RES Assessment Final Report by liaoqinmei

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									        An Extended Annual
Assessment of the North West
                   RES 2006
                  A Final Report
                 23 September 2010
                                                       An Extended Annual Assessment of the North West RES 2006
                                                                                                   A Final Report


Contents


Executive Summary .................................................................................................................. i
1: Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 1

2: Positioning RES 2006 .......................................................................................................... 4

3: Developing and designing RES 2006................................................................................. 8
4: Delivering RES 2006 .......................................................................................................... 15

5: Regional change and progress ........................................................................................ 27

6: RES 2006 outcomes and contribution ............................................................................. 33
7: Learning the Lessons........................................................................................................ 38




Contact:              Joe Duggett                               Tel:     0161 475 2109           email:     jduggett@sqw.co.uk



Approved by:          Simon Pringle                             Date:       23 September 2010
                      Managing Director




                                                                                                                     www.sqw.co.uk
                                          An Extended Annual Assessment of the North West RES 2006
                                                                                      A Final Report


     Executive Summary

     Background and purpose
1.   SQW Ltd was commissioned by the North West Development Agency (NWDA) in March
     2010 to complete an independent Extended Annual Assessment of the North West Regional
     Economic Strategy (RES) 2006. This Executive Summary sets out the key findings from the
     Assessment, which was completed in August 2010.
2.   The purpose of the Assessment was two-fold:
     •       to assess regional performance in delivering against the intent of RES 2006 over the
             RES’s delivery period (2006-2010)

     •       to identify the lessons learned from RES 2006 to inform future strategy in, and
             across, the North West.

3.   The Assessment was not an economic impact evaluation of RES 2006 and its Actions.
     Rather, it was designed to be an accessible and rounded consideration of RES 2006, and its
     Themes: Business, Skills and Education, People and Jobs, Infrastructure and Quality of Life.
4.   The Assessment involved extensive consultation with partners across the North West
     providing strategic and/or operational perspectives on RES 2006, a review of documents and
     monitoring data, and detailed analysis of socio-economic trends. This quantitative and
     qualitative approach together formed the evidence on which the Assessment, and its lessons,
     are based.

     Setting the scene
5.   RES 2006 did not start with a blank canvas. As the third regional economic strategy for the
     North West, it was shaped extensively by the vision, partnership structures/relationships, and
     investment decisions developed through its 2000 and 2003 precursors. Further, the sustained
     economic challenges for the North West provided the contextual backdrop to the development
     of the new strategy. Long-term, the North West had lost ground to England, with its residents
     becoming less wealthy – relative to the national average – over the preceding decade and a
     half, and workforce productivity 85% of the England level in 2004.
6.   As such, RES 2006 was rooted in the genealogy of its precursors and the region’s economic
     context. But RES 2006 sought to move on and develop regional partnership working, the
     evidence bases, and economic priorities that it inherited.

     Developing and designing RES 2006
7.   The development of RES 2006 was a notable success story for the region, and the NWDA in
     particular who led the process, demonstrating the increased maturity and capacity of partners
     across the North West with regard to regional economic development priorities.
8.   In headline terms, the Assessment found that:




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      •      through an open consultation process well regarded by partners, the collation of a
             robust evidence base, and, for the first time in a North West RES, the use of
             econometric forecasts, RES 2006 delivered a strategy with credibility and resonance
             for partners
      •      RES 2006 set out a coherent regional vision and overall strategic intent, articulating
             more fully the scale, scope, and complexity of the socio-economic issues facing the
             region

      •      RES 2006 was essentially ‘focused on the right things’, but, crucially, it was
             ‘constructively permissive’ in its design, generally establishing areas for action not
             prescriptive projects. This was important to enable partners to align activity to the
             RES in its delivery phase
      •      RES 2006 gave more attention than before to place-based issues, and started to move
             the region towards thinking about functional economic geographies.
9.    These were important upsides for RES 2006. But, looking back, elements of the development
      and design of RES 2006 provide important learning lessons. Four are noteworthy:
      •      the desire to consult widely and consensually made it difficult for partners to come
             down on the hard issues that really mattered most, as such, RES 2006 was probably
             too broadly cast in its intent. The need for ‘braver’ prioritisation in the future is a
             clear message to emerge from the Assessment
      •      the Thematic approach of RES 2006 provided a sound coverage of issues facing the
             region, but this approach undermined to some extent the linkages present across
             policy domains. A more integrated approach across Themes is required going
             forward
      •      because the thinking of RES 2006 on functional economies was at a formative stage,
             it did not appreciate fully how the ‘same’ issues present differently in different
             circumstances across places. The need for a more nuanced approach to spatial issues,
             based on functional economic areas, is an important lesson for the future
      •      although a sound ‘regional strategy’, more could have been done to deliver a genuine
             ‘Strategy for the North West’ in RES 2006. A clearly defined role for those
             particular issues/assets that differentiate the North West and its places should be a
             hallmark of future strategy efforts.

      Delivering RES 2006
10.   RES 2006 provided a valuable and consistent framework for economic development activity
      across the North West. Key findings included:
      •      RES 2006 remained fit-for-purpose over 2006-2010 as a statement of overall intent,
             with a resilience to changing circumstances owing to its breadth and lack of
             prescription
      •      RES 2006 enabled partners to identify progressively better the ‘strategic fit’ of their
             activities to regional priorities, starting to move the region towards a ‘what my
             activity should do for RES 2006’ perspective


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      •        RES 2006 helped to embed sub-regional working through the integration of sub-
               regional strategies/action plans to its intent
      •        delivery against RES Transformational Actions was strong; the evidence suggests
               that progress was made against all 45, with important potential long-term economic
               benefit for the region.
11.   RES 2006 also delivered additionality, as evidenced through Theme-based research
      completed for the Assessment. RES 2006 accelerated the development and improved the
      quality of projects delivered over 2006-10, and helped to secure funding for projects
      developed by partners.
12.   More qualitatively, RES 2006 played a significant role in developing partnerships and
      improving co-ordination across the region. In a number of cases, the partnerships developed
      through RES 2006 enabled a more co-ordinated response to the recession than might have
      otherwise been the case.
13.   Against these positive outcomes, the Assessment suggests that the role of RES 2006 was
      principally as a strategic ‘check-point’ for aligning funding and delivery, rather than as a
      dynamic factor in partner project development and strategic planning. This meant that the
      opportunity for RES 2006 to play a substantial ‘commissioning’ role was not substantively
      realised.

      The differential influence of RES 2006
14.   The influence of RES 2006 varied by different constituencies of interest as shown in Figure 1.
      Figure 1: The spectrum of RES 2006’s influence on organisation types




                                               Regional public       Public-sector       Local
                             Sub-Regional      sector delivery          focused       Authorities,      Central    Private
                 NWDA        Partnerships,    agencies i.e. JCP,     representative  Private sector   Government   sector
                             City Regions,       Area-based        groups i.e. CPRE, representative
                                 4NW            regeneration        AoC, Voluntary groups i.e. IoD,
                                             agencies i.e. URCs          sector           EEF




          Easy to detect                       Influence of RES 2006                                     More difficult to detect
      Source: SQW

15.   The differential influence is broadly as may be expected. That said, how Local Authorities
      and the private sector (and its representatives) can be influenced more fully in future strategy
      efforts is an important consideration going forward.

16.   There was also a temporal dimension to the influence of RES 2006. Strongest in 2006, the
      RES’ influence reduced over time, even for those agencies most closely associated with it.



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      Some loss of influence was to be expected, as the novelty of the strategy wore off, however,
      this was accentuated because RES 2006 was arguably not as flexible as it might have been to
      adapt to changing contexts. Whilst conferring certainty, this inflexibility meant that when
      crises did occur, such as the recession, the regional response was led not through the
      economic strategy, but the NWDA’s Annual Corporate Plan.
17.   The Assessment also suggests that there was some uncertainty in the region over where
      overall accountability for the performance of RES 2006 ultimately lay. The NWDA saw RES
      2006 as the ‘region’s strategy’, whilst wider communities of interest saw it as the NWDA’s
      strategy. Clarity on accountability, to ensure consistent influence and commitment, will be
      important for future strategy efforts.

      Regional change
18.   Significant absolute economic progress was made by the North West over the RES 2006
      period. Regional GVA growth in 2008 was (marginally) higher than the England level for the
      first time in well over a decade, and skills levels improved markedly.
19.   However, the GVA gap to England grew over RES 2006’s lifetime. Further, although there is
      some uncertainty at this stage owing to time-lags in data, the evidence suggests that the region
      will not meet in full the eight headline targets established for RES 2006, as set out in Table 1.
      Table 1: Performance against headline RES 2006 targets
      Target                          Measure                        2006 baseline       2010 update     Target hit at
                                                                       (2004 data)        (2008 data)    2010 update

      Achieve GVA growth above                                          NW: 4.7%           NW: 3.6%
                                      Per annum GVA growth                                                        Yes
      the England average                                               Eng: 5.5%          Eng: 3.5%

      Create 150,000 net new jobs     Number of jobs in the region          3.02m              2.99m               No

      Raise the firm formation rate   Number of formations                 28,850              27,650              No

      Reduce the number of people                                         724,600             621,500
                                      Working age population with
      with No Qualifications by                                                                                   Yes
                                      No Qualifications
      80,000

      Increase the number of
                                      Number of people with                                                No (strong
      people with Graduate                                                840,800             953,100
                                      Graduate Qualifications                                               progress)
      Qualifications by 120,000

      Increase the number of
      people in the workforce by                                         NW: 72.8           NW: 70.3
                                      Employment rate                                                              No
      83,000 to meet the England                                         Eng: 74.7          Eng: 73.0
      employment rate

      Reduce the number of areas
                                      Number of areas in the worst
      in the worst 5% deprived,                                                579    569 (2006 data)             Yes
                                      5% deprived, nationally
      nationally

      Reduce CO2 emissions per £      CO2 emissions per £000            0.57 (2005
                                                                                      0.52 (2007 data)            Yes
      of GVA                          GVA                                     data)


20.   From a headline perspective, therefore, RES 2006 did not deliver fully against its quantitative
      intent. However, this perspective does not account for quite how pervasive and wide-
      reaching the effects of the recession were on the region, nor how the targets related to
      structural issues requiring many years of solid concerted action.
21.   An important lesson is that a more flexible approach to the RES’ targets would have been
      helpful. Alternative scenarios (RES 2006 scenarios were largely to growth trends) or a



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      revision of targets at mid-point would have enabled the headline purpose of RES 2006, in
      quantitative terms, to remain realistic and deliverable.

      The Strategic Added Value of RES 2006
22.   RES 2006 had potential to deliver one or more of five types of Strategic Added Value (SAV),
      as set out in Table 2.
      Table 2: Categories of Strategic Added Value
      Strategic Leadership    Articulating and communicating regional development needs, opportunities and solutions
      and Catalyst            to partners/stakeholders in the region and elsewhere

      Strategic Influence     Defining the distinctive roles of partners, and facilitating partners and stakeholders to
                              commit to shared strategic objectives and activities

      Leverage                Mobilising partners/stakeholder to commit resources to economic development activity

      Synergy                 Improved information exchange/knowledge transfer and coordination and/or integration
                              of the design and delivery of interventions

      Engagement              Engagement of stakeholders in the design and delivery of regional and sub-regional
                              priorities and programmes


23.   Integrated findings of the Assessment regarding RES 2006’s SAV are summarised below.
      Figure 2: The Strategic Added Value of RES 2006




      Source: SQW

24.   Positively, the Assessment found evidence of SAV across all five categories. The contribution
      was most pronounced in terms of Strategic Leadership and Catalyst and Engagement.

25.   The development of RES 2006 was central to this SAV contribution, moving-on strongly the
      partnership working agenda in the region. As such, developing RES 2006 arguably proved to
      be as valuable as the resultant document itself, although the strategy document was ‘known
      and used’ throughout its delivery period.




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      What has been learned?
26.   The Assessment delivers six key Learning Lessons:

      Managing inclusivity in strategy development

      •      The process of consultation/engagement in drawing up RES 2006 demonstrated the
             value of an open and engaging process in strategy development. Formal/informal
             relationships were initiated or strengthened, and the challenges faced by the North
             West widely debated and communicated. However, going forward, increasing
             partnership maturity will be required – partners need to think for, and be committed
             to, the collective, not just their own constituency or specific interest group.

      Be clear on where accountability rests

      •      Formal accountability for the successful delivery of a strategy needs to be clearly
             established and implemented. This was arguably not the case with RES 2006. A
             genuine partnership approach to RES 2006 was an important step-forward. But this
             established roles, rather than ultimate responsibilities and accountabilities, for the
             strategy’s performance. Who ‘owns’ a strategy and is accountable formally for its
             success, or otherwise, needs to be clearly identified from the outset of future strategy
             efforts in the North West. Without this accountability for performance, genuine
             traction will not be secured.

      Braver prioritisation, and ‘hard-choice thinking’ is required

      •      There is a continuing need for greater prioritisation in economic ‘thinking and doing’
             in the North West. Although more focused than earlier RES iterations, RES 2006
             still ‘tried to do too much’. Bolder decision-making is required – underpinned by a
             sound evidence base recognising the multi-dimensional drivers of economic
             development across places, sectors, and communities – which injects focus and rigour
             to strategy efforts. A commitment to maximising Return on Investment as resources
             tighten and budgets are stretched will be key, as will ‘tree-tops thinking’ and
             subsidiarity i.e. setting shared priorities for those things that are genuinely strategic,
             and devolving down responsibility to the appropriate scale.

      Flexibility and future-proofing is key, for momentum to be maintained

      •      RES 2006 proved a resilient framework against which partners could focus their
             activity in a period of what turned out to be major economic uncertainty. But this
             meant that RES 2006 became somewhat ‘locked at a point in time’, used principally
             as a ‘check-point’ to justify interventions. Future strategy efforts need to be more
             dynamic, remaining topical and current whilst at the same time bearing in mind the
             fundamental issues faced across its places and communities. A rolling three-to-five
             year strategy and action plan, annually revised and amended should be considered,
             with effective monitoring to inform this process, in a dynamic sense. Commissioning
             activity should be a hallmark of future strategy efforts.




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Strategy must align with real-world complexity

•     The Thematic approach of RES 2006 was appropriate for its time. However, there
      needs to be greater emphasis placed on integration and cross-thematic working,
      reflecting real world complexity. With fewer actions, linkages could be better
      highlighted/optimised. Going forward, the importance of energy, carbon and
      environmental resources as influencers on economic development need to be
      recognised.

