For individuals and organisations involved in the DG Environment and DG Climate Action programme for operating grants to European environmental and/or climate NGOs, in particular for those managing ongoing projects, this section provides valuable material for day-to-day work.
On these pages you can find:
* Update (16/01/2017): the chapter on deviations includes now also the notion of newly developed actions)
Tips for reporting based on last year's assessment experience
- Evidence - shared documents via dropbox, wetransfer, etc. sometimes were not accessible.
- Events - please explain your role; if the event is organised by you share the agenda, list of participants, powerpoints, or a link where this information can be found.
- If participating at the event – please explain your involvement; briefly a sentence or two is enough.
- Papers submitted to the EC – please share the documents prepared for discussions with the EC representatives, MEPs, etc.
- Internal documents – sometimes we need to ask for internal documents, particularly if a lot of time is invested in developing strategies/common approaches (COP21) with other NGOs or if the activities are related to organisational development and capacity building. Please include such documents in your evidence.
- Changed or unforeseen activities – It is acceptable to change the activities or perform certain activities that are not planned as long as they correspond with the overall objectives and goals. Please explain in reports why a change was necessary, in many cases it is due to the EC planning and then it is explained, but there are cases when it’s not straightforward. Please make sure that you provide justifications in your Final Report. The chapter on deviations includes now also the notion of newly developed actions.
- If less than planned is implemented, please explain and justify (it’s not enough to say, ‘because of lack of resources or a lack of time’, please explain if the timing was not good and you had other activities that might have had a priority, or you simply wanted to achieve too much).
- Media coverage – sometimes the press releases or articles where your organisation has been mentioned is not available online, so please include evidence. Social media, please try to explain the impact you think the presence in social media has if you claim that a particular media action is a success.
- Significant changes in FPA – we certainly welcome grouping of work area, particularly those that seem very similar. However, if there are significant changes to the activities actually implemented (if an entire work area is removed) it might require an amendment. Please keep in mind that in such cases you need to inform EASME.
- Impact – hard to prove, sometimes claims made are not well substantiated, in majority of cases achieving the objectives require long-term strategy and sustained activities. Nevertheless, try to explain how you came to the conclusion that your involvement had an impact.
- Staff – If there is a need to involve more staff members or if a daily rate increases significantly please explain and justify. For example, you may have had a salary increase across the Board and LIFE Operating Grant can cover that.
- Subcontracting/external assistance – provide evidence of best value for money (please pay special attention to this when subcontracting of members).
- If the overspending/underspending per category is significant, say more than 20% please explain it.
- Many NGOs have not been providing the required VAT Certificate. Where NGOs cannot recover VAT this needs a document for the justification of it.
- Fairly common in the reporting is that not all of the cells are appropriately filled.
- There are common mistakes in the audit certificate (overall their quality has been quite poor).
- Clarifications are needed for any overspending. We will ask for these if they are not provided.
- There are often common mistakes in reporting of depreciation, NGOs may have to justify according to their accounting procedures.
- Exchange rates, NGOs should use the rate in InfoEuro from the first working day of the month following the period covered by the financial statement for all costs or from the day when the costs incurred (2options are available, see art. I. 6 of the FPA).
- There will possibly be a communication for auditors to understand the requirements of the audit certificate (video conferencing may be used).
- As reporting Excel sheets are closed if NGOs have additional expense lines then they should make an additional excel table or annex in any other form and attach it to the report.
- Budget transfer not anymore obligatory but optional for checking if the 20% flexibility is kept.
- Unforeseen activities and costs that were not planned in the proposal (Annex I and II SGA) can be reported under the Summary of implementation – point 4. Deviations/Unforeseen actions.
- Budgets and expenditure are fixed by year, funding cannot be rolled-over into the following year.
- Potentially there will be a series of LIFE platform events that the NGO grantees will now be invited to attend by thematic sectors (water quality, air, ecosystem services, waste, and LULUCF) and by regions (Nordic/Baltic, Austria, UK/Ireland, and on La Reunion). The intention is to better link the NGOs experience and activities to that of the other LIFE Action Grants.