There are wasteful practices and there are excellent, high-leverage practices of managing the social funds received by the Member States from EU, and anywhere in between the extremes. The difference translates in more or less people are getting vocational re-training in areas struck by modernization, or network of woman entrepreneurs becoming more visible and able to do more for their members, just to mention two examples.
To improve the management of the funds, the European Commission’s Directorate General of Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities provided resources for the creation and cultivation of communities of practitioners in charge of making best use of those funds. The ESF Managing Authority in 5 of the Member States received grants for hosting those communities.
We have just wrapped up the work with one of them, the Flemish ESF Agency that has been hosting the Community of Practice on Partnership in the ESF. It’s overall objective was the betterintegration of partnerships in ESF programmes. In January 2007, we won their tender for coaching their community coordinator and developing guidelines for community cultivation, and worked with them until now.
It was fun, sometimes challenging, to work with an international CoP, where many of the members were primarily representing not themselves but their home institutions that assigned them to participate. It was heartwarming to notice that in spite the less than favorable initial conditions, lots of peer learning, networking, and building of shared knowledge assets have been happening.