Project Evaluation of Community Wealth Building Projects in Hertfordshire

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract

The purpose of this report is to evaluate the Community Wealth Building projects, funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund, across the 10 local authorities in Hertfordshire. It is evaluated on the basis of the Secretary of State’s Evaluation Guidance. The evaluation is then used to develop and present actions, opportunities, and recommendations in order to take Community Wealth Building work further forward.

The key findings from the evaluation are two-fold. Firstly, focusing on the individual initiatives funded via the Community Renewal Fund across the five programme themes of employment, procurement, grants scheme, planning and feasibility, all of them were successfully implemented and delivered.

With all of them, to varying degrees, overachieving in terms of the outcomes and outputs predicted prior to delivery. Secondly, adopting a more long-term perspective, there is only some evidence of the processes and infrastructure being developed to support Community Wealth Building as regular and widespread activities across the county. In short, although each individual initiative taken in isolation was a clear success, there is still some distance to go before some of the greater benefits from Community Wealth Building can be achieved. However, this is not to say that these won’t be achieved, evidence and experiences from other local authorities across the UK highlight that it is a long and challenging journey that does require continued commitment over extended periods, and across the 10 local authorities commendable progress has been made to date. The almost universal acceptance of the importance of social value as a guiding principle in decision making is a crucial step forward, and a continued acceptance combined with an ongoing commitment to the principles of Community Wealth Building should deliver much greater benefits in the future.

On the basis of the evaluation, we have developed a series of detailed and specific recommendations within the report. However, in terms of widening the scope of Community Wealth Building across the county and facilitating the successful delivery of numerous social value initiatives, the following are the key recommendations.

• Undertake skills audits through a social value and community need lens.
• Identify skills gaps within Hertfordshire public sector procurement spends.
• Develop a county-wide portal for monitoring and evidencing social value.
• Capacity and network building, including engagement of the most important, known, stakeholders, and important representatives of each relevant council. There are several Participatory Action Research Methods that can be deployed to this end.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCommunity Wealth Building Together Programme
Commissioning bodyHertfordshire County Council
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2023

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