Regeneration Capital Grant Fund: evaluation

Evaluation which assessed whether and how the fund achieved its aims as well as considering community involvement, social outcomes and success factors.

1. Introduction

1.1 About this report

The Scottish Government commissioned research as part of an evaluation of the outcomes and success factors of the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF).

The RCGF, delivered in partnership with COSLA, supports locally developed regeneration projects that involve local communities, helping to support and create jobs and build sustainable communities.

This report focusses on findings from the commissioned research, which was conducted by Research Scotland. The purpose of the research was to assess:

  • community involvement
  • social outcomes
  • factors affecting successful delivery and monitoring of projects

The report also includes discussion of physical and economic outcomes, which were assessed separately by Scottish Government[7].

1.2 Evaluation aims

The evaluation aims were to:

  • assess whether and how RCGF has achieved its aims to date
  • assess community involvement in RCGF projects
  • assess social outcomes of RCGF projects
  • investigate factors affecting successful delivery and monitoring of projects
  • generate learning about effective and successful monitoring and evaluation arrangement
  • generate learning to help ensure future funding rounds deliver as much value as possible, achieve desired outcomes and avoid undesired outcomes

1.3 Research questions

There were four core research questions, explored through this research:

  • what have projects achieved in terms of social outcomes and community involvement (in both the project and the asset)?
  • what difference has RCGF made to projects?
  • what are the key factors affecting successful delivery of projects?
  • what are the key factors affecting the quality of project monitoring and evaluation?

1.4 Methodology

The research focused on 14 projects, to allow in-depth exploration of social outcomes, success factors and lessons learned. The broad approach is outline below. More detail on study limitations and support from the Research Advisory Group is provided in Appendix 2.

1.4.1 Desktop review

The first stage of the desktop review covered RCGF background information and its policy context. Specifically, this included reviewing the context for the fund; the templates for application, monitoring and completion forms; guidance provided to applicants; and the number and profile of funded projects. The main aim of this review was to set the context for the research and help inform the development of the research tools.

The next stage of the desktop review was an in-depth review of relevant documentation relating to the 14 selected focus projects. Specifically, this included reviewing application forms, monitoring forms, completion forms and any related supporting documentation. This in-depth review helped to inform fieldwork for each project, as well as allowing existing evidence on social outcomes, success factors and lessons learned to be built into the research.

1.4.2 Selecting 14 focus projects

A sample of 14 RCGF projects was identified for in-depth fieldwork to be undertaken with project leads, partners and communities. Projects were selected from a short list agreed between Scottish Government and COSLA, with input from the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE). The projects were selected from the 95 projects funded through the first four rounds of the fund[8], to ensure a mix of:

  • geography – including coverage across Scotland, in both urban and rural areas
  • award level – taking account of the size of award, and the proportion of the project costs made up by RCGF funding
  • stage – taking account of when the award was made, and whether the project was ongoing, completed or stalled
  • project focus – including projects focused on culture, equality, heritage, community space, civic space, training, employment, office space and tourism
  • project partnerships – including different arrangements and involvement of private, public and third sector organisations

The projects participated in the study anonymously, and a full list of projects taking part is not provided. However, the broad profile of projects is summarised below.

Table 1.1: Profile of 14 focus projects

Geography Award Level and % of project costs Project theme
City Up to £0.5 m 100% Cultural, equality and community space
City £1 - £1.5 m 37% Community spaces and enterprise
City £1 - £1.5m 12% Community space
City £1 -£1.5m 74% Public and civic space
Large town £0.5m -£1m 26% Sports and community space
Large town £0.5m - £1m 63% Community, business, play, sport
Large town Up to £0.5m 20% Training, community space, health and equality
Large town £1.5 - £2m 40% Office space and heritage
Town £1 - £1.5m 26% Cultural and commercial
Town £0.5m - £1m 29% Civic, heritage, office space
Small town Up to £0.5m 66% Creative and business
Rural £0.5m - £1m 27% Community space
Rural Up to £0.5m 13% Community space, business and tourism
Rural £0.5m - £1m 10% Cultural and community space

Most of the projects (11) had completed the RCGF funded element of their project (which could be up to the entire cost of delivering the project). Two were ongoing, and one had been withdrawn. Most projects (12) were led by local authorities, and two were led by Urban Regeneration Companies.

1.1.1 1.4.3 Fieldwork

The fieldwork in each project varied, depending on the nature of the project. In each case, the research involved an in-depth interview with:

  • the individual who had managed the RCGF funding
  • the individual who had managed the project
  • partners involved in managing and delivering the project

Where possible, the research also involved face to face fieldwork with members of the community who had been involved with the development of the project, and/ or service users following completion of the project. This occurred in a range of ways including individual and group discussions, with people who had been involved in planning, designing or using the project.

In total the fieldwork involved 141 research participants.

Figure 1.1: Fieldwork interviews

Figure 1.1: Fieldwork interviews

Discussion was undertaken face to face (98), over the phone (39) and by email (4).

The fieldwork was carefully planned to ensure all participants gave clear informed consent to take part in the interview. The participant information sheets, consent forms and discussion guides used are all included at Appendix 2.

1.4.4 Analysis and reporting

Research Scotland undertook a robust analysis of all of the data gathered using a process of 'manual thematic coding', which is an effective approach to interpreting rich, complex data. As part of this process, verbatim quotes and examples were identified to help demonstrate key points. Quotes are used to express the balance of opinion – and are not highly unusual or outlying in terms of the views expressed.

Although the report is qualitative, throughout this report a simple broad scale is used to describe the rough proportion of participants giving a certain viewpoint:

  • all – everyone made this point
  • most – more than half
  • some – less than half but more than three
  • a few – two or three participants
  • one/ an individual – just one person

Where bullets are used to summarise responses, points are listed in order of frequency mentioned.

It is important to note that the research involved interviews with a sample of partners and community members involved in the projects. Not everyone involved in every project was interviewed.

1.5 Study limitations

The research used qualitative methods to gather an in-depth understanding of the experiences and outcomes of 14 focus projects which had received an offer of grant from the RCGF. However, when reading the report it is important to be aware:

  • the findings from the 14 focus projects are not necessarily generalisable to all RCGF projects
  • research participants were recruited through the project lead – which has the potential to allow project leads to act as 'gatekeepers'
  • research participants had one-off contact with researchers and may not have felt comfortable talking about all aspects of their experience with someone they had only recently met

The limitations of the research are explored in more detail in Appendix 2.



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