Regional policy and its evaluation

Armstrong & Taylor

I have undertaken many years of research on regional policy issues and the evaluation of regional policy. My textbook with Jim Taylor has long been the standard one in this field.

Since 1997 I have, with colleagues, undertaken a number of projects concerned with the evaluation of regional policy. Two large scale evaluations of the 1994-1999 Objective 2 Structural Funds programmes in Yorkshire & the Humber have been undertaken. These were European Commission and DETR funded.

The first, completed in 1997, was an interim evaluation of the 1994-1996 programme. This was a pioneering evaluation in developing a thematic appraisal approach and in developing evaluation in partnership involving large team evaluation methods, working with the close involvement of partner and stakeholder organisations in both the funding of the research and in the actual evaluation field work and analysis. This evaluation was judged one of the three best EU evaluations at the 1998 Commission Evaluation Conference in Seville.

The second evaluation was completed in 2000 and was a combined ex-post evaluation of the 1994-1996 Objective 2 programme in Yorkshire & The Humber and an interim evaluation of the 1996-1999 programme. Part of this project sought to pioneer new methods designed to better evaluate community economic development policies, with subsequent publications in academic journals.

Since 2000 I have undertaken two further evaluation-related research studies. An ESRC-funded project The Third Sector and the Governance of Regional Policy has examined the growing role of third sector organisations in regional policy and has analysed their changing relationships with newly-emerging regional tier bodies in England. This project considered the changing governance structures in Yorkshire & The Humber, Merseyside and the North West. The project has produced results concerned not only with the impact of the changing governance system on regional policy effectiveness but also on how evaluation methods must adapt to changing governance systems, particularly for community economic development initiatives.

AKF Portugal

Most recently, I have worked with both Paul White and Sam Scott (Sheffield University) and Lucinda Fonseca (University of Lisbon) on an Aga Khan Foundation funded study of social exclusion challenges in Portugal and on the design of a new programme for the Foundation in Lisbon. I also have worked with the Foundation on the design of a monitoring and evaluation plan for Foundation programmes.