Lead Partner Principle
A major new feature of the Ireland Wales Territorial Cooperation Programme is the full adoption of the Lead Partner Principle. This is to facilitate a more structured and effective approach to building and managing partnerships and projects. While approved projects under the 2000-2006 Ireland Wales Programme did have a Lead Partner it did not involve many responsibilities and they were very loosely defined.
For the purposes of this programme the responsibilities are more significant and are clearly defined in Article 20 of EC Regulation No 1080/2006.
The aim is to focus and streamline the administration requirements for project managers and ensure greater levels of joint working. Compared to the arrangements in place for the 2000-2006 programme it is a more structured and organized way of managing projects.
What this means in practice for projects is as follows:
- Project partners will initially have to decide who takes on the role of Lead Partner. When deciding this it is important to be sure that the Lead Partner has sufficient capacity in place to manage the project on behalf of all partners and deal with the administrative requirements of running an Ireland Wales funded project.
- The Lead Partner will have to coordinate the drafting of the application in cooperation with the other partners, liaise with the Development Officer team, and submit it on time via the Development Officer team to the Joint Technical Secretariat.
- The Lead Partner will have to draw up a partnership agreement between it and the other partners to govern their relations and to ensure that the partnership works effectively. An overview of the issues that need to be addressed in such an agreement and available for download here.
- The Lead Partner will be responsible for signing the grant offer letter on behalf of the entire project partnership and will be the sole point of contact between the partnership and the programme management team from the submission of the project to its completion.
- The Lead Partner will be responsible for the overall management of the project and ensuring that all of the project work packages are delivered in accordance with the project proposal and the grant offer letter.
- The Lead Partner will be responsible for collecting all project information and monitoring and reporting about progress of the whole project in the framework of the agreed monitoring and reporting system.
- The Lead Partner will be responsible for collecting all financial information and progress reports and will submit these as one single claim for payment to the payments section of the JTS. They will also need to ensure that all spend by the partners is directly related to the delivery of the project. Not withstanding this it should be made clear that all partners are equally responsible for financial control and coordination and will be liable for any irregularities or ineligible costs which are claimed.
- The Lead Partner will receive all ERDF payments on behalf of the partnership and will be responsible for distributing them to their project partners.
- The Lead Partner is only the administrative head of the project. All partners have equal responsibilities regarding its successful delivery.
- Each project has to be a joint project. The Lead Partner Principle is simply a management and organizational tool.