FAQs for Partnerships

1 SELECTION PROCESS

 1.1 I have received a letter saying that my application has been approved. Can I start using the funds immediately?

The letter received is just a notification on the results of the selection process and should not be considered as a formal commitment of funds. Funds are formally committed with the beneficiary through a contractual agreement presented by the EUPA once funds for your activity have been made available by the European Commission.

2 PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION

2.1 How can I increase the pupils/trainees/learners’ interest in the project?
Ideally, the partnership project should be owned by the whole organisation.  Pupils/trainees/learners’ involvement should be encouraged throughout the whole project lifecycle, from planning to implementation, evaluation and reporting.  If the project envisages the direct participation of pupils/trainees/learners, then they should be encouraged to have a say in the project theme and activities to be carried out.  It is highly recommended that pupils/trainees/learners take full ownership of the project.

2.2 How can I increase staff’s interest in the project?

Participating in a partnership project involves time and effort. For this reason it is not always easy for organisations to ensure that this work is distributed equally between its’ staff. It often happens that a small group of staff within the organisation take a more active role in the implementation of the project. The organisation can increase its staff’s interest by ensuring that the project theme and activities are integrated within the organisation’s day to day activities. In addition, staff taking on the role of implementing the project can be supported by for example reducing their other tasks, if at all possible. This allows the staff to have more time and energy for the successful implementation of the project and hence will contribute to more successful project results.

 

2.3 For Comenius Partnerships, how can I integrate the project in the school’s curriculum?
Although schools often have a very tight curriculum, it is considered good practice to integrate the project theme and activities within other subject areas.  For example, some history and geography lessons can focus on the countries of partner organisations.  During lessons of art, pupils can explore partner countries’ works of art etc.

 

2.4 What happens if some of the applicant partners are not approved?
When a project is selected, it does not necessarily mean that all partners in the project are funded, since this depends on the budget allocated to each country.  The partnership project has been approved and funded based on the information provided in the application form, such as the project activities and outcomes.  Therefore, it is important that what has been stated at application stage is actually carried out.  This means that project tasks would need to be redistributed between the approved partners.  Mobilities can only be carried out to approved partner organisations.  Having said this, it is understandable, that if the number of partners has been reduced significantly, it might be necessary to make some changes to the planned activities.  It is important that any changes need to be communicated to and approved by the Maltese National Agency.

 

2.5 Should I inform the National Agency of any changes?
Yes.  Changes to the approved project need to be communicated to the National Agency.  This can be done by either communicating directly with the programme officer responsible for the action by email or through an official letter, depending on the proposed change.  For example, if the beneficiary needs to change the sequence of mobilities an email to the programme officer should suffice.  If however, the change effects in some way any clause in the grant agreement, then such change should be submitted in writing through an official letter.  This would apply, for example, for a change of the legally authorized person and a change in the bank account details.  The Progress and the Final Report should state any changes made to the project implementation from that stated at application stage should always be included, together with a short explanation. Although it is understandable that changes to the project might occur over the project’s life time, these must in no way effect the overall nature of the project.

 

2.6 How do I go about selecting pupils/learners/trainees and staff for mobilities?
Selection of pupils/learners/trainees and staff should be carried out in a clear, transparent and fair manner.  Since the project should belong to the whole organisation, all pupils and staff should be given the possibility to participate in both local activities and mobilities.  This would entail that the organization sets up a fair selection process with clear criteria on who can apply and on what grounds those who apply shall be selected.  This should be communicated to the prospective participants at the start of the selection process.  The organisation should also ensure that prospective applicants are aware of their responsibilities and of course, are able to carry these out. It is highly recommended that the selection process is documented, for example, minutes of the selection interviews (if any) are to be kept in the project’s file.

 

2.7 What if the project focuses on a specific target group, is there still a need to have a set up a selection process?
Some projects are designed to cater for a particular target group.  In this case, the number of prospective participants will be much smaller.  Having said this, it is still very important that the organization gives the opportunity for participation to as many pupils/trainees/learners and staff as possible.  Therefore a selection process might still be possible.

