Guidance notes for completion of ENSEMBLES second year reports
- Reporting timetable
- Tasks for RT leaders
- Tasks for WP leaders
- Tasks for Partners
- Quick check diagram
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Summary of forms
The main problems last year arose from a lack of experience of the FP6 reporting procedure and some people not responding in time. We have 10 Research Themes, 48 Work Packages, 67 partners and the summer holiday season to complicate matters, so please provide the requested information promptly so that RT0 can compile the reports and carry out sufficient quality control in time. If you need help or advice then please do ask (sooner rather than later) as we are here to try and help.
The following sections explain who needs to what and by when. The first year's reports will be a useful reminder of the required format and information.
Acronyms: RT = Research Theme, WP = Work Package, PAR = Periodic Activity Report, PMR = Periodic Management Report, DIP = Detailed Implementation Plan, DoW = Description of Work
|Date due by||Item/Report||Person Responsible|
|mid-Jul 06||Draft input for PAR and DIP for months 25-42 to RT leaders||WP Leaders|
|31 Jul 06||First draft PAR and DIP (including deliverables/milestones to month 42)||RT leaders|
|31 Aug 06||Complete PAR, DIP and all deliverables/milestones (including cover sheet) for months 13-24||RT leaders|
|20 Sep 06||All information for PMR (including tables 3 and 4), Form C, audit certificate (if applicable), DIP budget||Partners|
|10 Oct 06||All final reports submitted to EC||RT0|
By 31 August 2006 each RT needs to e-mail the following documents to firstname.lastname@example.org:
1. The following sections of the Periodic Activity Report (PAR) from their RT for months 13-24. Last year's report will be a useful starting point:
- Executive Summary: Brief input is needed from the RT leaders for each sub-section, which will summarise the status/progress of each RT. RT0 will collate.
- Section 1 "Project objectives and major achievements": this is a 1-2 page summary of Section 2 "RT progress" for the whole RT.
- Section 2 "RT progress": full details for each WP, including WPx.0. As a guide, each WP could aim to provide 1-2 pages of text plus figures to the RT leaders, but write as much as is needed.
- Section 3 "Consortium management": please provide any relevant information, in particular for Section 3.6 "Co-ordination activities and communication".
- Appendix 1 "Plan for using and disseminating the knowledge": information is needed for "Section 2 - dissemination of knowledge". I don't think we have input for the other two sections, Section 1 "Exploitable knowledge and its use" and Section 3 "Publishable results" for each exploitable result.
2. The Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP) for their RT for months 25-42.
- Section 8.5 "Deliverables list": fill in all columns. Remember to check the Major Milestones on pages 99-104 of DoW vn2.5 for consistency, and include all deliverables and milestones for months 25-30 from the DoW vn2.5, because they still apply. Do not introduce too many additional new deliverables and milestones. I suggest one per year per WP but it's largely up to you. Bear in mind that a deliverable is a tangible thing such as a report, a training course or piece of software, it is not an aim or objective.
- Section 8.6 "Work package descriptions": complete separate ones for each WP.
3. All deliverables with cover sheet (and milestone reports where appropriate) that are due in year 2.
By 31 July 2006 please provide your intended milestones and deliverables up to month 42 to RT0 so that we can assess consistency across RTs. Please also submit a draft version of the PAR and DIP to RT0. This first draft will help alleviate problems if/when progress with report writing slows down in August. Changes, updates, refinements, additions etc. can then be made by 31 August. Please contact RT0 if it will be a problem producing a first version by 31 July.
Your RT leaders should contact you requesting much of the above information for the PAR and DIP. Please send the information to your RT leader, not to RT0. RTs might have different deadlines, so liaise with your RT leader. The simplest way to complete the WP reports is to get each partner in your WP to complete the Periodic Activity Report for Partners
Hand-out for financial/admin departments
All partners listed in the contract including zero cost partners (but not affiliated partners because they are not listed in the contract) need to provide the information detailed below directly to the Co-ordinator. This information is in addition to the items that your WP and/or RT leaders will request. It will take the co-ordinator several weeks to compile the reports based on this information, so please provide it as soon as possible after 1 September and by 20 September 2006.
Please email the items listed in bullet points 1, 2 and 3 to email@example.com by 20 September.
Please post signed copies of the items in bullets 2 and 4 to Pip Gilbert, Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter EX1 3PB, UK by 20 September.
1. Information for the Periodic Management Report (PMR) for months 13-24, 1Sep05-31Aug06:
- Section 1.1 "Work performed": brief one paragraph summaries of the work performed. Provide separate paragraphs for every RT your institute was involved in from Sep05 to Aug06. Also include an explanatory note of any major cost items.
- Section 1.2 "Summary explanation of impact of major deviations from budgets": brief descriptions of any major deviations from cost budget and/or person-month budget, explaining which RT the deviation relates to. This section should be consistent with information provided to RT and WP leaders for Sections 1.3 and 2.c of the PAR.
- Table 3 "Budget vs Actual Costs": a tabular
overview of budgeted costs and actual costs for your institute's involvement
in the project as a whole (not separated into
RTs), itemised by major cost item including personnel. Please complete
the column "Period 2" for year 2 for your institute, noting
- Please read the lessons learned document, paying particular attention to the sections marked "ACTION". Partners need to take into account what money they have already received, what they have claimed on previous Form Cs and what their total five year budget is. This information is contained in the summary spreadsheet (please note that this is a working document).
- All figures are for total eligible costs, not "requested EC contribution"
- The "BUDGET" column shows the total eligible costs for the 5 years, taken from the DoW
- The "ACTUAL COSTS" column corresponds with the costs reported on your Form C, but with slightly different categories. In particular, check that the cell for the row "Total Costs" under column "Period 2" is the same as the total eligible cost in cell L38 of your Form C
- The EC's guidelines don't specify what constitutes a "major cost", so please use your best judgement.
- Table 4 "Person month status table": provide the total person months used for each WP for your institute in year 2. Please look at your budgeted person months in the Table 4 for months 13-30. RT0 will complete the master sheet using the information from all partners; partners should only be concerned with tabs RT1-RT8.
2. Form C: Financial statement per activity for the contractual reporting period. Please read the following important points:
- Follow the guidance notes for completing Form C. Last year several forms were not completed properly which caused problems for some partners - read through the "common mistakes" section.
- Send two signed copies by post. You only need to print out the "Participant 1" sheet, not the "Summary Report".
- Email an electronic version of the Form C spreadsheet to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. An updated 18 month Detailed Implementation Plan budget, for months 25-42 (to replace the A3.3 forms for months 13-30 in Section 9.4 of the DoW using the Section9.4_DIP spreadsheet. Remember that each RT and each partner have total budgets for the 5 years which cannot be exceeded without Management Board approval (see Contract Preparation Form A3.1 in the DoW for partners' budgets). All figures should be given to the nearest Euro.
4. An audit certificate to accompany Form C is required once a partner's total requested EC contribution from the start of the project to date reaches or exceeds €150,000. For example, if their requested contribution for year 1 was €80,000 and the contribution for year 2 was €80,000 then that partner would need to provide an audit certificate with their year 2 Form C, and in all subsequent years.
Those partners who have not yet requested €150,000 or more do not have to provide an audit certificate (this is Special Clause 39 to the ENSEMBLES contract), but I strongly urge you to consider providing one for the following reasons:
- All partners receiving an EC contribution will need to produce at least one audit certificate by the end of the project.
- This will help you to uncover any FP6-accounting problems as soon as possible, and make subsequent annual accounting easier. Correcting problems from previous years will be difficult, and avoiding the problems is the best strategy.
- In year 1 a few partners DID have problems with their Form C and audit certificates and I fully expect other partners to have problems in subsequent years.
It has been agreed by all partners that the cost of the audit certificate shall not be charged to the ENSEMBLES project (please see the Consortium Agreement).
Working notes for contractors and certifying entities are available from the Cordis website. Please follow the instructions contained within the notes very carefully, particularly the wording in Annex 2. The EC advised that several audit certificates needed revising after year 1.
The Commission's Guide to Financial Issues is available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/fp6/working-groups/model-contract/pdf/fp6-guide-financialissues-april04_en.pdf.
The guidelines state in several places that "the expenses needed to implement the indirect action shall be certified by an external auditor or, in the case of public bodies, a competent public officer", but page 94 is slightly more informative, and hopefully will tell you what the rules are in choosing an auditor for your organisation.
Lessons Learned (printable version). Please read through it for further advice.
The following lessons have been learned during the first year of reporting for the ENSEMBLES FP6 project. All of the comments below apply to situations that actually arose. I have provided a summary of what the problem was and what ACTION is needed to help prevent the problem arising again. I'm sure many people would agree that it was a difficult process, so please let us have any further comments or feedback to help us improve the process in the future.
Please note: this working document may need revising as a result of any comments that we may receive from the EC.
At the start of the project we asked partners to provide us with all of
their appropriate contact email addresses. However, during the reporting
process we discovered that the people we then contacted did not necessarily
pass on the relevant information to the appropriate (particularly administrative
and financial) people.
ACTION: please provide the email addresses of the people at your institute, particularly the appropriate administrative people, who are able to provide information for the reports. This includes scientific reports, financial reports, and scientific and financial planning.
It takes us a lot of time to compile the reports and to carry out sufficient
quality control checks. A lot of information was not provided to us on time
for year 1, which meant that we spent (=wasted) a lot of time chasing up
the information and did not have as much time as we would have liked to
do careful checking and editing.
ACTION: Please provide everything as soon as possible and definitely by the date requested.
CPF A3.3 - financial plan for next 18 months
Every year we update Contract Preparation Form (CPF) A3.3 to show each
partner's total eligible costs and requested budget for the next 18 months.
This form is used to determine their next advance of money.
ACTION: Each partner needs to take into account how much money they have already received from us, what they have claimed on their Form Cs so far, and what their total (5 year) budget is. A spreadsheet showing this historical information will be available on the members-only website.
