ERDF – the hourly rate processes need to be simplified, and in good Blue Peter fashion, here’s a better system we made earlier

I have written recently with the suggestion that in ERDF processes it would be clearer to talk about staff having “shared duties” between an ERDF project and other projects, rather than saying they are “part-time” on the project. Not least because they could be really part-time.

And we should remind ourselves, staff with shared duties are required to complete a timesheet which splits their hours worked each day between their project tasks and their other tasks.

A few years ago the method used for claims was to calculate an hourly rate for each person with shared duties, based in their contracted hours and pay, and then to apply this to the project hours worked each month. Let’s call this system one.

However, a problem was said to exist with a few individuals, usually those spending over 85% of their time on project duties and in a few busiest months. In these circumstances, hourly rate multiplied by the hours worked could be more than the person was actually paid that month. It would average out with other months where holidays were taken, but that apparently wasn’t good enough as an answer.

And so, we now have a prior twelve month ‘census’ or data collection process for payroll finances and a national formula which ignores individual contracted hours and lengths of permitted holidays, all requiring hours of desk work to be undertaken for each individual by applicants, and further hours of work for the officials to check in absolute detail for compliance. Let’s call this system two.

But, we are told, the advantage of using this highly laborious method – system two – makes it permissible to accept the anomaly of hourly rate times hours exceeding the actual paid amount in the busiest months, because a fair rate has been exhaustively calculated.

But, if it permissible to claim above the monthly salary in a busy month, balanced out in other months, in the second system, why can’t we just revert to the first system and accept the same anomaly while using system one instead?

No twelve-month census. No national formula.

Some may say that system two stops people playing with the formula to calculate too high an hourly rate. But system one has the same safeguard because the calculations equally had to be agreed with officials in advance. If some applicants were blatantly playing the system, just tell them no. The financial principle of requiring calculations to be true and fair sums it up nicely.

We should return to the relative sanity of system one.

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