The ESF Programme (European Social Fund) has funded a wide range of different initiatives underpinned by common objectives and presents a great opportunity to understand ‘what works’ in the delivery of employability and skills interventions (in terms of impact, effectiveness and efficiency).
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is keen to capitalise on this opportunity through:
• Counterfactual Impact Evaluation using secondary data to quantify the impacts that the Programme has achieved – both at an overall level and at the level of different types of provision and for different sub-groups of participants. DWP analysts will conduct this analysis in-house but are looking to secure consultancy support with the process and peer-review of the results as part of this contract.
• Qualitative case study work which will provide insight into ‘how’ and ‘why’ outcomes are achieved and also allow some exploration of outcomes that can be harder to pick up through quantitative analysis e.g. where they are ‘softer’ outcomes that represent steps on a journey towards employment or higher-level employment. This part of the project will take the theory-based approach outlined in the scoping study for the impact evaluation. As far as possible this qualitative work will also explore issues relating to the efficiency of delivery and therefore value for money. Further down the line this qualitative assessment is likely to be supplemented by a formal Cost Benefit Analysis that the DWP will conduct in house.
Sergio and I will support the DWP in-house team with the Counterfactual Impact Evaluation element, along with IFF research conducting the qualitative evaluation.