Complaint Procedure

Email address:  atlantico.complaints@atlanticarea.eu

 

How to present a complaint ?

The complaint procedure aims at ensuring that when a complaint is submitted to the programme, a fair, reliable and formal procedure is in place regarding the selection of operations but also programme/projects implementation. Applicants have the opportunity to informally or formally complain about the Programme Monitoring Committee’s decision when a project is not selected for funding or about the programme/project implementation.

The general public may report suspected fraud related to the programme on the electronic "Complaints" tab or sent through other entities.

In most cases, complaints concern some kind of doubts, misunderstandings that can easily be solved through informal clear explanation of the decision or procedure carried out. The formal complaint procedure should be the last option after full information and explanations have been provided to the applicant by the Joint Secretariat or the Managing Authority.

1. Complaint procedure for the application/selection phase

Following the decision of Monitoring Committee not to approve a project, the applicant (Lead Partner) will be informed by means of a notification e-mail/letter sent by the Joint Secretariat, stating the main reasons for this decision. The opportunity for the applicant to receive further clarification on the decision shall be mentioned in this notification.

The complaint procedure applies to calls operating a one or two stage application process, to projects not approved in each phase, having an independent procedure.

Informal stage

The Joint Secretariat is contacted in writing, by phone or in an informal meeting where the complainant explains the situation he/she wishes to bring forward, for the respective programme body to provide information and clarifications on the decision/ procedure.

  • An informal complaint procedure may be initiated within 15 days* after the project notification concerned. Reply shall be done within 15 days* after receiving the informal complaint.

Formal stage 1 - Complaint to the Joint Secretariat

If the result of the informal stage is not satisfactory, the complainant may present a formal complaint through the email atlantico.complaints@atlanticarea.eu. This will lead to a formal written answer by the Joint Secretariat, clarifying the basis of the decision taken by the Monitoring Committee regarding the project selection decision.

  • A formal complaint to the Joint Secretariat may be done within 30 days* after the project notification of the decision. Reply shall be done within 15 days* after receiving the formal complaint.

Formal stage 2 - Appeal to the Programme Monitoring Committee

If the complainant is not satisfied with the conclusions of the Joint Secretariat, he/she may appeal to the Monitoring Committee. The formal complaint must be submitted to the Monitoring Committee Presidency via Joint Secretariat (via complaints email), clearly explaining the grounds upon which an examination is being requested.

  • A formal appeal to the Monitoring Committee must be presented within 45 days* after the project notification of the decision; the conclusions of the appeal will be communicated to the complainant in writing by the Joint Secretariat (on behalf of the Monitoring Committee) within 30 days* following the submission of the appeal complain

2. Programme/project implementation 

Complaints related to management verifications, both admnistrative and in situ, and to audit operation have to be lodged against the responsioble authority according to the applicable rules. Complaints against a decision of the Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat will follow these principles:

  • The Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat and the partner shall do everything possible to settle amicably any dispute arising between them during project implementation and the application of the subsidy contract;
  • If no amicable agreement is reached, the dispute is submitted to the Monitoring Committee in order to attempt a conciliation between the involved parties.;
  • In the event of failure of the above procedure, each party may submit the dispute to the courts. The place of jurisdiction is, as defined in the subsidy contract.

3. The general public/ electronic "Complaints"
The general public may submit a complaint online via the specific email atlantico.complaints@atlanticarea.eu. Alternatively, the complaint may be addressed to national entities. In all the Member States participating in the Programme there is a channel for registering anti-fraud complaints.

In Portugal, where the Managing Authority is located, complaints can be made in the Portal do Ministério Público – Departamento Central de Investigação e Ação Penal (DCIAP) or in the Curador do Beneficiário website (www.curador.pt). Complaints can also be submitted by letter or e-mail addressed to the Board of Directors of Agência para o Desenvolvimento & Coesão (agencia@adcoesao.pt). Confidentiality is guaranteed.

 

*Calendar days