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ESF Policy and Operations Unit

ESF Policy and Operations Unit

The Department of Education and Skills is the designated authority in Ireland for policy and operational matters related to the ESF. The Department's ESF Policy and Operations Unit oversees all matters relating to the ESF in Ireland and represents Ireland's position at a European level in relation to the ESF. Specifically, it is responsible for programme development, the ongoing monitoring and implementation of programmes and the sound and efficient financial management of all ESF activity in Ireland. 

This work is directed at supporting the Partnership Agreement which sets out how the European Structural and Investment Funds are utilised Ireland. The Partnership Agreement also outlines Ireland’s development needs and defines national priorities to support its National Reform Programme (NRP) and the achievement of national targets for delivering the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.


The ESF Policy and Operations Unit comprises two distinct and independent sub-units:

  • The ESF Managing Authority
  • The ESF Certifying Authority

Role of the Managing Authority

The Managing Authority is responsible for the efficient management and implementation of the PEIL 2014-2020.

The functions of the Managing Authority with regard to the management and monitoring of the PEIL 2014-2020, as defined in Article 125 of Common Provisions Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013, are:

  • Ensuring proper financial management of the ESF within the programme;
  • Certifying and/or validating ESF Expenditure Certification reports and submitting them to the ESF Certifying Authority for payment. All claims must be routed through and signed-off by the Managing Authority before transmission to the Certifying Authority;
  • Satisfying itself that the required verification checks are being undertaken. The Managing Authority is responsible for ensuring that any questions raised during the checking of claims or during audits are also fully investigated and answered/addressed appropriately;
  • Providing the secretariat for the Programme Monitoring Committee of the Operational Programme, and assisting the Monitoring Committee in carrying out its functions;
  • Drawing up and submitting annual and final implementation reports on the Programme activity to the Monitoring Committee and the European Commission;
  • Collating data on each ESF measure for monitoring and evaluation of the Operational Programme, including data on individual participants in measures, where applicable.

The ESF Policy and Operations Unit, as the Managing Authority for the PEIL 2014-2020, is the relevant body for the examination of complaints in respect of the ESF. The ESF PEIL Complaints Procedure can be found here. The ESF PEIL Complaint Form can be found here.

Role of the Certifying Authority

The ESF Certifying Authority is responsible for ensuring the sound and efficient financial management of the PEIL 2014-2020.

In accordance with Article 126 of the Common Provisions Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013, the Certifying Authority is responsible for:

  • Drawing up and submitting payment applications to the European Commission, and certifying that they result from reliable accounting systems and  are based on verifiable supporting documents and have been subject to verifications by the Managing Authority; 
  • Drawing up the accounts referred to in point (a) of Article 59(5) of the Financial Regulation 966/2012; 
  • Certifying the completeness and accuracy of the accounts and that the expenditure entered in the accounts complies with applicable law and has been incurred in respect of operations selected for funding in accordance with the criteria applicable to the Operational Programme; 
  • Taking account when drawing up and submitting payment applications of the results of all audits carried out by, or under the responsibility of, the audit authority; 
  • Ensuring the existence of a computerised system and maintaining said computerised system that records and stores the accounting records of each operation in support of the submission of payment applications and drawing up of accounts. 

The Certifying Authority is functionally independent of the Managing Authority 

For more information please contact:

ESF Policy and Operations Unit

Department of Education and Skills

Block 2, Floor 2

Marlborough Street

Dublin 1

D01 RC96

Phone: 01 889 2003


Twitter: @ESF_Ireland