Agenda item

Boost 2016-2018 External Evaluation Report


Lauren Newby, Associate Director, Hatch Regeneris, presented a Powerpoint presentation on the summative evaluation assessment of Boost 2 – Lancashire's Business Growth Hub, for the period 2016-2018. 


The Board was informed that an interim and final (summative) assessment is generally included as a funding condition in all ERDF projects, but also provided an opportunity to reflect on those aspects of the project which had worked well and those that could be improved.


The Board noted that the evaluation had drawn on a variety of relevant information including case studies of Growth Hubs elsewhere, and was underpinned by five key requirements, as set out in national programme guidance:


1) Relevance and consistency

2) Progress against contractual targets

3) Experience of delivering and managing the project

4) Economic impact attributable to the project

5) Cost effectiveness and value for money.


The key findings of the evaluation were summarised together with the strengths and ongoing challenges faced by the Boost project. It was noted that many of the issues identified had already been addressed through the commissioning of Boost 3, but it was proposed to continue to monitor the commitments to improvement and remediation in the future. Overall, the outcome of the evaluation of Boost 2 showed a strong performance against target.


Andrew Leeming, Boost Programme Manager, responded to questions raised by the Board in relation to one of the output targets (P13). He explained that Guidance which emerged from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government late in the programme had a negative impact on the output targets which Boost had otherwise been on track to exceed. This occurred because of the changing interpretation of ERDF guidance, where previously it was advised that a programme could claim both a P13 (number of enterprises receiving IDB support) and a C1 (number of business assists). This decision late in the programme meant that a substantial number of P13 outputs had to be removed and the Boost programme was unable to mitigate against this within the short time period remaining in the programme. The Board was pleased to hear that no-one had lost out financially as a result.


Andrew also responded to a number of questions in relation to the support currently available to businesses and the ongoing issue of how to encourage partners to work better together, smartly. It was hoped that Freshfield PR who were co-ordinating the marketing and promotional activity for Boost, may be able to help in this respect.


The Board joined with the Chair in congratulating Andrew, Boost Programme Manager, who, according to the findings of the evaluation report, was 'a visible and personable “ambassador” whose commitment was a testament to the success of Boost'.


The Chair also thanked partners, colleagues, officers and everyone involved in delivering Boost 2. He commented that the knowledge and experience gained and lessons learnt in delivering Boost 1 and 2, would prove useful when developing the Local Industrial Strategy in Lancashire, the subject of the next item on the agenda.


Resolved: That:


i)  The summative evaluation assessment attached at Appendix A to the report be noted.

ii)  The remedial actions identified to address the areas of concern highlighted in the report, be noted.

iii)  The Board continue to monitor the commitments to improvement and remediation moving forward in respect of the ongoing challenges faced by the Boost project.

Supporting documents: