Tag Archive: evaluation

Jun 20 2017

Low Carbon Innovation Fund evaluation

We undertook a three stage evaluation of the Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF), commissioned by the University of East Anglia (UEA). LCIF is a regional venture capital fund in the East of England funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the 2007-2014 programme. It has fully invested its funds of £20m+, intended for early stage equity investments in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which are developing new and innovative products, services or processes in a low carbon, environmentally sensitive manner.

Our final report is available, in summary (download) or in full on request to LCIF . We produced a further impact report in April 2017, on performance to the end of December 2016,

The Fund is operated by UEA as part of the Adapt Low Carbon Group and managed by City firm, Turquoise International.

The Initial Review concentrated on the management of the Fund from operational, strategic and financial perspectives, with the subsequent stages concerned progressively more with outcomes of the Fund: actual and likely impacts on company performance and jobs, and contributions to the low carbon objectives of ERDF in the region. Our recommendations have informed the delivery and marketing of the Fund, which is proving highly successful in attracting co-investment and fostering innovation.

We carried out the evaluation in conjunction with Futureneering Ltd, Cambridge-based consultants who bring complementary expertise in low carbon technologies.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1313

Jun 20 2016

Venture capital for low carbon businesses

We prepared the first phase of an ex ante evaluation of the Low Carbon Innovation Fund England (LCIF England) on behalf of the Adapt Low Carbon Group at the University of East Anglia. This was proposed as an early stage venture capital fund to back growth businesses which are developing innovative products or processes in a low carbon, environmentally sensitive manner. It was progressed in collaboration with a number of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and intended to secure funding through European Union funding for 2014-20.

The concept of LCIF England was based on that of the successful Low Carbon Innovation Fund established under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme for the East of England 2007-2014. This fund has matched £20.5m ERDF with over £50m private sector co-investment, assisting 72 companies to access risk capital.

Our research concentrated on a market assessment, of the demand and supply of risk capital for innovative businesses, set in the strategic and policy context. We made full use of  relevant small business and equity capital research and data sources, including the very valuable Beauhurst database of deal activity which allows analysis at the level of Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Plans for LCIF England have had to be changed dramatically in the light of changes in ERDF policy and delivery arrangements, with procurement decisions in the hands of individual LEPs. Our research, however, provides a platform for a number of LEPs in taking their own, joint funds forward.

Ex Ante Evaluation
For any new fund, or ‘Financial Instrument’ in EU terms, there is a requirement to prepare an ‘ex ante evaluation’. This work is designed to ensure the development of robust business case for any fund, while meeting government and EU requirements. Objectives include:

  • substantiating the case for public funding, based on evidence of market failure in addressing funding gaps for growth businesses and added value a fund can bring
  • ensuring that lessons are learnt from the experience of relevant early stage VC funds such as LCIF
  • informing how the Fund will work: its investment strategy, its governance and management, and how it will work in participating LEP areas

We carried out the ex ante evaluation in conjunction with Futureneering Ltd of Cambridge. Together, we bring complementary expertise in economic development, low carbon technologies, risk capital and evaluation.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1319

Dec 25 2013

What Works Centres – Guardian Live

In March 2013 the Guardian’s Public Sector Network ran a live chat on plans for What Works Centres, which are being promoted by the government to improve evidence for decision-making in a number of policy fields, including Local Economic Growth. thumbnail_What_Works_publication Derrick Johnstone was one of the panel members, along with Sam Markey from the Cabinet Office, Ruth Puttick from Nesta (author of ‘A NICE for Social Policy’), Jonathan Eastwood from Big Lottery Fund (co-funders of the new centre on Ageing Well), Julie Temperley from the Innovation Unit, and Phil Sooben from the ESRC (co-funders with BIS and CLG of the Local Economic Growth centre).

You can find out more about the Centres here and follow the Guardian discussion here.  Some key points were pulled out by the Guardian in a round up.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1155

Feb 20 2012

Worklessness Co-Design

DWP have worked with local authorities, Jobcentre Plus and local partners in five areas to develop Co-Design Pilots, testing new solutions in tackling worklessness – in a world where local authorities are had to rethink their role, given much reduced resources and the advent of the Work Programme and Community Budgets. The pilots were in Birmingham, Bradford, Lewisham, South Tyneside and Swindon. New ways of working variously related to, eg, working with families; Jobcentre Plus outreach; key workers; personal budgets; social enterprise for employability; and employer engagement; and a youth employment campaign. On behalf of Local Government Improvement and Development – since absorbed within the Local Government Association, we supported the pilots and wider dissemination. We set out to:
  • bring together knowledge and learning from the pilots and parallel developments in other parts of the country
  • signpost relevant tools, research and evidence, eg, on customer insight, cost-benefit, and service design and innovation
  • highlighting policy developments which are shaping the future terrain
Resources from this work are available for download:
  • Customer insight and worklessness: recent contributions to knowledge, evidence and techniques relating to the needs and experiences of customers of worklessness services.
  • Cost benefit and value for money resources: materials designed to assist partners in assessing financial costs and benefits in planning and commissioning, business case preparation, evaluation, and so on. It goes beyond ‘worklessness’ in including relevant content on children and young people, health and crime reduction which matter when looking at wider social returns and potential savings to the public purse.
  • Evaluation checklist for worklessness co-design: a set of questions, developed for the  pilots to help them build in evaluation from the outset (content linked to the appendix in DWP’s interim report which provides a ‘light touch’ cost-benefit framework
  • Worklessness co-design pilots: what’s been tried elsewhere?: a briefing on local ‘pilots’ in other parts of the country that have used structured approaches to innovation. These include initiatives stemming from Total Place and programmes such as Family Intervention projects, Drug System Change and Child Poverty Pathfinders which explore similar themes and challenges.
  • Tools for worklessness co-design: signposts to tools supporting collaborative planning and commissioning, customer insight and behaviour change, and service redesign and innovation.
The final DWP Co-design report drew out achievements, lessons and next steps. It also included case studies on each of the pilots, a checklist for local authorities on working with JCP and Work Programme contractors, and an outline of what JCP bring to the partnership table.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=272

Aug 11 2011

Brokering business connections

Evaluation of the Business Broker Programme – final report (Brokering Business Connections) for Business in the Community (BitC) and the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) on the national pilot programme, testing out the role of Business Brokers supporting business involvement in Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) and neighbourhood renewal.

The summary report is available for download from Business in the Community. Full report here ( pdf 700KB)

The evaluation has informed the development of Business Connectors, the current BitC programme described as a “powerful network of secondments recruited from business … to tackle social issues in local neighbourhood areas, and in so doing, create a powerful new development experience for talented business people”. This has been seen as a contribution to the Government’s agenda for the Big Society, with a major expansion funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=156

Dec 21 2010

Working Neighbourhoods Fund Project Study

Derrick Johnstone was commissioned as a Local Improvement Advisor (LIA) to help Communities and Local Government (CLG) gather a picture of the use and impact of the Working Neighbourhoods Fund (WNF) as of March 2010, updating the findings of the WNF Evaluation Scoping Report, which reviewed progress in implementing the programme a year earlier. Derrick advised on the approach to gathering the data and drew together a report based on information collected by a team of LIAs. The report,  published by the Department of Communities and Local Government, WNF Project Study, highlighted a range of good and innovative practices and available evidence of impact.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=267

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