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European Social Fund impact evaluation study published

| Social Policy

Ecorys’ report on a pan-European social change fund has been published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The report presents advice on how to measure the impact of the European Social Fund (ESF) in England. 

The DWP-commissioned study was undertaken by Ecorys between July 2017 and February 2018. It is intended to help the UK Government to fulfil the European Commission’s requirements for monitoring and evaluation in respect of the ESF. Specifically, the need to do an impact evaluation of the ESF’s funding work.

Researchers at Ecorys recommend a mixed-method evaluation of ESF impacts. A combination of counterfactual impact evaluation, statistical techniques such as propensity score matching and difference-in-differences calculation, plus theory-driven impact evaluation is suggested. This should enable the government to assess all of the ESF’s potential impacts as well as asking questions relating to the programme’s effectiveness in generating these impacts. The report explains how this approach has the greatest chance of providing robust evidence in line with the requirements for an ESF impact evaluation set out by the European Commission (EC), in addition to providing evidence to inform any future related interventions.

“We are delighted to have been asked to present this work to the Department for Work and Pensions,” Ian Atkinson said. “Ecorys has a solid track record of work looking at ESF programmes and projects and it has been great to be able to use our experience and provide recommendations at this high level.”

The full report can be read here