EfReporter - an electronic butler for the management of structural funds
The database system efREreporter developed in Saxony-Anhalt enables both electronic information flow and control of funding instruments and projects during all stages of the management of operational programmes.
Articles 1260/1999 and 438/2001, Appendix 4 of the Structural Funds Order regulate electronic data exchange between the national and regional authorities and the European Commission. It was in the light of this that Saxony-Anhalt decided to develop a database system for the management of its operational programme 2000/2006 and launched a pilot project in 1999.
The system developed was designed, on the one hand, to facilitate information flow in the form of electronic data between the state of Saxony-Anhalt and the European Commission, and on the other hand within the state’s authorities themselves to administer and monitor the programme, the individual funding instruments and the projects and in addition to document the process flows.
The system was to be equipped with uniform standards, definitions and core processes for all funds and funding instruments.
The Landesförderinstitut Sachsen-Anhalt [Saxony-Anhalt’s institute of state promotion] began developing specific software for this purpose in January 2000.
At the heart of the software is a reporting module which provides reports in various formats. In addition to ‘classic’ reports in paper form, the software supports, in particular, electronic reports. Electronic reporting takes place on the basis of a data exchange format specified by the European Commission. The system provides an appropriate input interface for all data carrying an obligation to be reported. This input interface is realised by two modules. A plan creation module which reflects the definition of the structure and means of financial plans has been created for inputting financial planning data. All other data are covered by a data-input module in the context of authorisation and payment transactions at the project level.
The efREporter reporting software has a modular structure. In keeping with this modularisation, the individual modules were created one after another during the software development process. Each module was created on the basis of its own version creation process. This version represents the ready-for-production release of the input module. The logging of live data for authorisation transactions is only possible when the appropriate registration is carried out. If data are logged without this registration process this means that it is not possible to ensure consistency within the data since the registration tool is an essential part of a clear identification mechanism.
The efREporter system is no longer in the pilot stage and is in full use in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. Transfer of the system to other German states or to regions in other Member States is possible in principle, although the modules would have to be adapted to the relevant administrative processes. The system has already been used in a partly reworked and adapted form in some of Germany’s Objective 1 areas.
On a European level, the efReporter is comparable with the French PRESAGE (Programme Régional et Européen de Suivi, d’Analyse, de Gestion et d’Evaluation) system which was developed for the same purpose and is used in the management of structural funds in France.