Building Better Opportunities programme update - November 2016


Following feedback from grant holders and to be more aligned with the Managing Authorities (MA) policies we have made some updates to the BBO programme materials. The primary changes relate to National Insurance Numbers, there are two changes and both are necessary. These changes are:

  • National insurance cards and letters with NI numbers on are no longer acceptable proof of being eligible to work in the UK. This is a change in the Managing Authority has passed on to the Fund.
  • You will need to collect the national insurance numbers from all your participants, not for eligibility purposes but to create a unique identifier for individuals within the BBO data set.

National insurance cards and letters no longer proof of participant eligibility

The Managing Authority (MA) for ESF has notified us of an error in the eligibility table provided for evidence of right to live/work in UK. The MA had believed that proof of NI (a card or letter) was a primary source of evidence to confirm eligibility to work in the UK. However this is incorrect: National insurance card/letter is not proof of the right to live/work in UK. Our guidance in section eight of the Guide to Delivering European Funding has been amended to align with guidance set out by the Home Office on eligibility to work in the UK.

You will not need to transfer all participant information on to new forms. However you must record the participants NI number on the old form. This can be done by placing the participant NI number in the ‘Participant ID’ box of the old form.

Collection of National Insurance Numbers as a unique identifier

Identified issue and risk

We have tried to simplify the process of creating unique participant IDs by auto generating participant ID numbers using Annex L. Unfortunately with the current materials, compiling and processing the unique Participant ID’s between partners and lead organisations is complex and carries a significant risk of participant IDs becoming mixed up. To simplify this and uniquely identify individual participants, NI numbers will need to be collected from participants. Please ensure you flag this change to your delivery and IT partners so they are aware of the need to capture NI numbers.

Why the National Insurance number?

After careful consideration of a number of different options we’ve decided to replace the Unique Participant ID with National Insurance Numbers. This number does not need to be generated when participants are signed up and it is unique to each individual allowing the individual to be easily and uniquely identified within the BBO programme data.

What will it be used for?

The National Insurance Number will only be used as a unique identifier for the individual within the BBO programme data, currently it will not be passed on to the Managing Authority or shared with other organisations and services.

What if a participant doesn’t have a National Insurance Number?

If a participant is eligible to work in the UK they will be able to obtain a national insurance number, as with obtaining other forms of identification BBO funding can be used to help them apply and obtain an NI number.

Working with current participants

You will need to ask current participants in the programme to provide their NI number so they can be included in the participant data for your project.

Working with participants who don’t have an NI number

Provided the participant is eligible to live and work in the UK as set out in the programme guidance you may register and work with them however please do not include them in your Annex L (participant data) or Annex O (financial transaction) returns until they have obtained an NI number as we will be unable to cross reference evidence of expenditure for individuals expenses, allowances and incentives or results being claimed.

Annex L

As Participant ID is no longer auto generated you do not need to obtain a pre-populated version of Annex L, please download the new version (v5.October2016).