Focus on the wealth and productivity agenda

•     The focus of RES 2006 on the scale of the North West’s deficits to England, in GVA
      and employment terms, provided an important ‘focusing of minds’ on the challenges
      faced across the region and its places. However, no specific target was set for
      productivity, and a ‘logic chain’ linking Actions to quantitative targets was not
      established. Future strategy efforts need to ensure that the ‘wealth creation’
      imperative, as reflected in productivity measures, is reflected fully in both targets and
      objectives/priorities, and that a clear link is established to understand the impact of
      the strategy on productivity performance.




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      1: Introduction


1.1   SQW was commissioned by the North West Development Agency (NWDA) in March 2010
      to undertake an independent Extended Annual Assessment of the North West Regional
      Economic Strategy (RES) 2006. This Final Report presents the findings of the Assessment,
      which was completed in August 2010.

      Setting the scene
1.2   RES 2006 was the third regional economic strategy for the North West. Prepared by the
      NWDA in partnership with a Regional Advisory Group, and launched in March 2006, RES
      2006 established the vision for the North West to become a:

                 ‘Dynamic, sustainable international economy which competes on the basis
                 of knowledge, advanced technology and an excellent quality of life for all’.
1.3   Three Drivers, with five associated Themes, were identified in RES 2006 through which to
      realise the vision, with the intention of closing the output gap with England, estimated in 2006
      at between £13-20bn (Figure 1-1).

      Figure 1-1: RES 2006 – Vision, Drivers, and Themes




      Source: RES 2006

1.4   RES 2006 was adopted by regional partners across the public, private and
      voluntary/community sectors, and explicitly identified as ‘the region’s strategy’. That is,
      whilst the NWDA had overall responsibility for its delivery and monitoring, the
      implementation of RES 2006 was intended to be a shared commitment by partners across the
      North West.

1.5   Originally planned to cover the 2006-2009 period, RES 2006 was extended into 2010 whilst a
      new integrated strategy for the region was developed. The intent to pursue a formal statutory
      integrated strategy has now ceased, altering considerably the strategic context and economic
      development circumstances the region now faces going forward.




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       Purpose of the Assessment
1.6    Annual Assessment Reports, tracking progress in delivering RES 2006, were led ‘in-house’
       by the NWDA in 2007, 2008 and 2009. These Assessments reported on progress against RES
       2006 Actions, based on feedback from RES Action Leads (nominated individuals within
       organisations responsible for delivery of RES 2006 Actions, thereby ensuring partnership
       input to the process), and regional socio-economic performance.1 Bi-annual reports on
       progress against Transformational Actions were also prepared for NWDA’s Board.

1.7    These preceding Assessments were not designed to capture the qualitative content, attitudinal
       stances, and wider process reflections essential to a full understanding of the contribution of
       RES 2006. Given this, the Final Assessment was designed to explore three perspectives,
       namely:

       •           the overall performance against the five RES 2006 Themes, and RES 2006 as an
                   integrated whole, over the 2006-10 period

       •           the ‘soft’ as well as the ‘hard’ contribution of RES 2006, reflecting its role as a
                   qualitative process, as well as a generator of quantitative outputs

       •           the learning from RES 2006, from things that have gone well, and those that have
                   been less successful.

1.8    Importantly, this Assessment is not an economic impact evaluation of RES 2006 and its
       Actions. Nor is it solely focused on the NWDA’s role in delivering RES 2006. Rather, its
       purpose is to provide an accessible and rounded consideration of what was done in the name
       of RES 2006, quantitatively and qualitatively, in 2009/10, and over its wider delivery period.

       The challenges faced, and our approach
1.9    Three key challenges were evident in meeting the purpose of the Assessment.

       •           First, understanding, and accounting for in the analysis, the pervasive impact of the
                   recession of 2008, and its effects on regional economic performance, public sector
                   resources and private sector investment priorities.

       •           Second, providing a robust account of what RES 2006 involved and achieved, given
                   the personal/institutional ‘memory loss’ as a result of people and time moving-on.

       •           Third, isolating the effect on partners and stakeholders of the process of planning the
                   integrated regional strategy (as was evident at the time of the fieldwork) on
                   perceptions of RES 2006, by that stage a four year old document.

1.10   Within this context, and overseen by a Steering Group from the NWDA, the Assessment
       involved three work-streams:

       •           extensive socio-economic baselining and analysis against RES 2006 indicators and
                   wider data sources to identify how the region has performed in socio-economic terms
                   over the RES 2006 delivery period

       1
           Previous Assessments can be found at http://www.nwda.co.uk/publications/strategy.aspx



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       •           a broad review of relevant documentation and data including the body of
                   evaluation evidence collated over the RES 2006 period, previous scrutiny and
                   assessment work on RES 2006 and regional economic development activities, and
                   NWDA spend/output data cut by RES Theme

       •           a wide programme of consultation with 98 consultees drawn from the public,
                   private and voluntary/community sectors providing strategic and/or operational
                   perspectives on the delivery of RES 2006.2

1.11   Emerging messages were also presented to the NWDA Board and the Regional Strategy
       Advisory Group (RSAG) in late-June and mid-July 2010 respectively. The sessions provided
       opportunities for calibration and challenge on the findings of the Assessment, with the
       feedback informing the completion of the analysis and this Final Report.

       Reading the Assessment
1.12   The remainder of this Report is structured as follows:

       •           Section 2 sets out the context for RES 2006

       •           Section 3 presents the findings related to the development and design of RES 2006

       •           Section 4 discusses the delivery of RES 2006, through its five Themes and as an
                   integrated investment and strategic framework

       •           Section 5 presents the headline messages from the socio-economic baseline and
                   analysis of performance against RES targets and measures

       •           Section 6 comments on the outcomes delivered by, and contribution of, RES 2006
                   with a focus on Strategic Added Value (SAV)

       •           Section 7 provides the key Learning Lessons from the Assessment.

1.13   ‘Partner and Stakeholder perceptions’ boxes are presented throughout the report drawing on
       the consultation process. They are non-attributed, but direct comments, and were selected to
       reflect the general message or range of views/perspectives that emerged on key issues.

1.14   Separate Technical Annexes provide further detailed information underpinning this
       Assessment, including a baseline of socio-economic performance and detailed Thematic
       Assessments.

       Acknowledgements and further information
1.15   SQW would like to thank all those individuals who assisted us with our work. We had
       considerable support and engagement from busy people, for which we are grateful.

1.16   If you require any further information about the Assessment, or wish to obtain copies of the
       Technical     Annexes,      please   contact     Yvonne    Herbert     at    the    NWDA
       (yvonne.herbert@nwda.co.uk).

       2
           With the fieldwork completed over March-July 2010, we explicitly did not consult with Central Government.



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      2: Positioning RES 2006


2.1   This section sets out, in a concise manner, the key context for RES 2006. It then identifies the
      implications of this context for this Assessment.


      The strategic legacy
2.2   RES 2006 did not start with a blank canvas. As the third regional economic strategy for the
      North West, it was shaped extensively by the overall vision, partnership structures and
      relationships developed under its precursors in 2000 and 2003.

2.3   In a real sense, the first two iterations of the RES were a ‘learning-curve’ for partners in
      regional economic development as they started to develop their regional craft, characterised
      by the NWDA as:

      •           ‘building engagement’ in 2000, with a focus on establishing, for the first time,
                  consensus on the socio-economic issues faced by the North West

      •           ‘developing innovative approaches’ in 2003, with a greater emphasis on prioritisation
                  of the region’s main economic drivers.3

2.4   Alongside maturing partnership-working over 2000-2006, the evidence-base was also
      developed, providing an increasingly nuanced understanding of the economy of the North
      West, its challenges and opportunities, and the priorities for addressing what were
      increasingly recognised as ongoing structural deficits.

2.5   Further, RES 2006 inherited the legacy of investment decisions and project activities made
      and delivered under previous iterations of the RES. With a revision required every three
      years by Government,4 an over-lap of project activities and funding across RES’ was to be
      expected as projects looked to address, what in many cases, were generational issues. For the
      NWDA in particular, this was a very important determinant of the activity to be delivered
      over the period of RES 2006.

2.6   In short, although RES 2006 was an opportunity for a fresh articulation of updated regional
      economic development priorities, it inherited an already well-established set of project
      activities and delivery mechanisms/approaches developed under previous strategy efforts.
      This did reduce the ‘room for manoeuvre’ available to partners in the developing the strategy,
      but it also ensured a level of continuity and consistency in regional economic development
      priorities to address long-standing challenges.




      3
          Independent Performance Assessment (IPA) Self Assessment, NWDA, 2006
      4
          2005 Guidance to RDAs on Regional Strategies, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, 2005



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       The socio-economic landscape
2.7    RES 2006 was also rooted in the socio-economic context of its time, regionally and
       nationally. Although economic progress had been evident over the first half of the 2000s, by
       its mid-point the North West retained:

       •           a significant productivity deficit to England, driven principally by lower
                   productivity in its business and service sectors

       •           too few people in work, with a lower overall employment rate than nationally and
                   a lower proportion of employees in ‘knowledge-based’ activities

       •           significant skills and enterprise deficits compared to national levels

       •           major areas of persistent and entrenched deprivation, both in the region’s core
                   city-regions and locations distant from employment and business growth.

2.8    These deficits contributed to an estimated GVA gap of £13bn, subsequently revised to
       £16.2bn based on updated data.5 Table 2-1 sets out a range of headline indicators at the time
       of RES 2006’s development for the North West compared to England.

       Table 2-1: RES 2006 baseline indicators (data from 2004 or 2004/05)
                                                              North West              England     Scale of deficit
       GVA per head (£)                                              15,161             18,021             -2,860

       GVA per job (£)                                              £34,185            £40,251             -6,066

       Median resident annual earnings (£)                           20,895             22,438             -1,543

       Business Births per 10,000 of WAP                               68.6               79.7               11.1

       Employment rate                                               72.8%              74.7%              -1.9pp

       IB Claimants per 10,000 WAP                                    1,052               726                 326

       % Economically Active with NVQ4+                              28.4%                30%             -1.60pp

       % WAP with No Qualifications                                  16.9%                14%               2.9pp
       Source: National Statistics and Nomis

2.9    In many ways, the position at 2004 was not new. Indeed, the region had been losing ground
       to England over the preceding 15 years in overall economic performance: in 1989 GVA per
       head in the North West was 89.3% of the England level, by 2004 it was 84.1%, meaning,
       practically, residents of the North West had become less wealthy relative to the national
       average over this period.

2.10   GVA per head and aggregate GVA growth data for the North West and England over 1989-
       2004 are presented in Figure 2-1.




       5
           The GVA gap data excludes regional price differentials



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       Figure 2-1: Long-term regional economic performance, North West and England

                                          GVA per head 1989-2004                                                   Aggregate GVA growth 1989-2004
                              19,000                                                                               240


                              17,000          England                                                              220      England
                                              North West                                                                    North West




                                                                                         GVA Growth (1989 = 100)
                              15,000                                                                               200
           GVA per head (£)




                              13,000                                                                               180


                              11,000                                                                               160


                               9,000                                                                               140


                               7,000                                                                               120

                               5,000                                                                               100
                                   1989      1992       1995   1998   2001       2004                                1989   1992         1995   1998   2001   2004

       Source: National Statistics



       The realities of regional strategies
2.11   Above and beyond the strategic and data context, in framing RES 2006, and this Assessment,
       it is important to recognise the complexities, contradictions, and challenges that present in the
       development of any regional strategy, and which were still much evident for RES 2006.

2.12   Three tensions are of central importance:

       •                               any region is made-up of distinct places, communities, and interests which a regional
                                       strategy must accommodate. But in responding specifically, there is an ever-present
                                       danger of losing regional-level focus and integration
                                                    so, pitching a RES appropriately is hard to get right – too ‘case-specific’,
                                                    and it loses its regional ambition and scope, too ‘high-level’, and it misses
                                                    out on the component geographies/groups that make the region what it is
       •                               in developing a RES through consultation and inclusion – which is what the
                                       ‘partnership’ imperative requires – priorities will proliferate. Too often, partnership
                                       working is taken to mean everyone secures what they want in return for their
                                       involvement, as promoting selected places/groups is seen as ‘too difficult’ or ‘unfair’
                                       – in short, the process delivers lowest common denominators rather than highest
                                       common factors
                                                    so, there is an inherent contradiction in establishing the balance between
                                                    regional ‘Must Dos’ and partner ‘Must Haves’
       •                               good strategy is about clear, firm, decision making. But in economic development,
                                       there are not simple either/or choices such as tackling need rather than exploiting
                                       opportunities, or preferring employment creation to wealth maximisation. In an
                                       increasingly complex world, thinking across issues becomes critically important
                                                    so, strategy development involves balancing complex and changing
                                                    factors.   In 21st Century economic development, there is no single
                                                    answer, but a spectrum of interrelated choices.




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       Implications for the Assessment
2.13   The contexts set out above suggest four main implications for this Assessment of RES 2006:

       •        First, although learning the lessons of experience is important, we need to watch for
                ‘wisdom after the event’. For example, although the evidence base had developed
                considerably by 2005/06, the understanding of functional economic geographies or
                the importance of energy and carbon economics to the economy, were significantly
                less well developed than today. So, judging RES 2006 solely through the perspective
                of what we know now in 2010 is unhelpful, and misleading.

       •        Second, RES 2006 represented the ‘next stage of a process’ in regional economic
                development for the North West. Existing relationships, activities and financial
                commitments, plus increasingly complex economic factors, framed and informed the
                development of RES 2006. As such, it is important to be aware of the constraints to,
                as well as opportunities for, RES 2006.

       •        Third, recognising the historical trajectory of the North West’s economic
                performance is essential. Turning around significant absolute, and particularly
                relative, deficits is not something that can be achieved in four/five years alone. So,
                realism is required in assessing the socio-economic performance of the region over
                the RES 2006 period, and in making judgements about the impact of RES 2006 on
                these conditions.

       •        Fourth, given the range of interests involved, it is unavoidable – as evidenced in the
                consultation process completed for this work – that there will be diverse perspectives
                on RES 2006. Given the breadth and complexity of the economic development
                landscape, a strategy will mean many different things to different groups at different
                times across the region.

2.14   In summary, therefore, and against this backdrop, this Assessment is not about whether RES
       2006 was ‘right or wrong’. It is about priorities and balance, and considering whether these
       were appropriately struck. The Assessment is also concerned with drawing out instructive
       learning for the future for those organisations who have invested in progressing RES 2006
       this last five years.



           Chapter Summary

           •   RES 2006 was not developed within a vacuum. Previous iterations of the strategy,
               existing funding/project commitments and relationships, a challenging economic
               environment, and the ever-present complexities in ‘doing’ good strategy were all
               important contextual factors influencing its genesis.
           •   These are important considerations in framing the Assessment of RES 2006.




