Recognition of the Department of Land Economy's expertise in the evaluation of urban and regional policy was underpinned with the decision by the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (formerly the Department of the Environment) to award its major research project for the evaluation of the HM Government's regeneration activities funded under the Single Regeneration Budget to the Department of land Economy. The investigation is being conducted over an eight year period (1996-2003) and is led and directed by Dr Peter Tyler of the Department.
The Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) was introduced in April 1994. It combined twenty previously separate programmes designed to bring about economic, physical and social regeneration in local areas and its main purpose was to act as a catalyst for regeneration in the sense that it would work to attract other resources from the private, public and voluntary sectors in order to bring about improvements in local areas to the quality of life of local people. It was designed to do this by addressing local need, stimulating wealth creation and enhancing the local competitiveness of the area as a place in which business wished to invest and people wanted to live.
The activities of SRB were intended to make a real and lasting impact partly through the projects which were financed as part of the local regeneration package but also, and perhaps more importantly, through the encouragement of local partnerships. The local partnership approach was seen to be the vehicle by which local players would come together to formulate a joint approach to meeting local needs and priorities.
The research programme has a number of specific objectives:
- To design a methodology with which to evaluate the process by which economic, physical and social regeneration is achieved through the activities of the Single Regeneration Budget and this means understanding how local partnerships of key players and agencies are able to initiate and maintain regeneration activities.
- To undertake an evaluation of partnership programmes from the first two rounds of SRB to establish the impact and cost effectiveness of their regeneration packages - 20 case study schemes were selected. The evaluation process was to provide a coherent baseline, undertake an interim evaluation of the process of promoting and funding regeneration embracing the design, implementation and effectiveness of this process and also conduct a final evaluation of each case study.
- To undertake an analysis of those bids and thus partnerships who sought funding under the first two rounds of SRB but were not successful - 10 case study schemes were selected. This part of the work sought what factors were responsible for bid failure so that the capacity of local institutions could be strengthened and in this way ensure their place in bringing about regeneration in the future.
Social survey of households
As part of the research described under objective 2 the work sought to provide further insight into the nature of the economic and social aspects of local area problems. To emphasise the powerful interactions which exist between different facets of the problem a large survey of households in seven of the case study areas was undertaken. The survey sought to provide a clear baseline for the research so that it was possible
- to indicate the extent to which the degree of social deprivation and labour market distress was disproportionately greater in the areas concerned and
- as a benchmark from which to assess change over the years as the SRB initiative unfolded in the area concerned. Bearing in mind the substantial methodology difficulties that exist in identifying cause and effect and allowing for other factors that influence the pace of change in local areas.
The research programme has delivered a number of research outputs. All publications are listed below, those highlighted are available as free downloads in pdf file format.
- The Single Regeneration Budget: Final Evaluation - Full Report
- The Nature of Local Area Social Exclusion in England and the Role of the Labour Market. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 16 (1), 2000.
- The Distribution of the SRB Challenge Fund Expenditure in Relation to Local-area Need in England. Urban Studies, 36 , No. 12, 1999.
- Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, A Partnership for Regeneration - an interim evaluation, 1998. Published by DETR (now DTLR).
Further copies of papers in the Discussion Paper Series are available from the Department of Land Economy Publications Secretary at a price of £7.50 each. Cheques should be made payable to 'The University of Cambridge' and sent to:
The Publications Secretary
Department of Land Economy
University of Cambridge
19 Silver Street
Cambridge CB3 9EP
A summary of the DTLR publications are available from the DTLR website with details of how to obtain copies.