 

2.8 What is the difference between a Coordinator and a Partner?
There are no other predefined roles or tasks allocated to the coordinator. All partners will have to discuss and define the role of the project’s coordinator. The coordinator might be no more than the formal leading institution, but often the coordinating institution also keeps an eye on the overall development of the partnership, monitors its progress, and acts as a contact point. It can be helpful if the coordinating institution has some experience in implementing international or European organisation partnerships, but this is not essential.  In any case, the coordinator is also one of the partners and needs to carry out the project’s work within its own organisation. Each organisation participating in a Partnership project is responsible for the activities taking place in its own organisation. Each organisation has to report to its own National Agency and demonstrate that it has implemented the activities planned. It should be also noted that there is no additional funding foreseen for the coordinating organisation.
2.9 What is the difference between a Comenius Multilateral and Comenius Bilateral Partnership?
A multilateral partnership is made up of a minimum of 3 organisations, whereas a bilateral one has only 2 partner organisations.  A bilateral partnership is more language oriented.  In addition, bilateral partnerships always involve a class exchange with a minimum duration of 10 days (excluding travel) Please refer to the LLP Guide posted on the National Agency’s website for more details on specifications for bilateral partnership mobilities and activities. The LLP guide is available at http://llp.eupa.org.mt/resources.php (please ensure that you refer to the guide corresponding to the call year under which your project has been funded).

 

2.10 What is a mobility?
A mobility is a trip abroad carried out in the framework of the Partnership from the country of the beneficiary either to one of the partner institutions listed in Annex V or to an event organised by a LLP (or predecessor programme) project or network.  One trip by one person is counted as one mobility. The same person may carry out several mobilities during the Partnership duration.  If two or more countries are visited during a single round trip, this is counted as one mobility, e.g. from France to Belgium, from Belgium to Finland and from Finland to France.  There is no minimum or maximum requirement for the length of a mobility, except in the case of class exchanges in bilateral Comenius Partnerships (see the grant agreement).  Only transnational mobility (i.e. travel abroad) counts for the calculation of the minimum mobility numbers.  For example a visit carried out to a partner institution in Gozo is not considered a mobility.

 

2.11 Can the organisation carry out more mobilities than the minimum amount stipulated in the grant agreement?
Yes, the grant agreement stipulates only a minimum number of mobilities.  It does not specify a maximum.  Therefore the organization might manage to carry out more mobilities with the same grant amount.

 

2.12 What does ‘Project Evaluation’ entail?
Evaluation of your project should form an integral part of the project activities.  You should evaluate the performance of the project while it is running and towards the end of the project. To make sure that the project has been thoroughly evaluated, you should include both learners/pupils/trainees and staff in evaluation activities. The evaluation should assess whether the project’s objectives have been met.  Evaluation will help you to reflect on past experiences and make any necessary changes for future activities.

 

3 FUNDING

 

3.1 My partnership project will be funded as a lump sum.  What does this mean?
Each participating institution receives a project grant in the form of a lump sum as a contribution towards all its project costs: travel and subsistence during mobility periods and costs linked to local project activities. Grants are defined on the basis of a minimum number of “mobilities” that the participating institution intends to carry out during the agreement period. One “mobility” corresponds to one trip abroad carried out by one person in the framework of the Partnership. The Grant Agreement defines the types of eligible mobility activities. At Final Report stage, beneficiaries are not requested to submit proofs of expenditure, but they will need to provide evidence that the activities foreseen in their application have been carried out in a full and satisfactory manner. The LLP guide is available at http://llp.eupa.org.mt/resources.php (please ensure that you refer to the guide corresponding to the call year under which your project has been funded).

 

3.2 My project foresees the travel of persons with special needs.  This might entail higher project costs.  Can I apply for additional funding?
To take account of the needs of staff or pupils/learners with special needs, or if mobility is planned to or from partners located in one of the territories listed as Overseas Territories in the section “WHICH COUNTRIES PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAMME?” the minimum number of mobilities may be reduced by up to 50%. For example an institution which anticipates major additional costs linked to mobility activities with participants with special needs can ask its National Agency for a reduction of the minimum number of mobilities linked to grant amount requested. If the National Agency accepts the request, the grant amount stays the same but the minimum required number of mobilities will be lower.

