First for regeneration
Early days and little impact for LSPs
Friday, 23 September 2005
BACKGROUND Project: Local strategic partnerships Period of evaluation 2002-2005
Evaluating organisation: Universities of Warwick, Liverpool John Moores and West of England, and the Office for Public Management
Evaluation commissioned by the Department for Transport and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
Aims and outline of project: Local strategic partnerships are multi-agency bodies that match local authority boundaries. They aim to bring together at the local level the public, private, community and voluntary sectors to deliver improved public services and better economic, physical and social regeneration.
Adam Fineberg writes: More help from central government is needed to help boost participation in local strategic partnerships (LSPs), according to this report, which also asserts that certain LSPs still have a "considerable distance to travel" in order to meet their key objectives.
Some LSPs have, in particular, found it difficult to fully engage with public sector bodies - although getting businesses involved has also been a problem.
Tackling these issues, the evaluation asserts, requires government action.
Ministers, civil servants and departments all have a role to play, it argues, in encouraging greater participation.
The report states: "The role of the LSP in facilitating the alignment of resources and strategic mainstreaming must be encouraged centrally.
Central government departments should consider ways to ensure the full participation of local public sector bodies in, and shared accountability for, the preparation and delivery of community and local neighbourhood renewal strategies."
Meanwhile, few LSPs are able to point to specific impacts in terms of improved services and tangible improvements in social, economic or environmental outcomes for local people.
The LSP initiative was intended to "add value" to local efforts addressing regeneration and economic development, but the evaluators note that in certain places, impacts have not been discernable and they caution against expecting too much of LSPs too soon.
A key point is that, overall, LSP strategies vary in quality. One could infer that LSPs do not operate and perform as originally intended because both LSP boards and their potential partners lack the incentives to foster engagement and joint working to successfully address local issues.
- Adam Fineberg is an independent policy and regeneration consultant and IDeA associate consultant. He devised the 'Growth Coalitions' project.
- Evaluation of Local Strategic Partnerships Interim Report is available via www.regen.net/doc
- Contact us. Do you know of an evaluation report with important lessons for other regeneration professionals? If so, contact Shafik Meghji on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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