Evaluations are carried out to assess whether the ESF programme is achieving its objectives. Evaluations also provide evidence to improve the way ESF works.
ESF evaluation strategy
The ESF evaluation team has developed the evaluation strategies for the England and Gibraltar ESF programme 2007-2013 and 2011-2013. The evaluation strategies will examine the effectiveness of the programme and its contribution to policies to extend employment opportunities and develop a skilled workforce. Information about specific surveys and research projects will be placed on this page during the course of the programme.
- Updated evaluation strategy 2011-2013 England and Gibraltar ESF programme (222KB) (updated April 2013)
- Evaluation strategy for the 2007-2013 England and Gibraltar ESF programme (1.21MB)
- Skills Funding Agency Co-financing Plans for the ESF Programme 2007-2010 (April 2013)
- Evaluation of ESF Priority 1 and Priority 4: Extending Employment Opportunities to Adults and Young People in the second half of the programme (January 2013)
- Next Step Satisfaction and progression surveys: Annual Report September 2011 – March 2012 Fieldwork (March 2012) – published by Skills Funding Agency
- Evaluation of Innovative, Transnational and Mainstreaming (ITM) projects (November 2012)
- Evaluation of Troubled Families provision (November 2012)
- DWP European Social Fund 2007-10 Co-financing Plans Evaluation (May 2012)
- ESF Operational Programme 2007-2013 (October 2011)
- Engaging unemployed women (Sept 2011) – published by Skills Funding Agency
- ESF Cohort Study Wave 3 (September 2011)
- ESF Cohort Study Wave 2 (November 2010)
- ESF Cohort Study Wave 1 (July 2010)
- Early Impacts of the European Social Fund 2007-13 (May 2011)
- Evaluation of ESF Priority 1 and Priority 4: Extending Employment Opportunities to Adults and Young People (June 2011)
- ESF Evaluation of Sustainable Development and Green Jobs (June 2011)
- Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities (July 2010)
- In-Work Training support (July 2010)
- Publicity and Information study (March 2010)
- Regional ESF Frameworks Evaluation (August 2009)
- Ex-ante evaluation to assess the relevance and effectiveness of the 2007-2013 ESF programme (March 2007)
ESF cohort study 2012
This study will enable evaluators to look at the experience of participants in new ESF provision funded from 2011 including the additional group within the Work Programme (the Incapacity Benefit/Income Support group) and the support for families with multiple problems.
The ESF evaluation team commissioned IFF Research to conduct a cohort survey of participants who left the programme in summer 2012. This is a longitudinal survey of participants with two waves of interviewing. Wave 1 focuses on establishing the situation of the participant prior to involvement with ESF provision, the nature of support received (and satisfaction with this) and immediate destination on leaving provision. Wave 2 tracks activities engaged in over the 6 months after leaving provision. These interviews are being conducted over the telephone and are supplemented with face-to-face interviews where respondents do not feel that they are able to complete the survey over the phone. This will inform understanding of which disadvantaged groups are participating, customer experience, outcomes and how ESF is complementing and adding value to the Work Programme and the Jobcentre Plus offer. The survey will help understand whether participation and outcomes are meeting the policy intent and how ESF fits and adds value to national provision.
Key questions covered by the cohort study include:
- Who takes up ESF, what are their experiences?
- What are their soft outcomes (particularly for DWP provision helping people move towards employment)
- What are their longer term outcomes (including qualifications for the Skills Funding Agency)?
It will also help to inform how England should focus any future ESF spending in 2014-2020 most effectively. The results of the cohort study will inform indicators and targets not measured by management information, which are vital for assessing how the ESF programme is performing.
The 2012 Cohort Survey has been ambitious in trying to include all the CFOs. The 2009 Cohort Survey was based only on leavers from DWP and the SFA – and this has created some challenges. The 2011-13 provision being set up at different times, and the change in the way that SFA calculates its match, have led to a revision of the original timetable for fieldwork and splitting of contact details for leavers being sent to IFF (and therefore the fieldwork happening) in to three batches. These are described below, along with the planned dates for wave 1 fieldwork:
- Batch1: SFA ESF provision, NOMS ESF provision and most local CFOs (Fieldwork September to November 2012)
- Batch 2: SFA match provision (fieldwork January to March 2013)
- Batch 3: DWP and GLA provision (fieldwork July to September 2013).
Batch 1 fieldwork has now been completed and 3,587 interviews were achieved.
There will be a single report in April 2014.
ESF evaluation team
The ESF evaluation team is based in the Department for Work and Pensions and is located in Sheffield. It is independent from, but works very closely with, ESF Division. Team contacts are listed below.
Bruce Byrne – email@example.com
Ellenor Brooks – firstname.lastname@example.org
The evaluation team:
- Develop and deliver the evaluation strategy for the 2007-2013 ESF Operational Programme in England
- Analyse monitoring and survey data, draft reports and manage externally commissioned evaluation
- Feed emerging results from evaluation and monitoring into the work of the England Monitoring Committee to inform decision making.
The work is overseen by the evaluation sub-committee of the England ESF Programme Monitoring Committee.