A report is published today by the Department for Work and Pensions covering the European Social Fund Evaluation of Sustainable Development and Green Jobs. This was a mixed methods study, which featured a review of relevant documentation, findings from a programme of qualitative research, including interviews with stakeholders, a telephone survey of projects and case studies of a sample of projects.
Key findings from the research were:
The profile of environmental, sustainable development has been raised since the last ESF programme round, reflecting the increased emphasis placed upon it by the ESF Managing Authority (MA) and reinforced through guidance materials provided and other support available to Co-Financing Organisations (CFOs) and providers.
CFOs described challenges in monitoring sustainable development and green jobs because there are no specific quantified measures or good practice examples to measure progress against.
Comparatively few projects with a specific focus on sustainable development appear to have been proposed and received funding; and these tend to be clustered in a small number of regions - suggesting that opportunities exist for new projects to be supported elsewhere.
Most Government Offices, Co-Financing Organisations and projects were satisfied with how the requirements of the sustainable development theme were communicated. However, there was a variable understanding of the term ‘green skills’, while recognising that the concept of ‘green skills and jobs’ was a relatively new concept which was open to interpretation.
The influence of ESF sustainability requirements had impacted on project activities substantially. The majority considered that meeting the ESF requirements had increased awareness of the importance of minimising negative environmental impacts and had raised the profile of sustainability issues within their organisation.
Notes to Editors:
The DWP Research Report ‘European Social Fund Evaluation of Sustainable Development and Green Jobs’ will be published on 30 June 2011.
The research report aimed to provide evidence of the environmental aspect of the sustainable development cross-cutting theme, and the promotion of green jobs, within the European Social Fund (ESF). The study explored progress towards the achievement of the England Sustainable Development Mainstreaming Plan, and provided recommendations for future ESF programming. It also investigated the extent to which ESF projects were:
Complying with European Commission requirements regarding minimising any negative impact of their delivery on the environment - ‘horizontal mainstreaming’; and
Supporting the development of ‘green’ skills and jobs as a core focus of their activities - through ‘vertical mainstreaming’.
The research was carried out on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions by GHK Consulting and Research Ltd. The study started in August 2010 and the report was published on 30 June 2011
The authors are Richard Lloyd and Peter Dickinson.