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      3: Developing and designing RES 2006


3.1   Conscious of the context set out in the previous section, what can be said, in 2010, regarding
      the development and design of RES 2006? Overall, the story is a positive one, with RES
      2006 representing a major step-forward from its precursors. But a number of the initial
      positives had double-edged results as RES 2006 progressed to delivery. We discuss these
      more fully below.


      Developing RES 2006
3.2   The development of RES 2006, by which we mean the process of consultation and evidence-
      gathering completed over 2005/06, was a significant success story for the North West, and the
      NWDA in particular who led the process. This success rested on three key foundations.

3.3   First, the consultation process underpinning the development of RES 2006 was an effective
      and constructive exercise, delivering a genuine ‘regional conversation’, even before the
      phrase became fashionable. Steered by the NWDA and a RES Advisory Group involving 25
      regional organisations, the key constituencies of interest were engaged effectively in a debate
      over regional priorities and futures. The process delivered a step-change in the scale,
      sophistication, and scope of consultation compared to previous strategy iterations (a reported
      6,000 participants were involved in the process).

3.4   RES Advisory Group partners were also engaged in writing the strategy document, helping to
      feed-through partner engagement into the final version of the output. That said, not all
      partners/stakeholders consulted as part of this Assessment felt the initial debate/consultation
      for RES 2006 was effectively translated into the resultant strategy. In part, this filtering of
      views is inherent to strategy development, as not all views can be accommodated. But it
      suggests that more could have been done to justify publicly – in market failure or rationale
      terms – the logic for those elements that did make it through.

3.5   Nevertheless, in the round, the Assessment suggests that the consultation process was of
      considerable value in developing formal and informal relationships and trust amongst regional
      partners.

3.6   This is consistent with the message of the Independent Performance Assessment (IPA) of the
      NWDA in 2006. The IPA identified ‘general consensus from partners and stakeholders that
      the consultation process (for RES 2006) has been very strong and is much improved from the
      same process three years ago. Improved communications by the NWDA has allowed key
      partners to play key and active roles in understanding and developing the new RES.’ 6




      6
          Independent Performance Assessment, North West Development Agency, National Audit Office, June 2006



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           Partner and Stakeholder perceptions – the consultation process


           ‘The process was very effective; it was a genuine attempt to consult throughout production.
           It was a model in the sense that it involved the right people, had effective processes, and
           took note of feedback’ – Strategic partner/public sector
           ‘The process itself was very positive and inclusive. However, the level of inclusivity meant
           that they tried to write the strategy by committee initially, but it was then taken forward by
           NWDA and the link to the debates/views of partners may have been lost’ – Strategic
           partner/public sector



3.7    Second, the evidence base for RES 2006 represented a similar step-forward in the
       sophistication of the secondary and condition indicator evidence used in the prioritisation
       process. Although stronger on the ‘hard’ economic issues than for the social and
       environmental aspects, and arguably somewhat ‘traditional’ in its spatial focus, with an
       emerging but not fully developed understanding of functional economic geographies, the
       evidence base for RES 20067 did seek to explain why the data were as they were, suggesting
       where effort might be best directed.

3.8    Third, and related, for the first time RES 2006 made good use of econometric forecasts in its
       underlying logic, especially as these related to the ambition for growth. Developed alongside
       the wider evidence base, the forecasts allowed for specific and evidence-based targets to be
       established for RES 2006.

           Partner and Stakeholder perceptions – the evidence base


           ‘It reflected the economic evidence on areas of regeneration/need. Highlighted the skills
           gaps and education - all were really useful targets to try and achieve. At the time GVA was
           everything - we've moved on now. In economic terms it was very robust’ – Operational
           partner/public sector
           ‘The evidence base for RES 2006 was probably the best that could be hoped for - I felt it
           was focused and fair’ – Strategic partner/private sector



3.9    Overall, therefore, the Assessment suggests that the development process of drawing-up RES
       2006 generated buy-in to the strategy that emerged, and that the strategy itself was based on a
       sound evidence base.


       Reflecting on the strategy that resulted

       The positives . . .
3.10   The strategy that emerged from the development process discussed above had a number of
       positive characteristics. In headline terms:

       •          RES 2006 provided a clear sense of long-term vision and direction for the North
                  West. It presented this in a communicable and accessible manner enabling key

       7
           See North West Economic Baseline, July 2005



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                  partners to coalesce around a shared regional intent. Partners/stakeholders across the
                  region generally appeared to have accepted, and bought into, the high-level vision
                  and direction of RES 2006.

       •          RES 2006 delivered a valid strategic intent, well suited to its contextual
                  environment. Specifically, the explicit focus on the GVA gap and employment
                  deficit helped to improve understanding of the scale of the challenges to be addressed
                  and ‘focused the mind’ of partners on the job that needed to be done. Although
                  previous RES’ had discussed the challenges for the region, their scale and severity
                  was more comprehensively articulated in RES 2006. Further, RES 2006 started,
                  really for the first time, to probe how these sorts of factors inter-relate.

       •          RES 2006 was essentially ‘focused on the right things’. Within its Themes, Factors
                  and Objectives, it captured effectively the range of issues facing the North West and
                  its economy. Although specific issues, such as the rural economy, climate change or
                  manufacturing/nuclear opportunities, could have been more prominent according to
                  selected consultees for this Assessment, at an overarching level, at the time of its
                  preparation, there were no substantive gaps in its coverage, thematically or spatially.

3.11   Importantly, RES 2006 reflected more fully differential spatial issues and challenges than
       previous iterations of the strategy. A significant number of Actions were focused on specific
       places (East Lancashire, Barrow, Preston etc) and/or typologies of place such as Housing
       Market Renewal Areas or those with Urban Regeneration Companies (URCs). This
       recognition was welcomed by partners and important in helping to align sub-regional and
       regional priorities. The Assessment suggests this improved spatial element emerged in part as
       a result of lobbying by spatial players for RES 2006 to recognise their particular
       issues/opportunities, but also owing to a more nuanced understanding in RES 2006 than
       previous RES’s on the role of places in economic development.

3.12   Crucially, RES 2006 was also what has been termed ‘constructively permissive’ in its
       framework. That is, although providing an extensive set of priorities and Actions, the breadth
       and lack of prescription in RES 2006 – generally establishing areas for activity rather than
       designating specific interventions as had been the case with RES 2003’s Action Plan8 –
       provided an accessible framework against which partners could align their existing activities.

           Partner and Stakeholder perceptions – the positives of RES 2006


           RES 2006 ‘was the first RES that had real direction, linked to need, and in an
           understandable form’ – Operational partner/public sector
           ‘ A strength of RES 2006 was its clear sense of long-term vision and direction’ – Strategic
           partner/private sector



3.13   Overall, RES 2006 represented clear progress for the North West in its design of a regional
       economic strategy. It was more grounded in evidence, more focused, more spatially aware,
       and more nuanced than RES 2003.

       8
           Regional Economic Strategy, Summary Action Plan 2003-2006



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       . . . and unintended consequences
3.14   The findings above are all important upsides for RES 2006. However, there were less
       positive consequences. Three in particular have been highlighted by the Assessment.

       Inclusion and prioritisation

3.15   To a significant extent, the desire of partners to consult widely and consensually in
       developing RES 2006 made it difficult for the strategy to come down on the hard issues that
       really mattered most. As a result, RES 2006 was probably too broadly cast in its intent and
       not sufficiently focused on the regional ‘Big Plays’. It ‘tried to do too much’ thereby limiting
       its overall cohesion and clarity.

3.16   A clear message from our consultation process is that partners/stakeholders consistently
       perceived that RES 2006 contained too many Objectives (47) and Actions (122, including 45
       Transformational Actions) for it to remain genuinely strategic, and importantly,
       communicable. Research from 2007 also suggested that whilst a majority of the 122 Actions
       had a strong rationale, the extent to which they were likely to be effective in tackling the
       underlying failure was more mixed (see Figure 3-1).9 This suggests some Actions may have
       been included because partners ‘wanted them there’, rather than because they provided the
       most appropriate approach to addressing the underlying market and/or other failures.

       Figure 3-1: Strength of rationale and effectiveness of RES 2006 Actions

                              90
                              80
                              70
                              60
                    Actions




                              50
                              40
                              30
                              20
                              10
                              0
                                            High                    Medium                   Low               Uncertain/N/A

                                   Overall strength of rationale             Action's likely effectiveness in tackling failure


       Source: North West RES Actions Failures and Rationales Analysis, 2007

3.17   As discussed in Section 2, striking the balance between partner inclusion and prioritisation in
       strategy development is tricky, particularly for a region as complex as the North West.
       However, the Assessment suggests that the coherence of the ‘action plan’ element of RES
       2006 appears to have been compromised by a focus on securing engagement as a principal
       goal in its design stage. Brave, but potentially unpopular prioritisation seems to have been
       sacrificed to a noticeable extent.

3.18   So, RES 2006 was a considerable improvement, in its focus and targeting, compared
       with its precursors. However, looking back, there could have been a more challenging
       approach to setting agreed shared priorities; this is an important learning lesson.


       9
           North West RES Actions Failures and Rationales Analysis, SQW, April 2007



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       Themes and linkages

3.19   Although the Thematic approach adopted in RES 2006 was helpful in providing a high-level
       clarity of purpose, with appropriate Themes, arguably more could have been done to
       understand the interconnections between them, both potential tensions and positive synergies.
       For example, growing labour market participation (People and Jobs Theme) and building
       business competitiveness (Business Theme) are not always positive sum.

3.20   An effort was made to link issues across Themes in RES 2006. For example, Actions that
       contributed to objectives within more than one Theme were highlighted. However, the
       evidence that this was (i) understood by partners and (ii) evidenced in subsequent project
       design is limited. Further, it suggested other Actions did not have linkages to other issues.

3.21   We return to issues of integration and synergy later in the report. However, while
       attempts were made to link issues across Themes, looking back, more could have been
       done to promote an integrated approach to strategy implementation. Again, this is a
       constructive learning lesson going forward.

       Spatial complexity

3.22   Because the thinking of RES 2006 on functional economic geographies was at an early stage,
       with hindsight, it did not fully appreciate how the ‘same’ issue might present differently in
       different circumstances. As argued in an earlier Scrutiny report ‘Different parts of the North
       West have different problems . . . there is clearly a need for the regional programme to ensure
       that it delivers sub-regional sensitivity.’10 The challenge was to achieve consistency in
       strategic intent across the region, whilst enabling tailored solutions to be stimulated to meet
       the needs of geographies and/or markets (labour, enterprise, and knowledge).

3.23   The Assessment suggests that this, admittedly difficult, balance was not fully delivered in
       RES 2006. Within RES 2006, some issues were assumed to work equally across the region,
       whilst for others a very specific spatial focus was applied. As a result, the Assessment
       suggests that RES 2006 suffered both from a perception of ‘micro-managing’ local priorities
       and activities, and of being not fully reflective of the economic complexity across the region.

3.24   In any context, this issue is hard to get right. Positively, RES 2006 represented the first
       genuine attempt, strategically, to understand functional geographies across the North
       West. But, the need for a consistent and nuanced approach to spatial issues in future
       strategy efforts is an important lesson from RES 2006.

        Partner and Stakeholder perceptions – unintended consequences


        ‘The issue with RES 2006 was not the fit with the issues in the region, but the fact that the
        priorities were far too widely cast, the problem with this is that if you start out too flexibly it
        will unravel’ – Strategic partner/public sector
         ‘The 5 thematic approach may have been helpful in designing the RES, but this is not 'real
        life', and it could have been more integrated across policy themes’ – Operational
        partner/public sector


       10
            Scrutiny of the NWDA and Five Themes of the NW RES 2006, NWRA



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        ‘RES 2006 had a relatively well developed spatial dimension and this was important as it
        helped to focus on specific areas of need i.e. Blackpool, Barrow’ – Strategic
        partner/voluntary sector



       Additional ‘design’ considerations
3.25   Three further important learning lessons emerge from looking back at the design of RES
       2006.

3.26   First, RES 2006 could have more clearly expressed the differentiators of the North West.
       RES 2006 did cover the positive ‘USPs’ of the North West – the nuclear sector, tourism,
       natural assets – and its specific challenges – entrenched deprivation in the core cities, the
       scale of vacant and derelict land. However, the breadth of the strategy masked somewhat
       these issues i.e. they were subsumed in, rather than the principal pillars of, the strategy. To an
       extent, as globalisation makes economies and societies more interconnected, the issues
       affecting places will coalesce. Further, that issues are shared does not detract from their
       importance. However, the challenge for RES 2006 was to progress relative to other places, as
       well as absolutely. So those areas where the North West had particular strengths/weaknesses
       were crucial as if optimised/addressed, they would provide the potential to progress faster
       than competitors. So, although a sound ‘regional strategy’, the lesson is that more could have
       been done to deliver a genuine ‘strategy for the North West’.

3.27   Second, the articulation of the Actions in RES 2006 could have been more consistent.
       Some Actions were Activities (things to be delivered), some Objectives (what activity aimed
       to achieve), others Aspirations (less tangible, and longer-term/higher-level objectives,
       although this final distinction is less clear). Examples are shown in Table 3-1. This variance
       reduced the coherence of the strategy, and made its effective monitoring challenging.

       Table 3-1: The variable nature of RES Actions, by Theme
       Theme              Activity                         Objective                        Aspiration
                          A32: Support the roll-out of
                                                           A39: Increase the number of
                          the National Employer                                             A30: Develop a skilled
                                                           people studying higher level
       Skills and         Training Programme (Train to                                      workforce in rural areas to
                                                           skills in science, engineering
       Education          Gain) to deliver basic through                                    enable business to diversify
                                                           and technology (especially
                          to intermediate level skills                                      and expand
                                                           from state schools)
                          and a skills brokerage

                                                           A66: Reduce levels of
                          A70: Complete the West                                            A93: Better align investment
                                                           congestion by increasing use
       Infrastructure     Coast Mainline upgrade,                                           and service delivery at regional,
                                                           of public transport and
                          particularly in Cumbria                                           sub-regional and local levels
                                                           reducing peak traffic volumes
       Source: SQW analysis of RES 20006

3.28   Third, a more fully developed ‘logic chain’, linking the Actions and their outcomes to
       quantitative targets would have been beneficial. The strategy did not link Actions or
       Themes to the headline RES targets, and there were not Theme-level targets or impact
       measures established. This represents a missed opportunity for generating strong evidence
       on the attribution of RES 2006 (and its Actions) to the achievement of its intent.




