Verifications Workshops: effective administrative & on the spot checks

Verifications Workshops: effective administrative & on the spot checks

August 24-28, 2020, Hilton Hotel, St. Julian's, Malta

- Discounted Price (till 7 August 2020): EUR 1,999

- Normal Price (from 8 August 2020): EUR 2,499

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Step by step approach on how to carry out effective administrative and on the spot checks

August 24-26, 2020, Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta, Malta

- Discounted Price (till 7 August 2020): EUR 1,499

- Normal Price (from 8 August 2020): EUR 1,699

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Carrying out in depth verification of public procurement procedures

August 27-28, 2020, Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta, Malta

- Discounted Price (from 7 August 2020): EUR 999

- Normal Price (from 8 August 2020): EUR 1,199

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The quest for sound financial management keeps charging as implementation of the 14-20 projects heads into another crucial year.  More than 80% of all ESI OPs have been allocated to projects so far, less than 35% has been reimbursed by the EC (as at December 2019).  There’s still a long way to go for the end of the Programmes in 2023, and yet we’re already thinking about the 21-27 period.  It’s an interesting crossroads, where the experiences from the ongoing projects coincide with the planning decisions for the ones in the future.

In the earlier courses we delivered in this 14-20 programming period we discussed the hypothesis that the new management verifications based on the old “financial management” perspective with one based on “performance management”.  That is, making sure economy and efficiency are combined with effectiveness.  What sound financial management truly means.

But how much of this has really happened in our verifications and certifications so far?  Are programme and project managers really focused on making sure money is spent on what really matters, as the European Parliament insists?

Verifying & Certifying ESIF projects in 2014-2020 updates you on the latest developments in verifications of the ESI funds, delivering insight into the errors which still prevail, the controls which are working and those which are not, the state of public procurement after the Directives and national transpositions, and the latest financial corrections notes, amongst other.  And all this is topped up with views and perspectives from the ongoing discussions on the 2021-7 regulations and programming.

Course Highlight

i. Discussing the common errors reported in the recent reports by the EC, ECA, OLAF and other;

ii. Understanding the role of management verifications in the context of the principles and priorities promoted for the 2014-20 financial period;

iii. Presenting the Guidance Note which guides management verifications through the 2014-20 financial period;

iv. Identifying methods for the verification of eligibility, horizontal priorities, publicity, revenue-generating projects and durability;

v. Exploring the different requirements attached to verifying and certifying indicators and ESF projects;

vi. Applying the right verification and certification methods for financial instruments;

vii. Analysing the features of management verifications in the context of the current regulations for Public Procurement;

viii. Applying proportionate financial corrections in the various stages of the public procurement process;

ix. Understanding the certification of expenditure, the clearance of annual and interim payments and the automatic decommitment rule;

x. Analysing how work on verifications and certifications feeds into the Management Declaration and Annual Summary;

Venue & Accomodation

TRAINING VENUE

Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta, Malta

The training course will take place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, Malta. The 16th century building has long been one of Valletta’s most remarkable landmarks. Located towards the tip of Valletta peninsula, the MCC stands for distinction with magnificent views across the Grand Harbour..

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, officers carrying verification (administrative or OTS) checks.

OUR TRAINERS

Delivering knowledge, experience and good feelings!

Justine Schinas

Senior Advisor

Ray Bartolo

Head of Institution

Trevor Fenech

Director – Lead Speaker

AGENDA

Our Plan for day 1 - 5

DAY 1

Timeline Plan

Monday 24th August 2020
08:30-09:00

Registration and distribution of training material

09:00-09:30
Introduction – Setting the objectives and expected outcomes
09:30-10:30
Irregularities in EU-funded projects: definitions & relevant statisticsWe start from the end of the story. The course kicks off with an overview of the most common errors, irregularities and fraud cases as reported by the European Commission, the European Court of Auditors and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).  Understanding the errors helps in designing better controls.
10:30-11:00
Coffee Break
11:00-11:45
Safeguarding and preventing the EU Budget from irregularities This session discusses the mechanisms to safeguard the EU Budget from irregularity, describing the different layers of assurance and the tools used to deter the occurrence of irregularity and fraud.
11:45-12:30
Ensuring a timely detection of errors (at first-level of control): EC Guidance note on management verifications Detection methods are equally essential in safeguarding public funding.  This session discusses the features that ensure the timely detection of error, irregularity, fraud and corruption in EU-funded programmes, with particular emphasis on the fraud indicators.  We also review the principles of the EC Guidance note on management verifications.
12:30-14:00
Lunch
14:00-14:30
OTS checks #1: verifying Eligibility of projects & expenditure The first specific topic relating to management verifications (OTS stands for both administrative and on-the-spot verifications) is eligibility of expenditure.  We discuss its verification at all levels of the programme, particularly the question whether national eligibility rules are more demanding than the minimum rules set by the EC.
14:30-15:00
OTS checks #2: verifying Durability & Net Revenue Here we discuss the verification of revenue-generating projects, the funding gap and durability of the project after completion.
15:00-15:30
Coffee Break
15:30-16:15
OTS checks #3: verifying Horizontal Priorities & Publicity This is an essential element to ensure absorption of funds is maximised.  One error in a horizontal priority of a programme and a systemic correction might need to be applied on all projects. First-level control by IBs, MAs and CAs is crucial.
16:15-16:30
Concluding remarks and wrap-up of Day 1

DAY 2

Timeline Plan

Tuesday 25th August 2020
08:30-09:00
Welcome coffee
09:00-10:00
OTS checks #4: verifying Financial Instruments (incl financial corrections note) Financial instruments are a relatively new aspect of verifications. In this session we explore the application of financial instruments in the ESI Funds, and their verifications.
10:00-10:30
OTS checks #5: state aid A short overview of the verifications associated with state aid, with references to notified aid, GBER and de minimis regulations.
10:30-11:00
Coffee Break
11:00-11:45
OTS checks #6: verifying ESF projects In this session we take a closer look at the aspects typically associated with the verification of ESF projects – small projects, large numbers of participants, timely on-the-spot checks of ‘perishable’ activities, emphasis on employment, education, social inclusion and public administration, and microdata.
11:45-12:30
Administrative checks: verification and certification of payments (incl Workshop)This workshop presents the process for the clearance of annual pre-financing and interim payments, and the automatic decommitment (N+3 rule).
12:30-14:00
Lunch
14:00-16:15
The Mediterranean Conference Centre ERDF project: a Case Study This on-site workshop gives an overview of the ERDF-funded project at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, the same venue in which the course is held.  We look into the challenges faced during preparation and the current implementation of this €7m project at a site of significant historic and cultural value for Malta.
16:15-16:30
Concluding remarks and wrap-up of Day 2

DAY 3

Timeline Plan

Wednesday 26th August 2020 - EUfundingGozo Projects Expedition
08:00-08:30
Meeting in front of Hotel
STOP 1
CF 125: Salina Road Project
Discussing
CF 118: Rehabilitation of Maghtab Landfills
STOP 2
CF 198 – Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal
STOP 3
ERDF 31 – Upgrading of Zewwieqa Waterfront
STOP 4
ERDF 32 – Ggantija Temples Conservation Project
Discussing
ERDF 24 – Upgrading of Villa Rundle Gardens
STOP 5
CF 1.1.0.2 – Restoration and Upgrading of Mgarr-Victoria Link
Discussing
ERDF 142 – Developing a cultural and historical eco-museum
STOP 6
ERDF 246 – Implementing of Cittadella Masterplan
STOP 7
ERDF 140 – The Ta’ Pinu shrine project
1830-1900
Returning to Hotel

DAY 4

Timeline Plan

Thursday 27th August 2020
08:30-09:00
Welcome coffee
09:00-09:45
OTS checks #7.1: verifying Public Procurement || Workshop – planning A workshop on the verification of the preparatory phases of the public procurement process – studies justifying procurement, selection of procurement procedure, budgeting, the tender document, exclusion, selection and award criteria, specifications and more.
09:45-10:30
OTS checks #7.2: verifying Public Procurement || Workshop – contract implementation The second workshop addresses the verification of the performance of contracts during their implementation, covering the most controversial matters such as delays, payment schedules, contract modifications and penalties.
10:30-11:00
Coffee Break
11:00-11:45
OTS checks #7.3: verifying concessions An interpretation of the most important articles of the Concessions Directives, citing various cases, reports and guidelines.
11:45-12:30
OTS checks #7.4: determining financial corrections to public procurement errors 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.
12:30-14:00
Lunch
14:00-15:00
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.
15:00-15:30
Coffee Break
15:30-16:15
Workshop: Applying financial corrections || Advertising Tenders The second workshop addresses errors in the publication and advertising of tenders and the corresponding financial corrections.
16:15-16:30
Concluding remarks and wrap-up of Day 4

DAY 5

Timeline Plan

Friday 28th August 2020
08:30-09:00
Welcome coffee
09:00-09:45
Workshop: Applying financial corrections || Evaluations of Tenders The third workshop analyses cases in the evaluation of tenders.
09:45-10:30
Workshop: Applying financial corrections || Contract Implementation The fourth workshop discusses cases in contract implementation.
10:30-11:00
Coffee Break
11:00-11:45
OLAF & ECA audits & the application of financial corrections We recall the main lessons learnt from OLAF and ECA audits, analysing the audit approach adopted and the interpretation of the cases audited.
11:45-12:00
Concluding remarks and distribution of certificates

Calendar

2020 Training Programme