Since 1975, Scotland has been a major beneficiary of European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF), with an estimated investment of £4 billion between inception and 2006, a further £820 million allocated for the period 2007/13, and approximately £780m for the 2014/20 programme. ESIF, European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programmes, are seen by many as a valuable part of Scotland’s regional development policy and their loss could have a significant impact upon job creation and business activity.
Over late 2021 and early 2022, EKOS were commissioned by the Scottish Government – as the Managing Authority for the fund – to undertake:
- an evaluation of delivery structures and partnership working for the 2014/20 programme. The aim of this research was to analyse, assess and evaluate the effectiveness of the structures and partnership models used to deliver the 2014/20 ESF and ERDF programmes. More specifically, this included an assessment of the Lead Partner and Delivery Agent delivery model utilised for delivery of the programmes. The evaluation report has been published by the Scottish Government; and
- an evaluation of the implementation of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2014-2020 programmes in the Highlands and Islands region of Scotland. This study focuses on the experience of the 2014-2020 programmes within the H&I, where economic and remote geographic conditions are considered unique, as recognised by its status as a Transition Region. The evaluation brief set out a range of questions to be addressed, covering aspects of the programme set up, delivery and legacy, with the aim to draw lessons for future replacement funding programmes. The evaluation report has been published by the Scottish Government.