Thursday, 6 December 2018

Simpler rules for personnel costs, but....

A survey of 3,598 H2020 beneficiaries to help assess simplification in H2020 was published in November by the European Court of Auditors (ECA). The survey covered chiefly the changes to the overall methodology for calculating personnel costs; easing of time-recording requirements for staff working exclusively on an H2020 project; and the acceptance of monthly hourly rates alongside annual hourly rates.

Overall, the changes were viewed positively, but more experienced beneficiaries generally were less enthusiastic. And when asked which measures introduced under Horizon 2020 have increased the administrative burden for the reporting of project costs, most of the respondents pointed to measures linked to the calculation and reporting of personnel costs. 41 % of the respondents to the survey declared that they needed to run a specific time-recording system to manage their Horizon 2020 projects, with no significant reduction compared to FP7. The most frequent complaints expressed by beneficiaries related to:

the use of detailed timesheets showing a split by work package;
the cumbersome recalculations that some beneficiaries have to make to reconcile staff salaries with Horizon 2020 rules; and
the frequent introduction of changes throughout the implementation of Horizon 2020.

The ECA concludes that the rules on personnel costs were simplified, but some changes have created difficulties for beneficiaries. As a result, personnel costs remain the principal source of financial errors.

Sounds like the operation was a success but the patient died!