Local and combined authorities are developing investment plans that set out how they will use their UKSPF funding. The window for submitting these investment plans opens on 30 June and closes on 1 August.
Before places hit the ‘submit’ button, here are some questions to help you finalise your plan.
What’s the evidence?
Now is a good time to take a final look at your evidence base. What are the strengths and gaps? Tips on making best use of evidence can be found in our guidance on developing a Local Industrial Strategy.
Is it clear how the outcomes and objectives in the Investment Plan address the challenges and need you’ve identified through the evidence? Some objectives listed in the Government guidance may be more relevant than others.
Have you made any leaps in logic?
For example, 8-hour packages of support to potential entrepreneurs in areas of high unemployment, may increase the local business birth rate, but might not create many new jobs on its own.
In our workshop Making use of logic models; we recommend the use of logic models: the key is to test the links between each step. Are there clear links between your need and context, existing resource and planned expenditure (inputs), mix of interventions (activities), deliverables (outputs), outcomes, and objectives (impact)?
Start with the end in mind, and ask ‘How?’
Another way to check the links is to ask ‘how’ and see if the preceding step helps to answer that question. Start with the objective—the impact you’re looking to make. For example, based on local need you’ve identified that one objective is to increase private sector investment.
- How will your deliverables (outputs) help increase private sector investment?
- How will your interventions achieve those deliverables?
- How will your available capacity, budgeted expenditure and any in-kind support (inputs) resource the interventions?
If you find gaps, you may need to adjust the mix of interventions or the balance of resources for each intervention.
Do your numbers make sense?
For each step, the numbers should follow the logic—you want to make sure you don’t have any gaps in your arithmetic. As an example, if thinking about an intervention on skills provision:
- For inputs: Looking at the interventions you want to run, does the resource and expenditure look adequate? Do you need to account for more time to liaise with existing learning providers? Looking at the local context, would you need more or less resource focused on recruitment?
- For outputs: In estimating completed training sessions (outputs), have you assumed you’ll start recruiting the day you receive funding?
- For outcomes: If you’ve said you’ll have 50 people complete a skills session, is it likely that all 50 will go on to find employment?
Double check with delivery officers or partnering organisations to make sure numbers are realistic.
Have you allowed for enough budget for monitoring and evaluation?
For any outcomes and deliverables that you’ve included in the investment plan, make sure you’ve got the resource to collect and analyse the relevant data.
- Have you given resource to finalise and implement your monitoring and evaluation plan?
- Do you need additional expenditure for partners or suppliers to collect data?
- Will you need to fund data collection and analysis after the delivery has finished?
We would love to see impact evaluations coming from local places in UKSPF, but where that isn’t possible, it’s important to gather and make use of good quality monitoring data. If you are thinking about an impact evaluation, do get in touch.