 

3.3 What are eligible costs?
The European Commission has introduced the notion of lump sums which allow greater flexibility as to what is eligible. The eligible costs for mobility activities are clear. For other activities included in the project, there is no list of eligible costs. So, in principle, any activity that helps achieving the project objectives is eligible.  It is important that the organisation adopts a transparent system for the purchasing of any items in relation to the project, including travel.  Costs can only be incurred throughout the eligibility timeframe as stated in your grant agreement.  It is strongly encouraged that you obtain 3 quotes when purchasing items and choose the cheapest option.  Should you not choose the cheapest option, you should have a justifiable explanation available in your project file. If the organisation does not have a procurement policy, then it is highly recommended that it adopts the Public Procurement Policy available at https:/secure2.gov.mt/EPROCUREMENT/legislation.

 

3.4 My organisation shall be hosting the partners for a meeting.  Can funding be used to host the partners?
The grant amount allocated to your organisation should be used by your organisation to fund your own mobilities and project activities.  In some instances, the partner organisations can agree on how some expenses in relation to the mobility can be shared between the countries, such as airport transfers. Please keep in mind that each partner has its own funding for its local activities and mobilities.  In addition, the funding for the same number of minimum mobilities might differ from country to country, and some countries might have two organisations as partners in the same project but might only host once. It is suggested that such details are discussed between the partners as early as possible to avoid misunderstandings.

 

3.5 When will I receive the grant amount?
Projects are awarded the first pre-financing payment amounting to 80% of the total grant within 45 days from when the contract enters into force. The final payment will be affected after the approval of the final report. The payment will also be affected within 45 days.  Should the National Agency require further documentation/clarification in relation to the submitted final report, the timeframe of 45 days shall be suspended until the documentation/clarification is received from the beneficiary.

 

4 REPORTING

 

4.1 What is a Progress Report and where do I find it?
As stated in Article 7 of your grant agreement, midway through your project you are required to submit a Progress Report. The Progress Report provides the Agency with a mid-term update on how a project is advancing against original plans. The Progress Report will provide you with the opportunity to inform the National Agency about the overall development of your project. The Progress Report includes information about the partnership activities and mobilities undertaken, the results achieved and the problems/obstacles you encountered in the implementation of the Partnership. The National Agency uploads the Progress Report on its website http://llp.eupa.org.mt/resources.php. Make sure that you download the report that corresponds to your sub-programme. The Progress Report is downloadable in Word format.

 

4.2 How shall I present the Progress Report?
The Progress Report must be submitted to the National Agency in hard copy. It needs to be type written and spiral bound with no loose sheets. The Progress Report has to be signed by the legal representative who signed the project’s grant agreement and the contact person and must contain the stamp of the organisation. Do not submit boarding passes or certificates with the progress report, as these documents should be submitted with the final report.  You can however submit photos or proof of any results produced so far. Please keep in mind, that at final report stage, you will still be required to submit proof of activities and results produced.

 

4.3 What is the Final Report and where do I find it? 
As stated in Article 4.2, you are requested to submit a final report within 60 days after the project has ended.  Through the final report you will inform the National Agency about the implementation of the project. It will include information about the objectives and achievements, work plan and tasks, evaluation and activities carried out including mobilities.  The National Agency will consider the submission of the final report as your request for payment of the remaining balance.  The final report form is not available in word format.  The final report for your project will be extracted from the European Commission’s database and will be available as an e-form.  You need to contact the National Agency towards the end of the project to obtain you report. It is recommended that for the project’s final partner meeting, you already have the final report template for reference purposes.

 

4.4 When should the Final Report be submitted and what additional documentation shall I submit with the final report?

The final report must be submitted both on-line and in hard copy (one copy).  It must be duly completed, type written and spiral bound with no loose sheets. The Final Report has to be signed by the legal representative who signed the project’s grant agreement and the contact person and must contain the stamp of the organisation.  Together with the final report, you are required to submit the following additional documentation:
• Original boarding passes for each mobility;
• Travel invoices detailing the names of persons travelling
• Certificate of attendance for each mobility specifying the name and surname of participant, project title, dates and venue, LLP  logo, signed and stamped by the head of the host organisation:
• End products (or proof of);
• Proof of dissemination and visibility material;
• Proof of activities carried out.

