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How much responsibility can be delegated to the FLAGs?

According to the Regulation, responsibility delegated by Managing Authorities to FLAGs shall provide that:  
a) the FLAGs “propose and implement an integrated local development strategy based upon a bottom-up approach” (article 45.2) and
b) “the operations under the local development strategy are  chosen by the local group” (article 45.4).
While the Managing Authority needs to agree the strategy and should check the eligibility of the local operations – the responsibility for taking the initiative on both must clearly lie at local level.

As long as these basic principles are respected Member States have considerable flexibility in the way in which they delegate other functions. For example, at one extreme, some Member States transfer the funds for Axis 4 directly to the groups who become responsible for certifying and paying beneficiaries. At the other extreme, the funds as well as the certifying and paying functions can be retained at national, regional or provincial levels.

The decision about exactly which functions to delegate depends on the administrative capacity of the local partners in the FLAGs and, on the speed and effectiveness of higher levels of the administration in getting the payments to the final beneficiaries. Both vary considerably between countries. If a Member State does sub-delegate more functions to the FLAGs it must make sure that they have the necessary human and financial resources to carry them out. If, on the other hand, payment to beneficiaries are effected by another entity (e.g. a national or regional agency), the systems for checking eligibility should be streamlined so as to avoid duplication of controls.