest – Malta – lying to the south of the smaller islands of Gozo and Comino.  The population is 418,000 and the official languages are Maltese and English.  The capital city is Valletta.

The wealth of historical sites (including nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites), cultural activities, its warm climate, recreational areas, beaches, and architectural diversity, make Malta a popular tourist destination.  It also offers a stable political, economic and industrial environment, hosting thousands of local and international companies in different sectors, mainly tourism, financial services, IT, manufacturing and retail.  EU membership and the adoption of the euro currency have enhanced Malta’s accessibility and attractiveness as an international business hub in the centre of the Mediterranean region.

For more information about Malta, visit www.visitmalta.com.

Malta and European Funds

Malta joined the European Union on 1st May 2004.  Since 2000, the Government of Malta has been actively participating in EU-funded programmes under shared management with the European Commission.  Malta has received in excess of €1bn from the EU under the various initiatives undertaken so far, both pre- and post-accession, including Pre-Accession Funds and the Transition Facility (inc. TAIEX), the Structural Funds Programme 2004-06 (ERDF, ESF, EAGGF, FIFG) and the Cohesion Fund 2004-06, Cohesion Policy 2007-13 (ERDF, CF, ESF), the Rural Development and Agriculture funds (EAGF/EAFRD), The European Fisheries Fund (EFF), Framework Programme on Solidarity and management of Migration funds 2007-2013 and the Lifelong Learning and Youth-in-Action Programmes,

Another €882m are allocated to Malta under the 2014-2020 Multi-annual Financial Framework (Cohesion Policy, Common Agricultural Policy and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Source: ec.europa.eu).

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Level 2, Palazzo Ca' Brugnera,
Valley Road, BKR 9024, Birkirkara,
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Contact Nos:

+356 99457484, +356 99203328