Understand the control system in the North Sea Programme.
In the North Sea Programme, the control system is structured into three levels. The first level is the control of partner expenditure, and the quality of this control is crucial for good project management.
Each project partner in your partnership must designate a controller. Sub-partners are exempted from this requirement but may choose to appoint their own controller.
The purpose of the control on partner level is to ensure that no ineligible expenditure is included in applications for payment submitted to the European Commission. The controller will take a critical look at all project expenditures and verify that they are in line with all relevant regulations and guidelines.
If the controller believes that an expenditure item is ineligible, the item should be removed from the expenditure report. In cases of disagreement between the project partner and the controller, the controller will have the final say.
Decentralised control system In Denmark, Flanders, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and in Norway, the control system is decentralised. As a project partner, you can freely choose your own controller, either as a result of a procurement procedure or from a shortlist if your organisation is located in Flanders or France.
Centralised control system In Sweden, a centralised system for control is in place. Tillväxtverket is the control body for all Swedish project partners. There are no exceptions to this rule and costs incurred by Swedish project partners and controlled by other controllers than Tillväxtverket are ineligible and will not trigger any reimbursement from the programme.
Tillväxtverket will be informed that your project has been approved and that you will be the partner but it is always a good idea to establish contact before you start to incur expenditure. The designation of Tillväxtverket as controller for your organisation is simple and will be done by starting the controller designation process in the online monitoring system.
The legal framework for the control and how this is organised is outlined in our Fact Sheet 23.
The North Sea Programme control requirements set out the expectations for the competencies of the controller. It also details the checks required for transparent and comprehensive control of a partner's expenditure, including a comprehensive control checklist.
The checklist is optional to use, however the content has to be considered if the control is documented in another way.
In addition to the control requirements, the programme has also analysed and concluded on the most frequent and risky elements linked to project finances.
The ex-ante risk assessment document includes guidance on how and when the partner controllers should apply sampling. The document is updated when there is a need for it, hence we encourage the individual controller to consult the latest version ahead of any control.
Please note that the control requirements and ex-ante risk assessment are not only guidance tools for the controller to carry out the control work. You may also use them in the recruitment process to find the most ideal candidate for the role of controller.
Some partner countries of the North Sea Programme have detailed requirements or guidance for controllers operating within their territories.
Once your project application is approved, the first thing you must do is to appoint a controller for your organisation. In doing so, it is very important that you follow all procurement rules.
As a rule, controllers should be external and independent. Some countries will allow the use of internal controllers, but you must check national rules before considering this.
Once you have identified a candidate, the next step is to have the controller designated. This is done by the national designation body. The controller can only start carrying out control tasks in context of the project once he or she has been formally designated.
The procedure for designating a controller is relatively simple. You will initiate the process yourself using a form in the online monitoring system (OMS). Subsequently, the designation is signed by the controller and approved (or rejected) by the national designation body.
Whenever a partner reports expenditures to the Joint Secretariat, these must be approved (verified) by their controller. The framework for the control is outlined above. The control report summarises the controller's conclusion.
The control report is integrated in our online monitoring system.