commissioned by Department for Communities and Local Government
The European Regional Development Fund is a funding instrument of EU Cohesion Policy which aims to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion across the EU. The Cohesion Policy for the period 2014-2020 is orientated towards the strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (EU2020 strategy). Prior to the UK’s decision to leave the EU, it was planned to make €3.6 billion available to invest in projects across England as part of the 2014-2020 programme, with approximately 1,600 projects supporting 150,000 enterprises, with an average investment of £1.5m per project. The projects are heavily focused on three priority axes pertaining to competitiveness of SMEs, promoting research and innovation, and supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy. While there may be some changes to the scale, focus and duration of the projects following the UK’s EU referendum decision, the England ERDF investment is expected to remain substantial. The purpose of this study is to scope the ongoing evaluation of the England 2014-2020 ERDF investments. The project will set out best practice for the approach to evaluation and will support LEPs in understanding what to focus on, and the processes that need to be established, to make the subsequent evaluation successful. CEEDR’s role is to provide expertise related to Counterfactual Impact Evaluation for the national-level evaluation, and to provide advice and steering in supporting LEPs in setting out their approach to their summative evaluations. An important part of the project is also to assist the client to consider arrangements for the England ERDF programme after the UK leaves the EU.