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Chapter Summary

•   The process of developing RES 2006 is evidence of the increased maturity and
    capacity of partners across the North West, led by the NWDA, to identify regional
    economic development priorities. Positive characteristics of the strategy included a
    clear sense of long-term vision, a logical and evidenced Thematic approach, and a
    more nuanced understanding of spatial issues.
•   Learning lessons from the development of RES 2006 include the importance of
    prioritisation in strategy development, the need to integrate effectively policy themes
    to reflect ‘real-world’ issues, and the primacy of identifying distinctiveness in order to
    deliver relative economic progress.




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      4: Delivering RES 2006


4.1   This section turns to the delivery of RES 2006, providing a view of its performance as a
      framework for economic development activity. It incorporates key findings from the
      Thematic analysis, and a number of project cameos drawn from evaluation evidence reviewed
      by the Assessment to provide a flavour of RES 2006 ‘on the ground’.

      Inputs to RES 2006 . . .
4.2   RES 2006 set out an indicative scale of investment required to deliver against its intent,
      amounting to some £45bn of public funding (over 2006/07 to 2008/09) within its ‘scope of
      influence’. This included the NWDA’s Single Programme allocation and budgets from
      organisations/policy areas such as LSC, Higher and Further Education, transport and social
      protection. However, as noted in the strategy document itself, RES 2006’s influence on non-
      core economic development funding was limited.

4.3   It has not been possible to quantify accurately the extent to which this scale of investment was
      delivered against RES 2006: organisations involved in its delivery have generally not
      monitored their investments against its priorities.11 Crucially, there has not been a system in
      place to monitor total expenditure across RES Actions in a systematic fashion. However, we
      have been provided with comprehensive monitoring data from the NWDA. By combining
      data on NWDA expenditure with the public/private leverage secured by NWDA projects (as a
      proxy for partner contributions), we can get some sense of the indicative scale of investment
      aligned directly to the delivery of RES 2006. This is summarised in Table 4-1.

      Table 4-1: NWDA expenditure plus public/private leverage over RES 2006 (2006/07 to 2009/10)
                                                Skills and    People        Infras-    Quality of     Legacy
                                 Business       education    and jobs     tructure           Life    projects      Total
      NWDA expenditure
      (£m)                              571            54         454          216           197           89      1,581

      Match funding
      leveraged by NWDA
      (£m)                              760              5        486           94           138           92      1575

      Total (£m)                      1,331            59         940          310           335          182      3,156
      Source: NWDA monitoring data

4.4   This c.£3.2bn underestimates the investment made against the delivery of RES 2006. It does
      not capture, for example, LSC and JCP inputs in delivering its mainstream services in support
      of RES 2006, or the cost of infrastructure projects delivered by the private or public sector.

4.5   However, this investment-type was less directly influenced by RES 2006, and to a significant
      extent, especially for mainstream national programmes, ‘would have happened anyway’. The
      key issue is the extent to which RES 2006 played a role in influencing and bending spend to
      regional priorities set out in the strategy. This issue is discussed in more detail below.

      11
         Consultations with delivery partners probed for spend/outputs monitored against RES 2006. In most cases
      organisations had not monitored investment against RES 2006.



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      Cameo 1 – RES 2006 activity on the ground

      Project: International Trade Programme
      RES Theme: Business
      Lead RES Actions: 17 and 18

      Activity and investment
      The International Trade programme was funded by NWDA and UKTI to deliver internationalisation support to
      businesses across the North West. NWDA funding of c.£4.5m for 2007/08 to 2009/10 was directed towards the
      targeting of priority sectors of RES 2006 (Biomedical, Energy & Environmental Technologies, Advanced Engineering
      & Materials, Food & Drink, Digital & Creative Industries and Business & Professional Services). A further c.£340k
      NWDA funding was approved to support a series of ‘Meet the Buyer’ events. The project involved UKTI investment
      of £5.25m over 2007/08 to 2009/10. The total project cost was therefore around £10.1m.
      The project activities included the work of International Trade Advisors providing trade and exporting advice to
      businesses, priority country market specialist advice, a Meet the Buyer programme, and the delivery of sector trade
      missions. An evaluation found that stakeholders felt the programme had good fit with other business support
      interventions across the North West, and was recognised as an important component of the regional business
      support offer, particularly to high-growth businesses.

      Strategic fit, and contribution to RES 2006
      RES 2006 included a Transformational Action to develop an Internationalisation Strategy. The Northwest
      International Business Forum (NWIBF) was charged with taking the lead in progressing this and an
      Internationalisation Strategy and Action Plan (ISAP) was produced outlining a coordinated approach to
      internationalisation for the region. The International Trade Programme was one of the key activities developed to
      deliver against its intent. The additionality of RES 2006 itself in the development of the project is not covered in
      depth in the evaluation; the programme was a continuation of an earlier intervention, and extended/re-focused
      existing activity delivered by UKTI. That said, the programme demonstrated very strong alignment with RES 2006,
      and the focus on RES priority sectors added value to the contribution of the programme to the strategic agenda.
      Indeed, the total direct, indirect and induced impact for the International Trade Project over 2007/08-2008/09 was
      around 10,100 net additional FTEs, with a GVA impact of £390m.
      Source: Interim Evaluation of NWDA’s Funding of the International Trade Programme, SQW analysis



      . . . and progress in delivery
4.6   Given its remit, this Assessment did not seek to replicate the comprehensive review of
      progress against individual RES Actions contained within previous RES Assessments.
      However, information has been collected on performance against Transformational Actions,
      with the progress achieved summarised in Table 4-2.

4.7   Table 4-2 suggests that performance against Transformational Actions is positive, with
      progress made on all Transformational Actions set out in RES 2006.




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Table 4-2: Progress against Transformational Actions by Theme
Action achieved/delivered                                 Progress made but Action not delivered fully
Business – 7 out of 10 TAs achieved/delivered
Action 1: Transform Business Link Northwest               Action 8: Undertake cluster programmes priority sectors to
Action 9: Secure MediaCityUK                              develop higher value activity
Action 12: Enable business to implement innovation        Action 13: Enhance Business/Higher Education
Action 15: Implement the Northwest Science Strategy       collaboration and knowledge transfer
                                                          Action 16: Support the development of major research
Action 17: Assist companies to compete & develop
Internationalisation Strategy                             concentrations and knowledge nuclei
Action 23: Improve Business Resource Efficiency
support
Action 24: Develop and implement a Regional Climate
Change Action Plan

Skills – 3 out of 7 TAs achieved/delivered
Action 26: Deliver basic skills for individuals without   Action 27: Deliver skills required by priority sectors
qualifications                                            Action 28: Delver the skills required to maximise the
Action 37: Educational Infrastructure: 14-19              economic impact of key growth opportunities
Action 38: Educational Infrastructure: Higher             Action 31: Develop skills in the current workforce
Education                                                 Action 35: Develop management/leadership and CSR skills

People and Jobs – 5 out of 11 TAs achieved/delivered
Action 43: Deliver support to improve peoples’            Action 47: Develop and implement an integrated economic
prospects of getting a job                                plan for East Lancashire
Action 44: Develop and deliver intensive support for      Action 48: Implement the Blackpool Masterplan
those groups with low employment rates compared to        Action 49: Develop and deliver the Barrow Masterplan
England                                                   Action 50: Develop and implement an integrated economic
Action 45: Develop job brokerage linking employers        plan for West Cumbria
and individuals                                           Action 52: Develop and encourage employment creation in
Action 54: Capitalise on the strengths of Manchester,     or near deprived areas
Liverpool and Preston                                     Action 55: Private sector investment into Crewe, Chester,
Action 56: Implement Regional Rural Delivery              Warrington, Lancaster and Carlisle
Framework

Infrastructure Jobs – 3 out of 11 TAs achieved/delivered
Action 63: Demand management and infrastructure           Action 65: Develop the second Mersey crossing, working
improvements in Greater Manchester and                    with the private sector12
Cheshire/Warrington                                       Action 67: Identify and deliver necessary capacity
Action 64: Improve road access to Liverpool City          improvements to the Manchester Rail Hub
centre                                                    Action 72: Grow Manchester and Liverpool John Lennon
Action 85: Ensure new housing provision in locations      Airport
which support wider regeneration or knowledge based       Action 73: Grow the Port of Liverpool
economic growth                                           Action 77: Develop Manchester Metrolink (Phase 3) and
                                                          effective mass transit for Liverpool and within the Mersey
                                                          Belt
                                                          Action 80: Deliver the designated Strategic Regional Sites
                                                          Action 87: Set Housing Market renewal within a strong
                                                          economic context
                                                          Action 66: Reduce levels of congestion by increasing use of
                                                          public transport and reducing peak traffic volumes

Quality of Life – 4 out of 6 TAs achieved/delivered
Action 96: Support Liverpool European Capital of          Action 111: Develop the Regional Equality and Diversity
Culture 2008                                              Strategy
Action 101: Improve Tourism Attack Brands and             Action 114: Implement the Lake District Economic Futures
Signature Projects                                        Policy Statement
Action 113: Develop the economic benefit of the
Natural Environment
Action 119: Invest in Quality Public Realm and Green
Space
Source: Consultation feedback, previous RES Assessment and SQW analysis



12
   A decision on the Mersey Crossing will be made as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review in Autumn
2010



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4.8    However, owing to the framing of the Actions and absence of a ‘logic chain’ for monitoring
       as discussed in Section 3, the positive picture painted in Table 4-2 is based mainly on
       progress in delivery, rather than if the Transformational Actions have ‘addressed or solved’
       the underlying issue in play. The extent to which the socio-economic performance of the
       region has changed over the RES 2006 period, and ultimately therefore, whether the
       Transformational Actions have contributed to addressing the long-term issues prevalent in the
       North West, is discussed in Section 5.

4.9    Further, although the Infrastructure Theme has not performed as strongly as others in delivery
       progress against its Transformational Actions, a more reflective qualitative assessment set out
       in Table 4-3 suggests quite the opposite. In part, this is based on the long-term nature of
       Infrastructure Transformational Actions, with planning and funding complexities in play not
       experienced as consistently in other Themes. However, it also demonstrates that progress in
       activity does not correlate mechanistically with outcomes or longer-term strategic benefits.


       Cameo 2 – RES 2006 activity on the ground

       Project: STEM E&E Partnership Project
       RES Theme: Skills and Education
       Lead RES Actions: 39, 15, 27

       Activity and investment
       Established nationally in 1996, the objective of STEMNET is to encourage young people to have a positive attitude
       towards science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with a view to educational and career development
       opportunities. This project supported the establishment of a North West STEM E&E Partnership (enterprise
       enrichment and enhancement) in May 2007 to provide improved access to information regarding STEM opportunities
       including engagement with businesses and industry. The project involved planned NWDA funding of £450k over
       2007/08 to 2008/09, with a further £40k provided by STEMNET, although an evaluation of the project reported under-
       spend owing to initial delays in establishing the Partnership.
       The activity supported by the project included two FTE posts (the STEM E&E Partnership Manager Communications
       Manager and an administration support post); the development and maintenance of the STEM Partnership web
       portal; a programme of events and conferences to engage with stakeholders, such as teachers, and to deliver a CPD
       training days for teachers; and the North West Regional STEM E&E and Enterprise Mapping Exercise including the
       identification of school interaction with STEM E&E activity providers.


       Strategic fit, and contribution to RES 2006
       An evaluation of the project concluded that the strategic alignment of the project to RES 2006 was strong. Further,
       the project contributed to delivery against the North West Science Strategy (RES Action 15). The evaluation
       emphasised the regional influence of the Partnership in establishing the structure and partnership arrangements to
       improve the co-ordination and profile of STEM E&E activities across the region, thereby contributing to RES and
       Science Strategy objectives.
       The principal contribution of the project to RES 2006 was based on its Strategic Added Value, as opposed to the
       delivery of quantitative outputs and outcomes. Benefits delivered included increased coordination, alignment and
       partnership between key stakeholders, education providers and businesses; increased engagement with hard-to-
       engage schools achieved through the mapping study, awareness raising events and web-portal; and improving the
       provision of regional intelligence in terms of the levels of schools engagement in E&E activity.

       Source: Evaluation of the STEM E&E Partnership, NWDA data, SQW analysis


       Key findings from the Thematic analysis
4.10   Building on the Transformational Action analysis, Table 4-3 presents headline messages from
       the research into the delivery of the five RES Themes. The Table also provides a Theme-
       level assessment of additionality i.e. to what extent things have been done more quickly, to a
       higher level of quality, with a greater degree of scale/reach, or indeed at all, as a result of RES
       2006 (rather than the specific programme and projects delivered against it).



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4.11   Further Theme-level analysis are located in the Technical Report.

       Table 4-3: Messages from the Theme Assessments
       Key messages                                                                         Was additionality delivered?
       Business

       Regional performance in delivering against the intent of the Business Theme          Yes, to an extent
       was relatively strong. Key strengths included the internationalisation activity      The Assessment suggests that the
       (in particular FDI and international trade), and the embedding of regional
                                                                                            RES       2006    process/framework
       sectoral support in key growth areas. Further, progress was made across              played a role in catalysing specific
       the North West at an aggregate level in growing the business base and                projects,     and   providing    the
       ensuring an ongoing commitment to R&D and knowledge transfer activities.
                                                                                            framework for taking forward major
       Notable activities delivered by partners within the Theme include the                projects with long-term economic
       development, implementation and updating of the Regional Climate Change              benefits i.e. Media City and climate
       Action Plan, the implementation of the North West Science Strategy, and              change adaption activity.
       access to finance projects such as the Business Angel Finance and Venture            However, the GVA gap has grown
       Capital Loan Fund. The regionalisation of Business Link was also delivered           ‘on its watch’, and although realism
       by Business Link and the NWDA, one of the Transformational Actions.
                                                                                            is required, the underlying business
       Key learning messages to emerge from the Thematic Assessment included:               structure of the region has not
                                                                                            shifted substantially against relevant
       •    the persistent enterprise deficit in the region remains a central
                                                                                            comparators over the RES 2006
            barrier to growth and whilst this is a long-term issue, and significant
                                                                                            period.
            business related outputs and outcomes from RES 2006 may take time
            to work through the economy, arguably a greater focus on enterprise
            development activity is required to deliver on the GVA growth intent
       •    more focus and prioritisation was required by partners within the
            Theme with fewer projects taken forward and a clearer articulation of
            what was expected of partners for genuine engagement and
            commitment to be secure
       •    the Assessment suggests that business engagement with RES 2006
            has been evident, and representative groups in particular saw the RES
            as a helpful tool, but the ‘translation’ of RES 2006 to the business
            sector could have been stronger. Realistically, businesses – and
            especially SMEs – are not likely to engage in detail with a RES,
            however, more clearly articulating how the Business Theme ‘removed
            the obstacles’ for business, and a more nuanced understanding of both
            supply and demand issues for the regional business base would have
            been helpful and helped to translate the strategy to the private sector
            and its representative groups.

       Skills and Education

       The Skills and Education Theme provided a logical, communicable and                  Yes
       coherent structure for activity within the policy sphere. This provided a fit-for-   The      Assessment      highlighted
       purpose context for NWDA spend and a resilient and consistent framework              examples of additionality generated
       used by other partners to shape and align spend where there was discretion
                                                                                            in both capital and revenue projects
       or flexibility to do so.                                                             – major developments, such as the
       Notable activities delivered by partners within the Theme include capital            University of Cumbria, would not
       projects around HE and FE such as the University of Cumbria, Burnley and             have been delivered as quickly or to
       Blackburn Colleges, and Winsford Learning Zone, and revenue projects such            the same extent without the context
       as Fusion and the Higher Level Skills Pathfinders.                                   provided by the RES 2006, and
       Key learning messages to emerge from the Thematic Assessment included:               activity and associated outcomes
                                                                                            have developed facilitated by RES
       •    the processes and partnerships underpinning, and developed                      2006, such as the regional hub for
            through, RES 2006 have proved important in strategic and                        the National Enterprise Academy,
            operational developments including responses to the recession, and              which might otherwise have been
            in the development of the new Regional Skills Strategy. These                   located elsewhere.
            partnerships will continue to be important notwithstanding strategic and
                                                                                            Further, RES 2006 has provided a
            policy developments and likely future funding restraints
                                                                                            context for encouraging innovation
       •    identifying Skills and Education as a distinct Theme was, on                    and piloting of activity which would
            balance, the right approach to highlight its importance in wider                otherwise not have taken place.
            economic development, but this did not reinforce fully the connections          RES 2006 also generated valuable
            and linkages with other Themes and factors that were somewhat lost in           process outcomes around strategic
            delivery                                                                        partnership working that would not
                                                                                            have happened, at least not as
       •    the strong focus on basic and higher level skills in RES 2006 may
                                                                                            quickly, without the framework and
            have distracted attention to some extent away from intermediate
                                                                                            impetus provided by RES 2006.
            skills which are also vital for the sustainability and breadth of the
            economy; choices had to be made in developing the Theme, but
            whether a ‘hollowing-out’ of skills in the North West occurs in the longer-
            term needs to be watched for.




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Key messages                                                                   Was additionality delivered?
People and Jobs

RES 2006 reflected accurately the key issues facing the region in the People   Yes, to an extent
and Jobs Theme, and good progress was made in delivery. That said, many        On balance, the Assessment
issues underpinning the Theme are long-standing and structural to the North
                                                                               suggests that although some of the
West economy; they could not realistically be addressed over a single RES      activity, and associated outputs and
cycle, even without the pervasive impact of the recession.                     outcomes might have taken place
Notable activities delivered by partners within the Theme include the sub      anyway owing to the mainstream
regional worklessness projects, and regional projects focused on addressing    nature of the activity, the outcomes
the employment needs of particular groups such as migrants, older workers      arguably would not have been
and offenders. The Theme also included capital infrastructure activity such    delivered to the same extent (or as
as in Barrow, West Cumbria (including the Energy Coast and the new             effectively) or have been targeted at
nuclear agenda) and Blackpool.                                                 the same places/groups without the
Key learning messages to emerge from the Assessment included:                  context provided by RES 2006.
                                                                               RES 2006 also made a positive
•   there are examples of successful projects in which RES 2006 as a
                                                                               contribution around encouraging
    strategic framework played an important facilitation and ‘agenda-
                                                                               coherence and partnership working
    setting’ role, for example, the sub-regional worklessness projects, JCP
                                                                               amongst      People      and     Jobs
    ESF and Future Jobs Fund, and progress in long-term visions for
                                                                               stakeholders.      The Assessment
    stimulating economic growth in areas remote from growth
                                                                               suggests that the partnerships
•   regional and sub-regional partnerships and structures                      underpinning the RES’ development
    underpinning RES 2006 (and delivering against the RES intent)              and delivery did galvanise action and
    were important in enabling responses to the recession and – in the         enable a quicker and more
    sense that these have developed since 2006 – are a legacy of RES           coordinated     response     to   the
    2006, progress was also made in establishing sub-regional and local        recession than might have otherwise
    plans to address needs                                                     been the case.
•   the    evidence      suggests       that     RES      2006    and    the
    structures/partnerships it framed did inform, where flexibilities
    allowed, the allocation of resources by mainstream partners (e.g.
    ESF), this is important as the specific projects developed at a
    regional/sub-regional level specifically to deliver against RES 2006 are
    modest in scale compared to the national mainstream programmes
    addressing worklessness.

Infrastructure

The Infrastructure Theme performed strongly, with major strategic              Yes
infrastructure projects and priorities progressed over the 20006-10 period.
However, a significant number of the Actions and objectives established in     The Assessment suggests that
RES 2006 have yet to some to fruition, and although notable progress was       significant activities, outputs and
made, for example, in reclaiming brownfield land, the full economic benefits   outcomes delivered by partners
of the work delivered by RES 2006 will not be evident in regional conditions   under the Infrastructure Theme
and performance in the short-term.                                             would not have been delivered to the
                                                                               same scale or with the same speed
Notable activities delivered by partners within the Theme included the         without     the     focus,   strategic
completion of the West Coast Mainline upgrade, Heysham Link Road and           alignment and business case that
other road improvements, the large-scale Newlands programme to remediate       RES 2006 provided. That said,
brownfield land and ongoing development of the identified Strategic            although RES 2006 was important
Employment Sites.                                                              and     regularly     used  in     the
Key learning messages to emerge from the Assessment included:                  infrastructure context, the extent to
                                                                               which it directly ‘made things
•   important transport actions have been delivered or moved-on                happen’ over and above wider
    through the RES 2006 framework e.g. the West Coast Main Line               funding and strategic priorities is,
    Upgrade, taking forward Manchester (now Northern) Rail Hub, and road       perhaps understandably, limited.
    access to Liverpool City Centre, and significant progress has been
    made in addressing land use issues in the region e.g. taking forward       Less tangible process activities and
    Strategic Regional Sites and reclaiming large areas of brownfield land     benefits – around partnership of
                                                                               public sector actors, stimulating
•   as a strategic framework, RES 2006 played an important role in             development and attracting private
    corralling and focusing infrastructure planning and investment,            sector confidence – arguably might
    helping to deliver better formulated policy and interventions. For         never have happened at all, and
    example RES 2006 influenced the Regional Funding Allocation for            clearly to a lesser extent, without
    transport, and the Regional Spatial Strategy which was developed           RES 2006.
    subsequently – more operationally, the Strategic Employment Sites
    would probably not progressed to the extent they did without the focus
    and continued commitment to their development found in RES 2006
•   RES 2006 articulated the challenges and opportunities in this
    policy area effectively with the importance of the Manchester and
    Liverpool city-regions as drivers of the regional economy provided with
    justified prominence in the strategy document (although views on the
    spatial logic of some of the Infrastructure and wider investments varied
    across the stakeholders consulted, as may be expected).




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Key messages                                                                       Was additionality delivered?
Quality of Life

The Assessment suggests that the Quality of Life Theme performed strongly          Yes, in certain areas, but
in parts, most notably in its tourism elements. However, the performance of        additionality for the Theme as a
the Theme ‘in the round’ was mixed owing to a relatively limited underpinning      whole was limited
rationale and logic model linking its strands into a cohesive set of activities.
                                                                                   Relevant stakeholders did develop
Notable activities delivered by partners within the Theme include Liverpool        new partnerships during the period
Capital of Culture (see below), the programme of major regional events,            of RES 2006 – bringing agencies
support to the development of the Museum of Liverpool (part of the wider           and actors together and establishing
Mann Island Project), Natural Economy Northwest research to explore how            shared     priorities –   but    the
the natural environmental assets of the region could be more effectively           additionality of RES 2006 in this
exploited, and physical regeneration programmes, for example in Blackburn.         process appears to be somewhat
Key learning messages to emerge from the Assessment included:                      limited. The lack of a coherent
                                                                                   ‘voice’ for the Theme and arguably
•    delivery against the tourism and visitor economy aspects of the               limited explicit links between its
     Theme was strong, with the Assessment suggesting that the focus and           strands played an important role in
     intent of RES 2006 was regarded by partners as playing a key role in          this.
     this positive performance; RES added-value through promoting regional
     co-ordination and the identification of strategically important tourism       That said, in its tourism and image
     investments that helped to stimulate and support project delivery             aspects the Theme appears to have
                                                                                   delivered additionality, with the
•    the community and environment strands of the Theme appear to                  profile provided to the issues in RES
     have performed less strongly, with activities broadly reflecting              2006 an important strategic and
     existing priorities i.e. the Environment Agency’s focus on flood              operational catalyst for activity and
     protection and GONW’s commitment to implement the Sustainable                 co-ordination.
     Communities Plan – although it is important to recognise that the
     desired impacts for the Theme focused on ‘behavioural’ Actions were
     always going to be difficult to capture and implement
•    RES 2006 appears to have little influence on resource allocation by
     Quality of Life partners above and beyond the Tourist Boards and
     SRPs, and the extent to which RES 2006 influenced, in a dynamic
     sense, regional partners in the community and environment area
     appears to have been limited.
Source: SQW


Cameo 3 – RES 2006 activity on the ground

Project: Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008
RES Theme: Quality of Life
Lead RES Action: 96

Activity and investment
Liverpool was selected as European Capital of Culture 2008 in June 2003. Led by the Liverpool Culture Company,
an organisation specifically established by Liverpool City Council to deliver the programme up to and beyond 2008,
the programme involved some 7,000 activities in 2008 and over 41,000 activities across four years (2005-2008),
including full events, performance days, exhibition days, training and educational workshops, either delivered by the
Liverpool Culture Company or arising from direct grants or procurement.
The programme involved total investment of around £130m over the 2003/04 to 2008/09 period, £91m of which was
invested over the RES 2006 period (2006/07 to 2008/09). Public investment over the RES 2006 period included
£51m from Liverpool City Council and £7m from ERDF Objective One. NWDA monitoring data identified some £6.2m
of NWDA expenditure against RES Action 96, including £2m direct to the capital of Culture programme, £1.6m to the
‘Look of the City’ project, and £1.5m for marketing support to be delivered by TMP.

Strategic fit, and contribution to RES 2006
Support to the successful delivery of the European Capital of Culture programme was identified in RES 2006 as a
key priority for the region. Action 96 was recognised as a Transformational Action within the Quality of Life Theme,
linked to relevant Skills and People and Jobs Actions (28, 54 and 55). Consultations for the Assessment suggest
that the strategic impetus provided for the Capital of Culture programme by this identification in RES 2006 was
significant; both for the successful implementation of the programme itself, and in encouraging partners across the
region to recognise the potential benefits that could be leveraged from the activity.
In quantitative terms, a recent impact assessment of the programme found that European Capital of Culture 2008
attracted 9.7 million additional visits to Liverpool in 2008, constituting 35% of all visits to the city in 2008. The
programme generated an estimated economic impact of around £750m (based on estimated direct spend)
attributable directly to the Liverpool ECoC title and events programme.

Source: Creating an impact: Liverpool’s experience as European Capital of Culture, NWDA data, SQW analysis




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       RES delivery ‘in the round’
4.12   Based on the findings of the Thematic Assessments, and the broader cross-cutting evidence,
       what can be said about RES 2006 as a delivery mechanism for economic development in the
       region?


       A consistent framework for activity
4.13   Positively, RES 2006 provided a consistent and resilient framework for regional
       economic development over the 2006-10 period. Specifically:

       •         RES 2006 remained essentially fit-for-purpose as a statement of overall intent over
                 2006-2010, demonstrating resilience to changing circumstances owing to its breadth
                 and lack of rigid prescription, this ensured that RES 2006 remained an important
                 point of reference in the delivery of interventions and the development of new
                 projects/ideas
       •         related to this, RES 2006 enabled partners to identify progressively better the
                 ‘strategic fit’ of their activities to regional priorities, starting to move partners across
                 the North West towards more of a ‘what my activity should do for RES 2006’
                 perspective, rather than ’what’s best for me’ approach
       •         RES 2006 played an important role in embedding further sub-regional working across
                 the North West. At a strategic level, the alignment of sub-regional strategies and
                 action plans to RES 2006 was important in helping to clarify and better prioritise sub-
                 regional activities.13 Operationally, regular (quarterly) meetings were held between
                 SRPs and the NWDA to discuss priorities and progress, with feedback formalised in
                 half-yearly reports on progress against the RES 2006 (including monitoring/feedback
                 on Transformational Actions and stakeholder working).

           Partner and Stakeholder perceptions – RES 2006 as a framework for activity


           ‘The recession has changed the priorities and challenges for partners, but the RES logic
           has remained broadly appropriate over its time’ – Strategic partner/voluntary sector
           ‘RES 2006 was written during growth period, but has still proved valid in the downturn.
           Emphasis changed but it was broad enough to hold its worth’ – Strategic partner/education
           sector



       The differential influence of RES 2006 by community of interest . . .
4.14   RES 2006 played an important influencing role on key regional economic development
       agencies and actors.

4.15   Most notably, the NWDA, was influenced strongly in its activity and resource allocation by
       RES 2006. Over 2006-2010, Agency funding broadly went to where RES 2006 said it
       should, demonstrating publicly a commitment to the strategy that was generally recognised


       13
          This message was evident from the consultations for this assessment, both with the SRPs and others. It was also
       found in the North West Sub-Regional Partnerships - Interim Evaluation completed by SQW in July 2009.



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       and welcomed by partners/stakeholders. On occasion, the NWDA did appear to stray from
       the intent of RES 2006 in its investment decisions. However, the Assessment suggests that
       this only became an issue following the recession as new priorities emerged.

4.16   For other public sector agencies and actors RES 2006 also provided a focus, a stimulus, and a
       recognised framework at both strategic and operational levels. However, the extent to which
       partners ‘owned’ RES 2006 was varied, with a clear ‘spectrum of influence’ evident. This
       spectrum, reflecting the extent to which RES 2006 informed activities, changed behaviours,
       and influenced investment decisions, is depicted in Figure 4-1.

       Figure 4-1: The spectrum of RES 2006’s influence on organisation types




                                                Regional public       Public-sector       Local
                              Sub-Regional      sector delivery          focused       Authorities,      Central    Private
                  NWDA        Partnerships,    agencies i.e. JCP,     representative  Private sector   Government   sector
                              City Regions,       Area-based        groups i.e. CPRE, representative
                                  4NW            regeneration        AoC, Voluntary groups i.e. IoD,
                                              agencies i.e. URCs          sector           EEF




           Easy to detect                       Influence of RES 2006                                     More difficult to detect

       Source: SQW

4.17   As suggested above, aside from the NWDA, the SRPs and 4NW appear to have been most
       directly influenced by RES 2006, although both were involved in its ongoing monitoring.
       That said, the extent to which the SRPs co-ordinated genuinely the delivery of RES 2006 sub-
       regionally appears to be open to question. Although SRPs were identified as leads for a
       significant number of Actions (with collective or individual responsibility for 34 of the 122
       Actions), how close they remained to the delivery of these Actions ‘on the ground’ appears to
       have been mixed.

4.18   Importantly, genuine traction appears to have been limited with Local Authorities. The key
       issue determining this influence appears to have been the nature of the interaction with RES
       2006. That is, where Local Authorities were bidding for funding from NWDA or other
       regional pots, RES 2006 was important, but when they were not the RES’s role in shaping the
       design of services and allocation of resources was limited. The type of authority (upper
       tier/lower tier) does not appear to have been the major factor. Any direct influence of RES
       2006 on the private sector also appears to have been, less surprisingly, limited.

4.19   These conclusions must be caveated. The Assessment did not include a comprehensive
       survey of all Local Authorities or businesses across the region. It may be, therefore, that RES
       2006’s traction was stronger than suggested above. However, our sense from the research is
       that the strategic influence of RES 2006 on both Local Authorities and the private sector, in



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       the round, was open to significant development and improvement. This is an important
       consideration going forward.

4.20   We did not consult with Central Government for the Assessment, so have made no firm
       conclusion on its engagement/reaction to RES 2006. However, the research did not identify
       evidence that RES 2006 led to a ‘bending’ of central resources towards the North West over
       2006-10. Given that a drive to influence Central Government has been a central feature of
       successive RES’, this is somewhat frustrating. That said, the relationship needs to work both
       ways; the Assessment suggests that Government steer to the region on the strategic alignment
       of RES 2006 to national thinking and its role in informing central investment decisions over
       2006-2010 was not as consistent or authoritative as would have been valuable.

4.21   Clearly, in practice, the ‘spectrum of influence’ discussed above was fluid given the range of
       agencies involved, and there will have been exceptions to the rule. For example,
       consultations as part of the Assessment with businesses and business representatives did
       provide examples of RES 2006 informing, if not directly influencing, investment plans and
       business strategies.

4.22   Further, the typology depicted in Figure 4-1 is similar to what we might expect, with the
       probable exception of Local Authorities. So, RES 2006 did influence substantially those
       actors most directly engaged in its delivery, such as the NWDA and SRPs, as well as those,
       albeit less substantially, in wider communities of interest across the region.


       . . . and the influence of RES 2006 over time
4.23   There was also a temporal dimension to RES 2006’s influence. Its influence was
       strongest in 2006, supported by the broad consultation process that informed its
       development. However, this influence reduced over time, even for those agencies most
       closely associated with it.

4.24   A loss of influence is to be expected with any strategy as its novelty and freshness wears off.
       But above and beyond this generality, RES 2006 suffered because it was arguably not as
       flexible as it might have been to adapt to changing contexts. From one perspective, this was
       positive, as inflexibility confers certainty. Its focus and purpose remained ‘in situ’ across the
       2006-10 period, enabling corporate plans and institutional strategies to be framed around RES
       2006 objectives and Themes.

4.25   However, as there was no process for revising RES 2006, when crises did occur, such as the
       recession, the regional response was led through the revision of the NWDA’s Annual
       Corporate Plan14, not the economic strategy. Over time this caused some uncertainty amongst
       strategic and operational partners as to which – RES 2006 or the Agency’s Corporate Plan –
       was preeminent, for the Agency and the wider region. With NWDA as the recognised lead
       for RES 2006, this impacted on the integrity of the strategy as the principal framework for
       economic policy in the region, and no process was in place to claw-back this status.




       14
            NWDA, Corporate Plan 2008-2011 Refresh for 2009/11



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           Partner and Stakeholder perceptions – RES 2006’s influence


           ‘RES 2006 has been used by Local Authorities and helped to prioritise resources
           especially in work with the sub-regional partnerships and groups . . . but for Local
           Authorities its much more about how to access any funding or strategic support from the
           RES rather than as a strategic focus’ – Strategic partner/public sector
           ‘RES 2006 became increasingly less important over time . . . it may not have been
           sufficiently flexible to remain relevant’ – Strategic partner/public sector



       RES 2006 as a ‘regional check-point’ . . .
4.26   RES 2006 represented an important ‘check point’ and strategic reference for partners
       across the North West over 2006-10. In its delivery, it was used by partners effectively
       to make the case, and secure funding, for their existing/planned activities.

4.27   This ‘check point’ role was important in providing a sense of continuity and legitimacy for
       public investment, and was possible given RES 2006’s broad remit and its ‘constructive
       permissiveness’. RES 2006 was also regarded by partners as a ‘statement of intent’ for where
       regional funding should be allocated and distributed. The Assessment suggests that it was
       used by agencies, including, but not limited to the NWDA, in their investment decisions.

4.28   The drawback, however, of this ‘check-point’ status is that the opportunity for RES 2006 to
       ‘commission’ and inform new activity was not realised fully. Projects/activities appear to
       have been designed first, and then aligned to RES 2006, rather than developed directly from
       the priorities and actions set in the strategy. This limited the extent to which RES 2006 was
       able to stimulate and inform new activities to address the on-going and evolving economic
       challenges in the region.


       . . . and wider reflections on delivery
4.29   Two final reflections are important in assessing the delivery of RES 2006.

       •         RES monitoring, though helping to secure ongoing traction, could have been
                 used in a more dynamic fashion. The Annual Assessment reports were the
                 principal mechanism for tracking performance of RES 2006. They provided a useful
                 evidence base, highlighting where progress had been made, where Actions were not
                 being achieved, and where more needed to be done. There are also examples of the
                 Annual Assessments influencing new activity, for example, the NWDA’s ‘Releasing
                 Potential’ research which was stimulated by the 2007 Assessment. However, this
                 Final Assessment suggests that earlier Annual Assessments generally did not provide
                 hard evidence on how RES Actions might be amended and tweaked, or wider
                 strategic lessons for consideration by delivery partners. As such, a more flexible
                 mechanism for monitoring and change management would have been useful to
                 inform priorities and activities in real time.




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•         The perception that RES 2006 was ‘the NWDA’s strategy’ persisted across its
          delivery period. Despite the buy-in to RES 2006 generated through a highly
          inclusive development stage, separating the implementation of RES 2006 from the
          work of the RDA was challenging, and not possible, for some partners. In short, the
          NWDA saw RES 2006 as the ‘region’s strategy’ whilst the wider communities of
          interest saw it as the NWDA’s strategy – as a result there was uncertainty over where
          ultimate accountability lay.



    Chapter Summary

    •   RES 2006 provided a sound strategic framework for economic development across the
        North West, providing a level of resilience to changing circumstances owing to its
        breadth and lack of rigid prescription. It played an important role in enabling partners
        to identify progressively better the ‘strategic fit’ of their activities to shared priorities
        and agendas over 2006-2010, with potential long-term benefits as partners embed this
        focus going forward.
    •   Performance was generally positive in the implementation of Transformational
        Actions, and the Thematic research suggests that RES 2006 delivered additionality in
        activity i.e. it did support activities that would not otherwise have been delivered as
        well, at the same speed, or indeed at all.
    •   RES 2006 provided a consistent ‘check point’ for supporting existing and planned,
        activities although the opportunity for RES 2006 to work to ‘commission’ activity
        seems to have not been realised fully.
    •   The influence of RES 2006 varied considerably across both place and time. The
        influence of the strategy across constituencies of interest was broadly as expected,
        with the exception of Local Authorities, although its influence on all groups did
        appear to reduce over time. As such, looking back, RES 2006 could have been more
        dynamically flexible and responsive to change, with a clear process for its revision put
        in place to ensure it remained a ‘live’ strategy.
    •   A key lesson from RES 2006 is that the institutions responsible for a strategy’s
        success, as well as its implementation, need to be established to secure genuine
        commitment and accountability.




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      5: Regional change and progress


5.1   In the light of the preceding descriptive chapters, this section presents an overview of the
      performance of the North West against the quantitative headline targets set out in RES 2006.
      The section also assesses progress by the region in addressing its underlying productivity
      deficit, as measured by GVA per job and per hour worked, relative to England.

      Performance against RES 2006 Targets
5.2   RES 2006 identified eight headline targets for 2006-2009 (extended to cover 2010). The
      targets drew on econometric modelling and the evidence base developed to underpin the
      strategy, although the targets set were consciously ambitious and challenging in order to
      stimulate and drive forward delivery. They were not tied explicitly to RES Themes (no
      quantitative targets were set by Theme) and they were at a regional level i.e. there were no
      specific sub-regional targets to allow for differential performance across the North West.

5.3   Performance against the targets, tracked over the lifetime of RES 2006, based on the most up-
      to-date data, are summarised below. It is important to note that we cannot yet be certain if the
      targets have been achieved because data is available up to 2008 only, whilst RES 2006
      remained active into 2010. That said, we are able to provide a five-year time-series
      comparing the data available at the time of RES 2006’s development (generally for 2004) to
      that available for this Final Assessment (generally for 2008).


      Target 1: GVA growth

      Target          Measure                     2006          2007          2008          2009          2010
                                               baseline       update        update        update        update
                                            (2004 data)   (2005 data)   (2006 data)   (2007 data)   (2008 data)
      Achieve GVA     Total GVA (£m)           103,393       106,675       111,329       116,466        120,702
      growth above
      the England
      average         GVA growth >           NW: 4.7%      NW: 3.2%      NW: 4.4%       NW: 4.6%      NW: 3.6%
                      England average        Eng: 5.5%     Eng: 3.9%     Eng: 5.5%     Eng: 5.6%     Eng: 3.5%

                      GVA gap to
                                               £19.5bn       £20.3bn       £22.3bn       £23.4bn        £23.8bn
                      England


           TARGET CURRENTLY ACHIEVED
           Regional GVA growth in 2008 was above the England level. However, the GVA gap with England
           increased by c.£4.3bn over the RES 2006 period. Further, GVA growth in the North West in 2008
           owed in part to delay in the impact of the recession on regional performance owing to structural
           differences to England i.e. higher public sector employment and lower reliance on financial and
           business services.




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Target 2: Job creation

Target            Measure                                   2007          2008           2009          2010
                                     2006 baseline
                                                          update        update         update        update
                                       (2004 data)
                                                      (2005 data)   (2006 data)    (2007 data)   (2008 data)
Create 150,000    Number of jobs
net new jobs                                 3.02m         2.98m          3.00m         3.03m         2.99m
                  in the region



      TARGET CURRENTLY NOT ACHIEVED
      The number of jobs in the North West fell over the RES 2006 period by around 33,000



Target 3: Firm formation rate

Target            Measure                                   2007          2008           2009          2010
                                     2006 baseline
                                                          update        update         update        update
                                       (2004 data)
                                                      (2005 data)   (2006 data)    (2007 data)   (2008 data)
Raise the firm    Number of
                                            28,850         29,200        27,300        30,200         27,650
formation rate    formations
15

                  Firm formation
                  per 10,000                   42.3          42.7          39.8           44.0          40.2
                  people


      TARGET CURRENTLY NOT ACHIEVED
      The firm foundation according to the latest data was lower than the baseline position at the
      outset of RES 2006, in both absolute and per head terms.



Target 4: No Qualifications

Target            Measure                                   2007          2008           2009          2010
                                     2006 baseline
                                                          update        update         update        update
                                       (2004 data)
                                                      (2005 data)   (2006 data)    (2007 data)   (2008 data)
Reduce the        Working age
number of         population with          724,600       708,400        663,900       629,700        621,500
people with No    No Quals
Quals by
80,000 and        Proportion of
ensure no         WAP with No                  17.7          16.9          15.8           15.0          14.7
district has      Quals
more than 29%
with No Quals     Districts with
                  more than 29%                   2             0             0              0             0
                  with No Quals


      TARGET CURRENTLY ACHIEVED
      The total number of working age people with No Qualifications fell by over 100,000 over the RES
      2006 period and the latest data show no districts in the region with more than 29% of people
      with No Qualifications.




15
   In November 2009 ONS replaced the ‘Business start-ups and closures: VAT registrations and de-registrations’
publication with a new ‘Business Demography’ dataset. VAT data is no longer updated. The table presents data
from the Business Demography publication. The methodologies vary between the two datasets so the original RES
2006 target to increase the number of new businesses formed to 21,000 per annum is no longer appropriate.




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Target 5: Graduate Qualifications

Target           Measure                                    2007          2008           2009          2010
                                     2006 baseline
                                                          update        update         update        update
                                       (2004 data)
                                                      (2005 data)   (2006 data)    (2007 data)   (2008 data)
Increase the     Number of
number of        people with               840,800       910,500        924,900       955,400        953,100
people with      Graduate
Graduate         Qualifications
Qualifications
(NVQ4+) by       % WAP with               NW: 26.9      NW: 28.4       NW:28.7        NW:29.5      NW: 29.6
120,000          Graduate
                 Qualifications          Eng: 28.3      Eng: 30.0     Eng: 30.9      Eng: 32.1     Eng: 32.2



      TARGET CURRENTLY NOT ACHIEVED, BUT STRONG PROGRES MADE
      The number of people in the workforce with Graduate Qualifications increased by 112,000 over
      the RES 2006 period, 8,000 below the target. That said, the region did not meet the England
      average over this period. The target appeared to assume that the England level would remain
      constant over the period – in fact, to equal the England average would have required an
      increase of around 195,000 over the RES 2006 period.