 

4.5 How shall I submit the Invoices and Boarding Passes  with the Final Report?

 

Beneficiaries are requested to submit the original invoices and boarding passes and a copy of the latter documents (for LDV Mobility projects this also applies to Pedagogical, Cultural and Linguistic preparation). The originals are to be placed in a plastic folder and annexed to the respective final report, whilst the copies are to be spiral bounded with the final report and other supporting documentation. Once checked by the financial section, the documents shall be collected back from the EUPA’s reception desk and kept within the respective project file.

 

5 PROJECT MONITORING

 

5.1 What kind of support and guidance does the National Agency offer?
While you are encouraged to contact your respective programme officer by email, phone or personal visits to the National Agency’s offices to clarify any queries, the MTNA also organises General Monitoring Meetings, Bilateral meetings, Monitoring visits and On the Spot Checks.

 

5.1.1 General Monitoring Meetings (GMM)
Throughout the implementation period the MTNA will invite you for GMMs.  A GMM gathers all beneficiaries of partnership projects and will provide an opportunity for guidance, discussion and sharing of good practice examples.  It will also provide an opportunity to share and clarify similar concerns that partnership projects might come across.  The MTNA holds the first GMM soon after the signing of the grant agreement.  Another GMM is carried out prior to the submission of the project’s progress report, while the final GMM is carried out prior to the submission of the final report.

 

5.1.2 Bilateral Meetings
During the project’s lifecycle, the MTNA will invite you for regular bilateral meetings in relation to your partnership project. The aim of these meetings is to discuss the general implementation of your project and any other issues. You are encouraged to take this opportunity to ask your own questions and discuss any issues regarding the project.

 

5.1.3 Monitoring Visits…
Every year the National Agencies conducts on-site monitoring visits. The aim of these visits is to gain a more in depth impression of the project and its results to be able to guide the beneficiaries better. Usually, the visit is made by the Programme Officer with which you have been continually in contact, together with a Finance Officer.

 

5.1.4 On-the-spot Checks (OTS)
The MTNA carries out OTS checks on funded partnership project.  Partnership projects selected for an OTS check may be selected on both a random basis and on any other issues highlighted by the MTNA.   The main aim of OTS checks is to provide reasonable assurance to the NA on the sound management of the project.  The OTS check may be carried out both during the project’s lifecycle and within 5 years following the closure date of the project.  During the OTS check, the MTNA will check that the project is being implemented in a successful manner and according to the funding regulations of the respective sub-programme. During these visits the MTNA has an opportunity to be in direct contact with its beneficiaries and therefore be in a better position to evaluate the quality of project during its lifecycle. OTS checks further assist MTNA staff to determine which projects may be considered good quality or good practice projects to show case on a national or European level.

6 EUROPEAN SHARED TREASURE (EST)

6.1 What is the European Shared Treasure?

European Shared Treasure (EST) is a Europe-wide database which aims to capture good practice and the wealth of experience within European funded projects. It aims to increase the visibility of projects across Europe and facilitate access to project information. Project promoters (ie you) can showcase the results and outcomes resulting from your Comenius Partnerships, as well as looking at other projects from around Europe to gain inspiration and ideas www.europeansharedtreasure.eu. You can view the EST site and see the results of other partnerships from around Europe from www.europeansharedtreasure.eu.

6.2 What do I need to do?

As a current beneficiary and in accordance with your contractual obligations for your Partnership project, you are required to upload the results produced throughout the lifetime of your partnership. All beneficiaries (partners and coordinators) are required to contribute results individually to the database. The results in many cases will be joint results produced by all partners but you can also upload individual results produced by your own organisation. You are encouraged to follow the EST guide which will be provided by the National Agency.

6.3 How do I access the EST database?

You will be contacted directly via email with your unique login and password. Once you have received the login details, you can log onto the database by clicking on http://llp.eupa.org.mt/est/login.php.