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European money is helping to improve the performance of Welsh public services

30 January 2015

A report produced by Cardiff Business School (with Shared Intelligence and IFF Research), and commissioned by the Welsh Government, has found that EU funding has helped to speed up collaboration between partners and in some cases deliver improved outcomes for the public.

The report evaluates the European Social Fund Local Service Board (ESF-LSB) Development and Priority Delivery Project, which includes 38 individual projects across Wales covering a wide range of policy areas such as social and health care, employment, transport, environment, and housing.

Using a wide range of evidence including interviews with key stakeholders, seven in-depth case studies of projects and a national survey, the evaluation found that:

  • Two-thirds of survey respondents reported that their projects would not have happened without EU funding
  • Some projects have been truly innovative. For instance, the Caerphilly Passport Programme aimed to reduce the number of young people who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) by providing work experience, mentoring and support to prepare them for work, before being ‘passported’ into employment opportunities
  • It was difficult to assess the impact of some of the earlier projects, as the outcomes they were aiming to achieve were difficult to evidence or unlikely to be realised within the lifetime of the Project.  This improved with support in this area
  • Some projects, often for reasons beyond their control, have struggled to deliver the outcomes they originally intended, but lessons were learned
  • It will take years for improvements in some areas, such as health status, to be realised
  • There are a number of factors which help to determine whether a project is successful which include the nature of the collaboration, the part played by the project manager, leadership and the level of involvement of the LSB

The report also outlined a number of recommendations for the Welsh Government to ensure there is a legacy from the Project.

Following the publication of the report, Dr James Downe, said: “The Welsh Government should put greater emphasis on learning and sharing good practice from the Project, to ensure that valuable lessons are shared. Where evidence suggests that the approach developed by a project is effective, there are opportunities for wider roll-out across Wales”.

He continued: “While respondents were largely positive about the direction of travel and the benefits provided by the ESF-LSB Project funding, our final summative report, due this summer, will provide a more conclusive discussion of the Project’s impact”.

Read the full report: European Social Fund Local Service Board development and priority delivery project

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