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Research Commissioned by the Previous Administration

Volume 542: debated on Tuesday 27 March 2012

Today the Government are publishing the 10th group of reports presenting the findings from research projects commissioned by the previous Administration.

There is a significant backlog of unpublished reports that were produced by the previous Government and we have been publishing these in groups themed on a particular topic.

The reports and findings are of general policy interest, but do not relate to forthcoming policy announcements. We are publishing these documents in the interests of transparency and as part of our freedom of information commitment to publish the results of all commissioned research.

The 14 reports published today represent the findings from nine research projects at a total cost of £708,000. These findings cover the topic of communities.

(i) Engaging Behaviour: Behavioural economics and citizen engagement. This study considered the application of behavioural economics to explain the motivations for people to take part in civic activities such as petitioning and volunteering, particularly among people who ‘buck the trends’ among their peers.

(ii) Quirk asset transfer demonstration programme. This report examines the attitudes of councillors, council officers and community organisations involved in the Advancing Assets for Communities demonstration programme. It explores actual and potential benefits of the programme; perceptions of the risks associated with asset transfer; and how success can be evaluated.

(iii) Process evaluation for Communitybuilders. This process evaluation assessed the implementation and operation of the £70 million Communitybuilders fund. It aimed to look at whether the programme was working as planned, understand the early successes and failures, and identify lessons for the programme as it progressed.

(iv) Sharing data to improve local employment outcomes: Evaluation of the local data share pilots. This report considers the impact and implications of a project to test ways of sharing data in order to tackle worklessness at a local level, conducted jointly between Department for Work and Pensions and DCLG in 2009-10. The report focuses on the factors that helped the three pilot sites progress their data sharing, factors that the pilot sites found to be more challenging and the results of the data share.

(v) Decentralisation outcomes: A review of evidence and analysis of international data. This research reviewed the extensive literature on definitions of decentralisation and empirical research identifying the outcomes of decentralisation. The authors also analysed two large European survey data sets and used econometric modelling techniques to assess the contribution of decentralisation to well-being and satisfaction with Government/democracy/health/education.

(vi) The benefits of meaningful interaction: Rapid review and assessment of the existing literature. This study reviewed the existing literature on successful approaches to and the benefits of meaningful interaction for individuals, neighbours and communities, for example in terms of improvements in health, welfare and life in general.

(vii) Evaluation of the REACH national role model programme.

(viii) Media representations of black young men and boys: Report of the REACH media monitoring project.

These two reports resulted from the REACH programme which was led jointly by the black community and the previous Government and was designed to raise the aspirations and achievements of black boys and young black men. The evaluation and the media analysis project were commissioned in order to support the delivery of the REACH role modelling programme. The media analysis project was based on a survey of media sources in 2008.

(ix)-(xiv) Six reports presenting the findings from a series of projects which tested the feasibility of tracking central Government funding into deprived neighbourhoods. The projects sought to discern whether such neighbourhoods received a relatively greater proportion of mainstream funding. The projects covered liveability, crime, worklessness, health care and Department for Education funding.

(ix) Mapping liveability spend and outcomes: A scoping study.

(x) Mapping crime reduction and prevention funding.

(xi) Mapping the flow of Government spending on tackling worklessness into disadvantaged areas.

(xii) Developing a toolkit to map health care expenditure in local areas.

(xiii) Mapping the flow of Department for Education funding to disadvantaged areas and investigating the outcomes of this funding: A feasibility study and research review.

(xiv) Unlocking Capacity—lessons learned from four connecting communities areas

These reports and findings are of general policy interest, but do not relate to forthcoming policy announcements and are not a reflection of the current Government’s policies and priorities. DCLG is publishing these reports in the interests of transparency.

Copies of these reports are available on the DCLG website and in the Library of the House.

The Government are concerned to ensure its research delivers best possible value for money for the taxpayer and that sums expended are reasonable in relation to the public policy benefits obtained. DCLG has in place scrutiny and challenge processes for research. All new projects will be scrutinised to ensure the methodology is sound and that all options for funding are explored at an early stage. This includes using existing work from other organisations, joint funding projects with other Departments or organisations and taking work forward in-house.