Learning what ‘’works’’ from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Frontier Economics and BMG Research were commissioned to support the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in delivering its UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) evaluation strategy by focusing on one of its major elements: the UKSPF intervention-level evaluation.

The UKSPF was launched by the UK Government in April 2022 and is a central pillar of the government’s Levelling Up agenda.

Providing £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025, UKSPF funding is allocated straight to local areas to invest in three priorities: People & Skills; Business Support; and Communities & Place with a particular focus on:

  • Pride in place: local perspectives about high streets and regeneration; culture, heritage and sport; community and society; and safety and security; and
  • Life chances: education and skills; local economic and social environment; health and wellbeing; childhood and family; and crime and anti-social behaviour outcomes.

The scale of funding and diversity of interventions being delivered create an unrivalled opportunity to build the evidence base on what works for delivering local pride, life chances and local growth through robust evaluation.

The scope of this evaluation includes:

  • Process evaluation: which will explore how learning can be generated about the design and planning; implementation and management; and monitoring and evaluation of sampled interventions;
  • Impact evaluation: which will explore the extent to which changes in key outcomes of interest have been enabled by the interventions, for whom and under what conditions; and
  • Value for money evaluation: which will explore the extent to which the interventions have made best use of public resources in terms of meeting local strategic objectives and delivering local benefits that exceed costs.

This Feasibility Report follows an in-depth scoping exercise to determine how the UKSPF interventions can be evaluated in line with the Magenta Book (HMT, 2020). The aim of the feasibility work was to design a proportionate evaluation that would maximise learning. The four aims of this report are:

  • First, to identify appropriate study groups on which to focus the intervention-level evaluation;
  • Second, to describe how the process evaluation can be undertaken across the study groups. This seeks to generate evidence on the design, planning, implementation and monitoring of the intervention study groups;
  • Third, to describe the impact evaluation approaches, including the data to be collected and the analytical methods to be applied over the two timeframes of 2023 to 2025 and longer term evaluation, using 2023 to 2028 as an illustration; and
  • Finally, to provide an approach for assessing the value for money of the interventions. This will seek to assess the extent to which the interventions have, or are likely to have in the future, delivered benefits that exceed the costs.

Click here to read the full Feasibility Report.