[holding answer 25 January 2010]: As set out in the HM Treasury guidance ‘The Green Book—Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government’, the ability to judge how effectively Government resources have been expended is essential to their strategic long-term management. We have therefore commissioned a full, robust and independent evaluation of the £140 million Free Swimming Programme. This includes a detailed online survey of swimmers and non-swimmers to supplement questions placed on the Active People Survey, as well as case studies of participating and non-participating local authorities. The cost of the PricewaterhouseCoopers contract for the evaluation of the Free Swimming Programme is £379,000, less than 0.3 per cent. of the total cost of the programme. The contract is managed by Sport England on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
We expect two reports to be published—a ‘year one’ report in early summer 2010, and a final report in early summer 2011.
This analysis will provide useful information about the overall impact of the free swimming programme on swimming participation, as well as evidence about ‘what works’ in different contexts to drive increased swimming participation, enabling better targeting of future investment.