Target 6: Employment rate

Target           Measure                                                  2008
                                                            2007                        2009           2010
                                     2006 baseline                      update
                                                          update                      update         update
                                       (2004 data)                       (2006
                                                      (2005 data)                 (2007 data)    (2008 data)
                                                                          data)
Increase the     Number of                   2.98m           3.05        3.03m          3.04m         2.96m
number of        people in the
people in the    workforce                  (04/05)       (05/06)       (06/07)        (07/08)       (08/09)
workforce by
83,000 to meet                            NW: 72.8      NW: 72.5      NW: 72.0      NW: 72.1      NW: 70.3
the England      Employment rate
employment                               Eng: 74.7    Eng: – 74.2     Eng: 74.4     Eng: 74.5      Eng: 73.0
rate and
ensure no        Districts with
district has     employment                      4              4             9             9              12
employment       rate less than
rate of <68%     68%



      TARGET CURRENTLY NOT ACHIEVED
      The number of people in the workforce according to the latest data was 20,000 lower than the
      baseline position. The number of people in the workforce did rise over the first four years of the
      RES 2006 period, although the employment rate remained consistently below the England
      average over this period.



Target 7: Deprivation

Target           Measure                                                  2008
                                                            2007                        2009           2010
                                     2006 baseline                      update
                                                          update                      update         update
                                       (2004 data)                       (2006
                                                      (2005 data)                 (2007 data)    (2008 data)
                                                                          data)
Reduce the       No. of areas in               579              -          569               -              -
number of        worst 5%:
areas in the
worst 5%
deprived,        Average resident          £21,923       £22,052       £22,833        £23,864       £24,000
nationally       earnings




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            TARGET CURRENTLY ACHIEVED
            The number of areas in the worst 5% nationally was marginally lower according to the IMD 2007
            than the IMD 2004. However, this data should be treated with caution as no further updates are
            available. As a proxy for deprivation, data shows an increase in average annual resident
            incomes over the RES 2006 period, up by around 9% between 2005-2009.



      Target 8: CO2 Emissions

      Target            Measure                                              2008
                                                                2007                       2009          2010
                                         2006 baseline                     update
                                                              update                     update        update
                                           (2004 data)                      (2006
                                                          (2005 data)                (2007 data)   (2008 data)
                                                                             data)
      CO2 emissions     CO2 emissions                 -          0.57         0.55          0.52             -
                        per £000 GVA
      Reduce CO2
      emissions per £   CO2 emissions
      of GVA                                          -       62,329        61,364        60,792             -
                        (kt)

                        CO2 emissions                 -                                                      -
                        per capita (t)                            9.1          9.0           8.9



            TARGET CURRENTLY ACHIEVED
            CO2 emissions per £000 GVA reduced over the RES 2006 period, with aggregate and per capita
            emissions also reducing.




5.4   As demonstrated above, regional performance against RES 2006 targets has been mixed.
      Four of the eight targets are currently on course to be hit, although the deprivation target must
      be treated with caution owing to the lack of up-to-date data. In three cases, related to
      enterprise, job creation and the employment rate, the target is likely to be missed by some
      distance. The graduate qualifications target has not been quite hit to date, although strong
      progress has been made.

5.5   The impact of the recession, over which RES 2006 has little control, will have played a part
      on these data, and without its consequences we may reasonably expect to see a more positive
      picture, especially in terms of employment. However, this should not mask fully the long-
      term nature of the enterprise and employment deficits. Essentially, even prior to the
      downturn, regional performance did not exhibit consistent growth above national levels
      required to close the GVA gap with England.

5.6   As noted in Section 2, it is not arguably realistic to expect long-term deficits to be turned
      around in a three or four year window; these are structural issues requiring many years of
      solid concerted action. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that the regional GVA gap with
      England in 2008, some three years into the delivery of RES 2006, was £4.3bn larger than at
      the strategy’s outset.

      Productivity performance
5.7   RES 2006 did not set a target explicitly for productivity performance. This, despite the
      overall focus of closing the GVA gap and the underlying rationale for a significant number of
      Actions across its Themes. However, if the overall GVA gap with England is to be closed




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       productivity – as measured by GVA per worker or per hour worked – will need to rise
       substantially.

5.8    Consistent with the moving-out of the overall GVA gap described above, the data suggest that
       at this headline level, the North West has essentially ‘kept pace with’, rather than closed the
       gap to England over the RES 2006 period.

       Figure 5-1: Measures of regional productivity performance

       GVA per job in the North West grew consistently over the RES 2006 period, but relative to England only
       marginal progress was made . . .

                                      50
                                                                                                                   • GVA per job in the North West
                                                      England                             RES 2006                   in 2008 stood at £40,350
                                      45
                                                      North West                           period                    compared to £47,150 in
                                                                                                                     England
                                                                                                                   • The regional performance in
        GVA per job (£000s)




                                      40
                                                                                                                     2008 equated to 86% of the
                                                                                                                     England level, essentially the
                                                                                                                     same proportion as in 2004
                                      35
                                                                                                                     (85%)
                                                                                                                   • In short, over the RES 2006
                                      30                                                                             period the productivity gap to
                                                                                                                     England closed only marginally
                                                                                                                     despite      strong    absolute
                                      25
                                                                                                                     productivity gains
                                       2000    2001       2002     2003   2004     2005    2006      2007   2008


       . . . and output per hour worked, a second indicator of regional productivity, continues to soften relative to
       the UK as a whole

                                      115
                                                 England                                                           • Output per hour worked in the
                                                                                          RES 2006
                                      110        North West                                                          North West reduced year-on-
                                                                                           period
                                                                                                                     year over the RES 2006 period
        Outputs per hour (UK = 100)




                                                                                                                     relative to the UK
                                      105
                                                                                                                   • In 2008, regional output per
                                      100
                                                                                                                     hour worked was equivalent to
                                                                                                                     87.9% of the UK average,
                                                                                                                     compared to 101.7 in England
                                       95
                                                                                                                     as a whole
                                                                                                                   • The North West was ranked 9th
                                       90
                                                                                                                     out of the nine English regions
                                                                                                                     in output per hour worked in
                                       85                                                                            2008
                                        2000   2001       2002     2003   2004     2005    2006      2007   2008


       Source: National Statistics



       Messages for the Assessment
5.9    This Assessment is not about establishing causality between RES 2006 and regional
       economic performance. There are too many factors in play, time-lags in the data, and
       crucially, this Assessment is focused on RES 2006 as a strategy; it is not an impact evaluation
       of the projects/programmes delivered under it.

5.10   Nevertheless, it is important that notable deficits to national socio-economic performance
       persisted across the RES 2006 period, and whilst progress was made, for example, in the
       skills arena, four of the eight headline targets established for RES 2006 have not yet been
       achieved. From a simple headline perspective, the data therefore suggest that RES 2006 has
       not delivered against its founding intent. There are, however, three mitigating factors:



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       •         how pervasive and wide-reaching the effects of the recession have been on the region

       •         the increasingly competitive and challenging economic environment within which the
                 region is operating, in which other places are not standing still

       •         the role of the market and private sector behaviours/activities that drive regional
                 economic performance.

5.11   As such, falling short against a number of the targets set in RES 2006 does not mean the RES
       itself has failed. Rather, the secondary data suggests a number of important and instructive
       learning lessons:

       •         the targets set in RES 2006 were based on future growth scenario projections largely
                 to growth trends, and on a single trajectory. Alternative ‘what-if’ scenarios for the
                 region, against which performance might have been more accurately tracked,
                 especially following the economic downturn, would have been beneficial

       •         as there was no mechanism in place to revise formally the targets in RES 2006, with
                 the impacts of the recession – with, for example, some 75,000 more claimants of Job
                 Seekers Allowance in the North West in August 2009 than one year earlier – a
                 number of the targets established for RES 2006 became undeliverable. Again, a
                 systematic progress for revision to the targets, reflecting of the changed economic
                 conditions, would have been helpful

       •         as the targets were not aligned to RES Themes and Actions a clear link for how RES
                 2006 delivery would impact on condition indicators was not established. An
                 opportunity was missed here to integrate the targets throughout the RES process,
                 thereby helping to frame and inform project appraisal and delivery

       •         the majority of the GVA gap with England at the time of the RES’ development owed
                 to lower workforce productivity. However, RES 2006 did not provide a specific
                 target for raising productivity in the short or longer-term. A clearer focus on the
                 centrality of productivity growth, as articulated in an explicit target for raising
                 productivity, as measured in GVA per job, was a missed opportunity.



           Chapter Summary

           •   Regional performance against the headline targets established in RES 2006 has been
               mixed. Although definitive conclusions are not yet possible because of time-lags in
               the data, currently four of the eight headline targets are likely to be hit, or are
               currently on course to be hit. However, three of the targets, focused on job creation,
               the employment rate, and enterprise are well below the required target.
           •   Crucially, the regional GVA imbalance to England grew over the RES 2006 period,
               whilst the productivity gap of the region’s workers to England improved only
               marginally. Developing an explicit target for regional productivity should be
               considered by partners in future iterations of regional strategies.




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      6: RES 2006 outcomes and contribution


6.1   The previous section focused on the quantitative, this section turns to the qualitative
      contribution of RES 2006, and its constituent Themes, using the concept of Strategic Added
      Value (SAV).

      Understanding Strategic Added Value
6.2   Strategic Added Value (SAV) is the ability of an organisation, intervention, or strategy, to
      deliver benefits over and above its quantitative outputs and outcomes. Developed as part of
      the Impact Evaluation Framework for the RDAs, SAV provides a helpful framework for
      assessing the qualitative contribution of RES 2006, based on five components as follows:

      •       Strategic Leadership and Catalyst

      •       Strategic Influence

      •       Leverage

      •       Synergy

      •       Engagement.

6.3   Assessing SAV is difficult generally because the effects occur through decision-making
      processes and networking/engagement activities, and people do not record ‘their SAV’ as
      they go along, or how they have been influenced. Further, investment decisions, delivery
      emphases and policy perspectives are subject to many different influences, and personal and
      institutional memory of the rationalisation for decisions/actions decays over time.


      SAV contribution of RES 2006
6.4   Reflecting the complexities discussed above, the SAV assessment of RES 2006 is not based
      on a mechanistic ‘scoring’ process. Rather, it draws on the broad range of evidence reviewed
      as part of this study, and in particular the findings of the qualitative consultations completed
      with 98 partners/stakeholders across the region. As such, it presents a reflective, synthetic
      and rounded view of the SAV contribution of RES 2006, and its Themes.

6.5   Based on this approach, the SAV contribution of RES 2006 is presented in Figure 6-1. Three
      points are important to consider when reviewing the findings:

      •       across SAV headings and Themes, the assessment varies, sometimes markedly – this
              reflects the different processes and outcomes relevant to each SAV category

      •       the assessments reflect the collective SAV contribution of RES 2006 and its
              Themes, not a commentary on the performance of individual organisations/actors

      •       the analysis focuses on the observed SAV attributable to RES 2006 itself, rather
              than the contribution of specific project/programmes delivered against it.


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Figure 6-1: Strategic Added Value of RES 2006
                                                               Limited SAV                     Significant SAV

    Strategic Leadership & Catalyst


“articulating and communicating regional development needs, opportunities and solutions to
partners/stakeholders in the region and elsewhere”

The RES 2006 development process delivered improved
consensus and insight amongst regional partners into                      Business
the nature and extent of the region’s economic
challenges, complexities and priorities. Although the
prioritisation in RES 2006 could have been improved, the              Skills & Education
Assessment suggests that the ‘key issues’ facing the North
West were more fully understood as a result of RES 2006,               People & Jobs
through both its development and implementation.
RES 2006 also delivered a strong statement of overall                   Infrastructure
intent and strategic vision – this provided partners with a
cohesive framework against which to design/deliver
activity and played an important role in ‘focusing the mind’ of         Quality of Life
the scale of the challenge to be addressed.

There is evidence of RES 2006 catalysing activities that would not otherwise have progressed at all or as
quickly. This was based on two factors:
•     its recognised status as a resilient and constructively permissive ‘reference point’ against which partners could
      align projects – albeit potentially retrospectively – and secure funding
•     through the identification of specific projects/issues as RES Actions that provided a strategic focus in taking
      activity forward and in securing funding and engagement i.e. University of Cumbria, Media City
Underpinning these findings, RES 2006 had excellent recognition within the North West, most notably amongst
public sector partners, but also across the voluntary and community, and to a lesser extent the private sector.
Although, there was a close association of RES 2006 with the NWDA, it clearly ‘set the regional agenda’ in an
economic development context over the 2006-10 period.

                                                               Limited SAV                      Significant SAV

    Strategic Influence



“defining the distinctive roles of partners, and facilitating partners and stakeholders to commit
to shared strategic objectives and activities”

RES 2006 identified ‘who does what’ in the North West in
an economic development context and the ‘Action Lead’
device secured initial buy-in, although this reduced over
                                                                           Business
time, partly because RES 2006 was not ‘refreshed’.
However, the large number of Actions limited the extent to
which RES 2006 ‘led’ partners to commit to shared                     Skills & Education
objectives/priorities, and its potential to influence strategically
the activity taken forward.                                             People & Jobs
Essentially, RES 2006 validated and embedded the existing
role of, and further clarified the relationships between,                Infrastructure
partners across the region through tying, for the first time in
the strategy document, specific organisations to RES Actions.
This helped to ensure that RES 2006 provided a robust                    Quality of Life
framework against which partners could align
interventions to the regional agenda, reducing
duplication of effort and resource.

RES 2006 also raised the profile and awareness of specific policy themes and places e.g. the Skills and
Education Theme as a whole, the economic potential and contribution of tourism and the visitor economy, and
specific places such as Preston, West Cumbria, and Blackpool. However, in other areas, less was achieved e.g. the
importance to the region of manufacturing, and the contribution of the voluntary and community sector. The
development and implementation by NWDA of a regional climate change and sustainable consumption action plan,
supported by wide ranging regional partnership, is evidence of strategic leadership (under the Business Theme and
with close links to Quality of Life), although the Assessment suggests that RES 2006’s broader influence on securing
climate change as a mainstream policy priority could have been optimised to a greater degree. Further, observed
strategic influence by RES 2006 on changing the behaviours of Local Authorities, and, less unexpected, the private
sector, was limited.




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                                                            Limited SAV                         Significant SAV

 Leverage


“mobilising partners/stakeholder to commit resources to economic development activity”

NWDA monitoring data demonstrates significant leverage
secured from public and private sources supported by NWDA,              Business
most notably in the Business and People and Jobs Themes.
However, the Assessment suggests limited evidence of
RES 2006 itself (as opposed to projects or access to RDA           Skills & Education
funding) consistently and substantively ‘bending the
spend’ of partners not engaged centrally in regional                 People & Jobs
economic development activity.
This is also shown in NWDA evaluation evidence; that the             Infrastructure
dynamic leverage influence of RES 2006 was limited over the
2006-10 period i.e. although leverage funding was delivered
                                                                     Quality of Life
for NWDA projects allocated to specific RES Actions, the
attribution of this to RES 2006 was limited.