A reminder: AC partners' indirect costs should not exceed 20% of direct costs; FC/FCF partners' requested EC contribution for RTD can not exceed 50% of their total RTD eligible costs; No-cost partners have no requested EC contribution!
ACTION: Please take note of the following points, which might not have been clear to you:
- All partners, including no cost partners, need to provide two signed copies of Form C.
- The latest version of Form C (available from our reporting web site) should be used.
- Please complete all relevant boxes, including "Period from….to…."
- ENSEMBLES partners have agreed not to charge the cost of the audit certificate to the project (see Section 5.3 of the Consortium Agreement).
- Contract Preparation Form (CPF) A3.1 and A3.3 detail how each partner's budget is distributed between the different "activities" listed on Form C, which are RTD, Training, and Consortium Management (cells B34 etc.).
- Form C has the following checks - AC partners' indirect costs should not exceed 20% of direct costs; FC/FCF partners' requested EC contribution for RTD can not exceed 50% of their total eligible RTD costs.
- No-cost partners should have no requested EC contribution in cell L54!
- Confusingly, "receipts" (cell L47) do not mean the annual payments that many of you receive from us. Most (all?) partners will not have receipts - a receipt is something that gives rise to profit (although I might be over-simplifying it by expressing it this way)
- Please remember to have your forms signed.
ACTION: Please take note of the following points:
- All partners who request money from the EU will need to provide an audit certificate at the end of the project.
- Any partner whose total requested cost to date exceeds €150,000 needs to provide an audit certificate.
- Special Clause 39 allows partners whose total requested cost to date has not exceeded €150,000 to choose whether or not to provide an audit certificate. However, some partners chose to have an audit done in year 1 and did discover problems, that if left undiscovered, would have been problematic.
- Please remember to check that the exchange rate used is consistent between the audit certificate and the Form C.
- Please check that the cost model stated on the audit certificate is correct (i.e. matches that listed in Section 9.1 of the DoW) and matches that on the Form C.
- Please remember to check that the wording on the audit certificate is correct. Last year several partners missed some paragraphs.
ACTION: Therefore, we strongly recommend all partners who have requested money from the project from year 1, or will do so at the end of year 2, to have their Form Cs audited next year so that they can uncover any potential problems (perhaps with their institute's accounting systems for FP6) at as early a stage as possible. Alternatively it might be worth having your year 1 costs and Form C audited now for your own internal purposes. I am making these suggestions because discovering problems at the end of the project could cause problems for you.
Tabular overview of budgeted vs actual costs ("Table 3")
ACTION: Please take note of the following points which might not have been clear to you:
- Partners need to take into account what money they have already received, what they have claimed on previous Form Cs and what their total five year budget is. This information is contained in the summary spreadsheet.
- All figures are for total eligible costs, not "requested EC contribution".
- The "BUDGET" column shows the total eligible costs for the 5 years, as listed on CPF A3.1
- The "ACTUAL COSTS" columns for each year ("Period 1" is year 1, etc.) of the project are the costs that correspond to those reported on the Form C, but with slightly different categories.
- The total cost in Period 1 (cell D13, unless you have modified the original version) should correspond with the total eligible cost in Form C (cell L39).
- The EC's reporting guidelines don't specify what constitutes a "major cost" so please use your best judgement. Several partners had travel as a major cost, which seems reasonable, but it is probably also valid for many partners to not have any major cost items.
Tabular overview of budgeted person month and actual person month ("Table 4")
In year 1 this information was collected through the WP and RT leaders for their WPs and RTs, and then collated by the coordination team. In year 2 we think it will simplify the reporting process if each partner sends this information directly to the coordination team.
Some other frequently asked questions
Periodic Activity Report
Q: Do we need to report on milestones
and deliverables due in months 25-30 in section (d)?
Periodic Management Report
Q: Isn't the work description (bullet
1) already covered in the Periodic Activity Report?
A: Yes, there is some overlap. Make the Periodic Management Report section very brief and include more description in the Periodic Activity Report.
Q: How do I complete Appendix 2,
Table 3 of Periodic Management Report – Budget vs Actual Costs
- We don't have a definition from the EC's reporting guidelines of what a "major cost" is. Please use your best judgement. It is probably valid for many partners to not have any major cost items
- Column f "Budget" refers to the total eligible costs over the full duration of the project as specified in Contract Preparation Form A3.1 (available from the members'-only site)
- Columns a1-e1 refer to the 5 individual years of the project, b1 is year 2
- The note in red "*) total budget figures - not EC funded" means all figures should refer to each partner's total eligible costs. For FC/FCF partners this will be at least double the requested EC contribution. For AC partners this will be at least equal to the requested EC contribution.
- Form C
- PAR for RT leaders
- PAR for Partners
- Person-month status table (table 4)
- Budget vs Actual table (table 3)
- DIP for WP
- DIP (Section 9.4 spreadsheet)
We hope the above is of help,
Chris Hewitt and Pip Gilbert.