Written Assembly Questions tabled on 26 February 2016 for answer on 4 March 2016
R - Signifies the Member has declared an interest.
W - Signifies that the question was tabled in Welsh.
(Self-identifying Question no. shown in brackets)
Written Questions must be tabled at least five working days before they are to be answered. In practice, Ministers aim to answer within seven/eight days but are not bound to do so. Answers are published in the language in which they are provided, with a translation into English of responses provided in Welsh.
Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Welsh Government confirm why there was an underspend on the Reach the Heights initiative? (WAQ69934)
Answer received on 7 March 2016
The Minister for Education and Skills (Huw Lewis): As a result of early delays during the implementation of the Reach the Heights programme the overall timeframe for delivery was shortened. A further pause and review was undertaken part way through the programme, which halted delivery for a short period. Whilst it was subsequently agreed to extend the initiative, this pause and review further shortened the overall delivery timeframe and therefore had a consequential impact on volumes of activity and expenditure. Further underspend was incurred in the latter stages of programme delivery as partner organisations found it difficult to retain staff nearing the end of their time-limited contracts.
Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Further to WAQ69855, will the Welsh Government confirm on what schemes the decommitment of £3,331,186 on the Reach the Heights initiative was spent? (WAQ69935)
Answer received on 7 March 2016
The Minister for Finance and Government Business (Jane Hutt) :
The de-commitment of £3.3m of ESF funds 2007-2013 from the Reach the Heights scheme was reinvested by WEFO into the Regional SEN, STEM Cymru and Traineeships projects helping to address employment and skills issues among young people.
Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Minister detail all Welsh Government programmes, schemes, or initiatives, which have received funding via the European Social Fund (ESF) and have resulted in an underspend or decommitment over the course of the Fourth Assembly; and what monies were involved in each instance? (WAQ69936)
Answer received on 8 March 2016
The Minister for Finance and Government Business (Jane Hutt): To maximise the delivery of Structural Fund Programmes for Wales, the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) monitors and, where necessary, de-commits and redeploys funds from projects that are unlikely to achieve their expenditure targets. This may be the result of a number of factors including changes in the economy or labour market, under performance against delivery plans, audit-related adjustments or where costs are less than originally anticipated. In all cases, WEFO seeks to redeploy any de-committed funds to support other investments over the lifetime of the programmes.
The 2007–2013 programmes supported a total of 111 ESF projects, and during the Fourth Assembly term, the following Welsh Government ESF projects had funds decommitted.
|Project ||ESF Awarded (£m) ||ESF De-Committed (£m) |
| Reach the Heights – First Footholds||10.7|| 1.7|
|Reach the Heights – Routes to the Summit||8.8|
|Minority Ethnic Learning and Achievement project||4.0|| 1.6|
|Genesis Wales ||35.9||22.7|
|Financial Leadership Network||2.0||0.08|
|Enhancing Leadership and Management Skills||21.1||13.4|
|Skills Growth Wales||30.9||6.4|