Decision C(2013) 8550 of the European Commission, authorising the use of simplified forms of grant in the Erasmus+ programme, requires a mid-term review of the adopted unit costs/flat rates/lump sums compared to actual costs. However, since the introduction of simplified grants, neither national agencies, nor the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) are under any legal obligation to collect and keep evidence of the actual costs of projects.
To verify the adopted unit costs/flat rates/lump sums, PPMI used market prices as a reference for real costs and combined this data with information on the estimated actual costs incurred by programme beneficiaries in multiple Erasmus+ projects. This information on estimated actual costs was collected through an online survey of programme beneficiaries and interviews carried out at EU, national and project levels, as well as during on-the-spot visits to organisational beneficiaries of the Erasmus+ programme. In addition, extensive desk research involving the analysis and extrapolation of publicly accessible data (e.g. traveling costs) and statistics, as well as multiple online and phone surveys to question relevant service providers, were carried out to determine market prices.
PPMI verified whether the simplified grants ensured sufficient support to beneficiaries, enabling them to be adapted to country/area-specific circumstances and to correspond more closely to market prices. The client was also provided with an analysis of the overall functioning of current simplified grants, their strengths and possible weakness and malfunctioning. Based on the study’s conclusions, PPMI has recommended adjustments to the adopted unit costs/flat rates/lump sums.