Evaluation evidence informs Government investment to support local economic growth

SQW led the National Evaluation Panel which evaluated the progress and impact of long-term devolved Investment Funds in ten local areas across the UK over 2016-2020. The Investment Funds allow local areas a high degree of flexibility to invest in local economic growth priorities, including supporting new and improved transport infrastructure, land and property schemes, and business and skills development. A wide range of evaluation techniques were required to reflect the variety of investments made.

As part of giving local areas maximum flexibility, but also ensuring value for money, each Investment Fund is subject to a five yearly Gateway Review by Government. The purpose of the evaluation in each local area is to inform this Gateway Review process, and the subsequent investment decision for the next five-year funding period.

In May 2020, the outcome of the first Gateway Reviews, for Glasgow City Region, Greater Cambridge, and Leeds City Region were announced. The Gateway Reviews confirmed that sufficient progress had been made, and early impacts realised, to support the next tranche of funding. The decisions, informed by the evaluation evidence developed by SQW and its partners, will unlock over £500m of funding to support local economic growth priorities across the three areas.

If you would like to know more about the evaluation of devolved Investment Funds, or our wider work in evaluation and local economic development, please contact Graham Thom.