First Level Control (FLC) seminars are held on a regular basis in all countries that are participating in the North Sea Region Programme.
These training seminars are designed for first level controllers, lead beneficiaries, beneficiaries, and other parties involved in reporting and control of projects. They are always country-specific since they cover applicable national rules in addition to EU rules and regulations.
On 24 October, I attended one of these seminars in Gothenburg, Sweden. The seminar was held as a joint effort between Tillväxtverket (the Swedish body responsible for FLC) and the Secretariat. As usual, it was an eventful and entertaining day with lots of enthusiastic participants.
FLC seminars are always interesting and not just as an opportunity to learn but also as an opportunity to meet other project beneficiaries and to network with them. Speaking with colleagues in other projects makes you realise that you are not alone in the world and your challenges and benefits are shared by a lot of other people.
The purpose of the FLC seminars is to make sure that project beneficiaries are aware of and understand all of the many rules and regulations which are relevant for the delivery of their projects.
EU projects are notorious for a high degree of red tape and complicated rules. Despite our good will and dedicated attempts to minimise the complexities of project administration, some degree of complexity is unavoidable.
Participating in an FLC seminar is something we recommend to all beneficiaries and fortunately almost all beneficiaries do. The beneficiaries who do not participate have historically been significantly over-represented in the group of projects experiencing problems with the Second Level Control and subsequent requests for paying back money to the Programme.
Conversely, experiences from previous programming periods show that the risk of ending up in trouble with the Second Level Control is significantly reduced if you participate in the training offered at the FLC seminars.
As you can see from the picture, the participants at the Gothenburg seminar sometimes asked challenging questions from the Secretariat.