Thursday, 8 September 2011

Late payment

Two months ago we reported that according to the EC over 96% of interim and final payments to FP7 participants were made within the contractual 105 day limit. The 105 days starts when the consortium submits the periodic (and/or final) report and associated deliverables. It is interrupted whenever the EC asks for clarifications or modifications. So in practice the 105 day limit is often extended, making the 96% achievement less impressive.

A further complication is that in the ICT theme, which uses a web system called NEF for reporting, it is not possible to submit a report while an amendment is in process. The EC’s FP7 legal department has now confirmed that the 105 day time limit starts only when the reports are submitted to NEF. So a consortium may send all their reports and deliverables to the EC by email, but the clock does not start. Instead, the consortium must wait until the amendment is complete (usually some months), then submit via NEF, at which point the clock starts. The 96% achievement is based on timings from NEF, which means it is not reliable.

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