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Evaluating Social Policy and Regeneration Initiatives

Article

Deptford City Challenge Ltd (DCC) was one of the first round or 'pacemaker' City Challenge regeneration partnerships. It was funded by central government to operate in the northern wards of the London Borough of Lewisham from 1992-97.

Deptford City Challenge Evaluation Project was based at CUCR and was the largest single evaluation of any of the City Challenge partnerships.

Background

  • Deptford City Challenge was a government funded urban regeneration agency which was in operation between April 1992 and March 1997
  • In 1993 the Deptford City Challenge Evaluation Project (DCCEP) was established to produce an independent evaluation of the work of DCC
  • The evaluation team aimed to produce research that would feed into the policy and strategies of the DCC
  • The effectiveness of DCC funded projects was assessed on both an ongoing and long-term basis
  • All DCCEP reports are available to the public
  • The research team consisted of a team of five researchers with a half-time administrator together with two Project Co-Directors

Funding and accountability

  • It was a Department of the Environment (DoE) requirement that all the City Challenges are independently evaluated
  • DCCEP reported directly to an independent evaluation board and was supported by an independent advisory group
  • DCCEP received its funding from the DoE through DCC

The research project

The task of DCCEP was to provide an independent and objective evaluation of Deptford City Challenge. In examining City Challenge work we aimed to offer 'timely and policy relevant research' that would contribute to strategic decision making. The research provided an overview of the way City Challenge has changed Deptford and, through a number of long and short term projects, highlighted key issues arising from the process of City Challenge.

Although we were interested in all work carried out by DCC, the evaluation focused on three areas in particular.

The first of these identified quantifiable differences that were made by the expenditure of City Challenge money. This element of the work looked at trends in employment, education, housing, training, transport, social amenities and levels of poverty that compared the Deptford City Challenge area with other areas.

The second area of work looked in depth at the impact made by DCC on the fields of training and employment, housing, community involvement and empowerment, in and through the `regeneration' of the Deptford area. This aspect of the work involved working with local people to assess their opinions of Deptford City Challenge over its lifespan, following through projects over a period of several years and feeding back into the policy making process the opinions and experiences of those who were affected by the work of Deptford City Challenge.

The third area of work looked at the processes involved in urban regeneration work that were introduced by Deptford City Challenge. This part of the evaluation involved examining the impact of DCC on the political landscape of Lewisham, looking at the ways in which DCC worked as a new regeneration agency and how it related to the private sector, the voluntary sector, the local authority, the local community and central government.

Policy relevance and feedback to both local population and DCC were an important part of the evaluation project. The involvement of local groups and communities in the DCC process was essential to its success; likewise DCCEP seeked to involve local people and organisations wherever possible, primarily through action-research working with the people of Deptford.

Publications

Research Team

Michael Keith
Nicolas Rose
Aileen O'Gorman
Phillippa Superville
Elsa Guzman-Flores
Fran Tonki