Regeneration and Renewal

First for regeneration

Evaluation Lessons - No collaboration halts LSP progress

Friday, 03 February 2006

BACKGROUND

Project: National Evaluation of Local Strategic Partnerships Final Report

Period of evaluation: 2002 to 2005

Evaluating organisation: Universities of Warwick, Liverpool John Moores and the West of England, and the Office for Public Management

Evaluation commissioned by: Department for Transport and Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Aims and outline of project: Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) 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.

KEY LESSONS

Adam Fineberg writes: The evidence from the final evaluation report is that many public sector partners are now making a strong contribution within LSPs.

But this engagement needs to be translated into securing change within partner organisations according to LSP priorities. There is also still a need for more engagement with the private sector.

The report concludes that LSPs face a number of tensions in developing activity and action. These include the compatibility of national and local agendas, whether to be strategic or delivery-focused, and whether the LSP is able to engage both agencies and communities.

The research indicates that there are considerable numbers of LSPs that are not working closely with partners, sharing information and staff resources, or collaborating financially via pooled funding of activity. It concludes that these preconditions are necessary for LSPs to make sustained progress towards improving services and governance and delivering neighbourhood renewal. The authors state that, for many LSPs, significant results may be some way off.

Initially, the Government envisaged that local governance results would include: the development of collective visions; widening the range of interests involved in local decision-making; creating a stronger local voice; improving the perceived legitimacy of local governance; and exercising more effective influence locally and nationally. However, the report states that only a very limited number of LSPs consider that they have yet made major progress on this coordinated strategy - the most significant of fronts.

From the evidence of this final report, it seems LSPs are not operating as originally intended. They lack the incentives to induce partner engagement, commitment 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.

- National Evaluation of Local Strategic Partnerships - Formative Evaluation and Action Research Programme 2002-2005: Final 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 Adam Branson on adam.branson@haynet.com.

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