A regional working group for structural funds management has been established in Lapland with the aim to increase coordination between regional authorities.
Lapland has set up a working group in order to facilitate better cooperation and to take into account the priorities and funding from international/interregional programmes, agricultural programme and national development funding. The group consists of those officials who are directly responsible for the evaluation of the project applications.
The group has been established with the aim to increase coordination between regional authorities, to provide support and add value to the evaluation of project proposals, and to create synergies between regional and interregional programmes.
All project applications must be presented for the group for a joint discussion. The group does not have the authority to evaluate or approve projects, for which the members of group are responsible in their own organisations. The aim is to coordinate different funds and programmes and to create cooperation with ongoing projects, as well as to prevent overlapping projects and actions. The value of joint discussions and debate is in the views and knowledge of the group and in the learning process that the joint meetings facilitate.
The main stakeholders are the intermediary bodies and the regional and state representatives working with regional development and funding.
The group is chaired by the Regional Council and it has a meeting on a monthly basis. The practice requires human resources from the organizer for the coordination, communication and planning of and activities including meetings and study visits.
Evidence of success
The value of joint discussions and debate is in the views and knowledge of the group and in the learning process that the joint meetings facilitate. The number of projects and applications cannot be effectively managed by other bodies or by individual organisations. We have developed an organisational culture where the group is a platform that is defined by a sense of mutual trust and the availability of tacit knowledge.
Challenges are related to time and organisation. There is a need to balance between the number meetings per year, timing of the meetings in respect to calls for projects that vary between different programmes, and the number of applications and time available for a meeting.
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice is build upon the Finnish model for regional development. As a practice for transferring of knowledge, inter-organisation learning and coordination of funds it may be considered to be interesting.