Rather, the SAV of RES 2006 in a leverage context, was in endorsing, legitimising and providing a context for,
existing and planned expenditure, rather than dynamically bending or influencing new investment in the
region. That said, the lack of robust monitoring data from partners limits the extent to which the leverage of RES
2006 can be assessed accurately.
Consultations with major regional businesses and business representative organisations suggest that RES 2006
helped to ‘set a framework and environment’ for private investment. This informed business decisions and may
have helped to secure investment for the region. However, the additionality of this benefit is likely to be low with
commercial drivers paramount. Nevertheless, RES 2006 does not appear to have been seen as a negative influence
on, or hindrance to, effective business investment decisions and market performance of the North West by the
business community.

                                                            Limited SAV                         Significant SAV

 Synergy


“improved information exchange/knowledge transfer and coordination and/or integration of the
design and delivery of interventions”

There is some evidence that RES 2006 and its
focus/delivery improved linkages and synergies between
policy domains e.g. the integration of transport into the
economic agenda through the focus in RES 2006 was helpful                Business
and constructive, and the inclusion of higher education and
skills as increasingly key elements of the economic agenda.         Skills & Education
However, the down-side of Thematic focus of RES 2006 was
the reduced opportunity to join-up and integrate fully the            People & Jobs
issues and multi-dimensional challenges facing the North
West. As a result, the Assessment suggests that genuine
                                                                      Infrastructure
integration across the Themes of RES 2006 was less well
developed than it could have been and the synergy of
RES 2006 was reduced as a result. The large number of                 Quality of Life
Actions and objectives within RES 2006 also reduced the
potential for synergy outcomes to be delivered by the
strategy.

The completion and dissemination of RES Annual Assessments by the NWDA were an important
contribution to the regional evidence base, and the process of collating the Assessment helped to improve
knowledge transfer and exchange with partners across the region. However, these benefits were not
maximised as the process did not appear to be ‘fed back’ consistently into activities and decision making in ‘real time’
as comprehensively as might be expected.




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                                                               Limited SAV                    Significant SAV

       Engagement


      “engagement of stakeholders in the design and delivery of regional and sub-regional priorities
      and programmes”

      The RES 2006 development process over 2005/06
      delivered strong engagement outcomes. It brought key
      stakeholders together in establishing regional priorities and
      developed partnership working. Both at its development
      stage and in implementation RES 2006 also facilitated               Business
      constructive dialogue between partner agencies at both
      strategic and operational levels, and in formal and             Skills & Education
      informal guises.
      Increased sub-regional and city-regional engagement has          People & Jobs
      been evident across the North West over the RES 2006
      period     i.e.  Manchester     and   Liverpool   city-region
                                                                        Infrastructure
      developments, the development of MAAs in Lancashire etc.
      The influence of the RES on these developments is not
      straightforward, but the increased recognition of place and       Quality of Life
      city-regional economies initiated in RES 2006 played a
      role in creating the conditions for these developments to
      be progressed and engaging actors in city-regional and
      other functional-geography activities.

      Levels of engagement SAV varied across the Themes of RES 2006, with the Assessment suggesting that the
      additional engagement benefits generated were most significant, and potentially sustainable, in the Skills and
      Education and people and Jobs Themes. The Quality of Life Theme did help to engage partners, albeit in its
      constituent strands rather than ‘across the piece’.
      Source: SQW


      Bringing the messages together
6.6   RES 2006 delivered significant SAV benefits to the North West and its communities of
      interest. The development of RES 2006 was important, moving-on strongly a process of
      partnership working, shared vision and collective focus on the key issues facing the region.
      As such, developing the strategy arguably proved to be as valuable as the resultant document
      itself.

6.7   As in other regions, there are ever-present tensions between places and agencies, and these
      were found in the consultation process for this Assessment. RES 2006 has not ‘solved’ these
      issues in full. But, it did progress the North West, and its places, towards a more partnership-
      based model of economic development, where the parts are located in the context of the
      whole.

6.8   Owing to the results of the development of RES 2006, and the ongoing partnership working
      environment that it fostered, RES 2006 was also significant in securing engagement for the
      subsequent strategic prioritisation process over 2009/10 in formulating what became the draft
      ‘Future North West: Our Shared Priorities’ (the successor to RS2010).

6.9   Further, it is worth emphasising that RES 2006 was ‘known and used’. The danger of
      strategy is that the document is seen as the end in itself, and ‘sits on the shelf’ once agreed.
      Encouragingly this was not the case with RES 2006. The benefits delivered by the strategy,
      particularly in terms of Engagement and Strategic Leadership and Catalyst were sustained
      throughout its delivery period.




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6.10   Overall, in SAV terms, whilst RES 2006 did not deliver a transformation in qualitative
       outcomes compared to previous strategy efforts, it made a significant contribution to taking
       forward economic ‘thinking and doing’ across the North West over its delivery period.



        Chapter Summary

        •   A rounded assessment of RES 2006 needs to look in detail at the qualitative outcomes
            delivered, couched in terms of Strategic Added Value (SAV). Too often these
            qualitative benefits of strategy efforts are given insufficient attention. An important
            learning lesson is that capturing the SAV-based contribution of strategy efforts, as far
            as practical within ‘real time’, has to be done better going forward.
        •   RES 2006 delivered significant outcomes in terms of the Strategic Leadership and
            Catalyst and Engagement elements of SAV, with the initial development stage of the
            process an important contributory factor to this.
        •   The Assessment suggests that in the round, the SAV contribution of RES 2006 was
            important, and helped to move-on partners across the North West in their economic
            development capacity and capability, with major potential for longer-term benefits to
            be delivered as a result.




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      7: Learning the Lessons


7.1   This concluding section of the Assessment brings together the key Learning Lessons from the
      experience of RES 2006 for partners to review and assess.

7.2   The Learning Lessons draw on both:

      •      those things where activities/delivery went to plan, confirming that things were set-up
             and implemented effectively and that need to be taken forward, sustained, and
             embedded

      •      those things that did not go as anticipated or, in hindsight, were not set-up or designed
             as effectively as they could have been, and where things might be done differently in
             the future.

7.3   Against each Learning Lesson is provided SQW’s independent and reflective view on its
      implications for the future.


      Learning Lessons
      •      Learning Lesson 1: The process of consultation and engagement in drawing up
             RES 2006 demonstrated the value of an open and engaging process in strategy
             development. Formal and informal partnership and relationships were initiated
             and/or strengthened, and the challenges faced by the North West widely
             debated, articulated and communicated.
                     Implications for the future: A well-managed and open engagement process is
                     vital to securing buy-in and developing effective partnership working and
                     trust. However, going forward, increasing partnership maturity will be
                     required – partners need to think for, and be committed to, the collective, not
                     just their own constituency or specific interest group.

      •      Learning Lesson 2: RES 2006 proved a resilient overarching framework against
             which partners could focus their activity and resources in a period of what
             turned out to be significant economic uncertainty. But this meant that RES
             2006 became somewhat ‘locked at a point in time’, used principally as a ‘check-
             point’ to justify interventions, rather than as a tool for enabling partners to
             respond dynamically to new realities.
                     Implications for the future: Future strategy efforts in the North West should
                     be of a more dynamic character, remaining topical and current whilst at the
                     same time bearing in mind the fundamental issues faced across its places and
                     communities. For the future, a rolling three-to-five year strategy and action
                     plan, annually revised and amended should be considered. Commissioning,
                     rather than responsively funding existing activity, should be a hallmark.




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                                An Extended Annual Assessment of the North West RES 2006
                                                                            A Final Report


•   Learning Lesson 3: RES 2006 provided an effective ‘translation’ mechanism to
    align NWDA’s funding to regional priorities, highlighting the importance of the
    role of the Agency in securing strategic engagement from partners over 2006-
    2010. Although for some it was hard to tell ‘where the RES stopped and the
    NWDA began’, the commitment of the Agency to the implementation of RES
    2006 was key in the progress it delivered across its five Themes.
           Implications for the future: The Assessment has highlighted the importance
           of engaging local authorities centrally in the process of economic
           development prioritisation and delivery, to ensure that established
           relationships and linkages are maintained and deepened, especially as
           resources become tighter. Further, it is vital that those leading the strategy
           ‘walk the walk, as well as talk the talk’ consistently in their decision-making
           processes and investment decisions. Straying from the remit of a strategy to
           support ‘pet projects’ is unhelpful in terms of maintaining wider partner
           alignment and focus.

•   Learning Lesson 4: RES 2006 embraced spatial thinking more fully than
    previous RES iterations. This moved-on helpfully regional thinking on
    functional geographies, and for those places identified in RES 2006 Actions as
    regional priorities, delivered tangible benefits.
           Implications for the future: Future strategy efforts increasingly need to focus
           their attention on ‘real’ economic areas and functional geographies to ensure
           that public investment and strategic focus aligns with, and contributes to,
           market opportunities and trends where possible, and addresses genuine
           market failures where they persist and arise.

•   Learning Lesson 5: The explicit focus of RES 2006 on the scale of the North
    West’s deficits to England, in GVA and employment terms in particular,
    provided an important ‘focusing of minds’ on the challenges faced across the
    region and its places. However, no specific target was set for productivity, and
    the ‘logic chain’ linking the Actions proposed and the targets set could have been
    more clearly identified, both issues that should be considered going forward.
           Implications for the future: Future strategy efforts need to ensure that the
           ‘wealth creation’ imperative, as reflected in productivity measures, is evident
           in both the targets and objectives/priorities set, and that a clear link is
           established to understand the impact of the strategy on productivity
           performance. In short, economic strategies need to focus at heart on getting
           the underlying economic basics right, whilst not ignoring the social and
           environmental issues and consequences.

•   Learning Lesson 6: Formal accountability for the successful delivery and
    performance of a strategy needs to be clearly established. This was arguably not
    the case for RES 2006. A partnership approach to the design and delivery of
    RES 2006 was an important step-forward, with specific delivery leads for the
    first time allocated to specific Actions. But this established roles, rather than
    ultimate responsibilities and accountabilities, for the strategy’s performance.



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                                 An Extended Annual Assessment of the North West RES 2006
                                                                             A Final Report


           Implications for the future: Who ‘owns’ a strategy and is accountable
           formally for its success, or otherwise, needs to be clearly identified from the
           outset of future strategy efforts in the North West.             Without this
           accountability for performance – where success is recognised, and
           weaknesses are tackled – genuine traction will not be secured.

•   Learning Lesson 7: There is a continuing need for greater prioritisation in
    economic thinking and doing in the North West. RES 2006, whilst more focused
    than earlier iterations, still ‘tried to do too much’. Further, what needs to be
    done for the North West in the round given the economic linkages and
    relationships across the area needs to be a core component of this increasingly
    prioritised approach. Owing to RES 2006’s inclusivity in development, it was
    perceived by some to be ‘micromanaging’ sub-regional and local issues.
           Implications for the future: Bolder and more mature decision-making is
           required – underpinned by a sound evidence base recognising the multi-
           dimensional drivers of economic development across places, sectors, and
           communities – which injects focus and rigour to strategy efforts. A
           commitment to maximising Return on Investment as resources tighten and
           budgets are stretched will be key, as will the principles of ‘tree-tops’ thinking
           and subsidiarity i.e. shared priorities for those things that are genuinely
           strategic, and activity delivered at a regional level only when doing so is
           more effective than at a sub-regional or local scale.

•   Learning Lesson 8: The Thematic approach of RES 2006 was appropriate in
    design. However, going forward, there needs to be greater emphasis placed on
    integration and cross-thematic working, reflecting real world complexity.
           Implications for the future: There is a need for greater clarity in, and a more
           consistent approach to, identifying the linkages between policy Themes in
           future strategy efforts. With fewer actions these linkages could be better
           highlighted. Crucially, going forward, the importance of energy, carbon and
           resources as influencers on economic development need to be recognised.

•   Learning Lesson 9: The monitoring of RES 2006 provided evidence on activity
    and progress in delivery, but did not capture the strategic influence of the
    strategy on partner investment and behaviours. As a result RES monitoring did
    not drive dynamic change to Actions in the way that it could have.
           Implications for the future: Good strategy involves establishing priorities and
           outcomes to be achieved and the processes/systems for accurate monitoring.
           Future strategy efforts should ensure mechanisms are in place to track, as
           systematically and comprehensively as possible, the inputs allocated to, and
           outputs generated from, activities within its scope. All partners engaged in
           delivery need to monitor against the collective strategy to allow for accurate
           attribution, evaluation and impact assessment. Further, monitoring data and
           feedback should be used dynamically to formally revise actions/activities i.e.
           monitoring for learning, not compliance, purposes.




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                                           An Extended Annual Assessment of the North West RES 2006
                                                                                       A Final Report


      •       Learning Lesson 10: Scenario planning and growth trajectories should be
              embedded within strategy to ensure that it is ‘future-proofed’ against unforeseen
              changes, and is able to respond flexibly and quickly. With hindsight, RES 2006
              was based on a largely straight-line view of regional growth which meant the
              potential for anticipating alternative scenarios, which the recession
              demonstrated, was missed. In part this contributed to RES falling short of a
              number of its headline targets.
                      Implications for the future: Robust and evidence based scenarios predicated
                      on independent econometric modelling and analysis, for example, in terms of
                      GVA and employment targets, should be part of the strategy development
                      process, and contained within the targets and aspirations it sets.

      •       Learning Lesson 11: The principal potential value of a regional economic
              strategy (or similar strategy effort) is its role as a process and framework to
              inform, guide and influence the behaviours, investments and decisions of
              partners; its role is an enabler, rather than a direct generator of quantitative
              outcomes and impacts. This value is most effectively captured in the
              categorisation of Strategic Added Value.
                      Implications for the future: Alongside improved systems for the monitoring
                      of quantitative data, future strategy efforts should establish at their outset a
                      clear and consistent framework and methodology for capturing, in ‘real time’,
                      SAV as and when it occurs.


      In closing . . .
7.4   This Assessment represents the first time that a North West RES has been subject to a
      reflective, qualitative and independent review at its close. As such, this work itself is
      testament to the increasing maturity of those engaged in the economic development of the
      region, and their willingness to understand the effects that their work is having on the North
      West’s people, places and businesses. Further, overall, the Assessment is a positive and
      supportive one.

7.5   RES 2006 was not perfection, rather a step on the journey, so there are lessons to be learned.
      Crucially, these lessons are relevant to all partners engaged in RES 2006, and those engaged
      in discussions and thinking on the future economic development landscape of the region.
      They need to be taken-on-board, collectively, to ensure that the knowledge, capacity, and
      learning developed through RES 2006 is successfully carried forward into future economic
      development activity across the North West.




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