My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has not made any specific assessment of the financial support given by the South East Regional Development Agency (SEEDA) and English Partnerships to the regeneration of derelict sites in the former East Kent coalfield. However, other related assessments have taken place.
As part of the Department's sponsorship framework of the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), a general assessment of the performance of the RDAs is undertaken by the National Audit Office in the form of Independent Performance Assessment (IPA). This assesses five criteria; ambition, prioritisation, capacity, performance management and achievement. The last IPA report on SEEDA was published in November 2006 (and can be found on SEEDA's website: www.seeda.co.uk).
More specifically, SEEDA itself commissioned consultants BBP and SQW to undertake an interim evaluation of the East Kent coalfields programme. The purpose of this was to establish the impact of regeneration activity to date in the East Kent coalfields area and to assess how well the coalfields programme has addressed its targets. This report was presented to SEEDA in August 2007 in draft and is currently being refined to include 2007 data.
BBP and SQW were previously commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) to conduct an independent evaluation of the coalfields regeneration programme in England. This was published in March 2007. The report provided strong evidence of the positive impact of English Partnerships' National Coalfields Programme on our former coalfield communities, including the East Kent coalfields. The report, 'Regenerating the English Coalfields—Interim evaluation of the coalfield regeneration programmes' is available on the Communities and Local Government website: