Examination of Witnesses(Questions 20-39)|
MONDAY 28 OCTOBER 2002
20. Even at this early stage perhaps your thoughts
are turning to how to make sure any of the benefits through the
initiative will remain after the initiative comes to an end. Can
you give us some thoughts about what you would like to see built
in to the mechanisms to make sure that the good outcomes which
are achieved carry through into the future?
(Rt Revd Jones) There are certain objectives such
as the housing, the crime statistics, the fear of crime and the
health statistics and you hope that in each of those you would
see significant progress. I go back to my previous point. What
in the end will make Kensington a place in which people will choose
to live and work is whether it functions as a community. I know
that is an overworked word, but it is a place where people feel
they can care for each other and that there are opportunities
for them to shape their own future. I would hope for example that
with the City Academy we shall have a means whereby not just children
and young people will be equipped, but parents as well. For example,
whereas many schools welcome the parent into the school, we hope
to create a school in which the teachers will be as welcome in
the young people's homes as the parents will be welcome in the
school. If life-long learning is the new mantra, then who are
the learning specialists in our community? They are the teachers.
Why should their skills not be available not just to the children
and young people but to the parents as well? We hope very much
that we are going to be creating a different sort of community
where people are much more involved than they are at the moment.
21. What is the most important thing that you
are seeing happening now which did not happen before and must
continue to happen in the future to ensure that the benefits of
the initiative are not lost? What is the single most important
difference to people that you are seeing at the moment from what
happened in the past?
(Rt Revd Jones) You might think this is too wishy-washy,
but it is people believing in themselves, people staying in the
community, not moving out, people staying and believing in themselves
and their own ability to make the community a better place to
live and work. If people start moving away, we shall have failed.
If people stay and new people come because there is a good academy,
there is opportunity to work, it is a place where they feel safe,
then I think we shall have succeeded.
22. Was the area which was chosen for New Deal
the right area? Did it take account of local wishes? If this process
starts to happen and the area starts to improve, is there a danger
that as the area improves some of the people who live there now
will not feel able to continue living there in the future or some
of the social problems will be displaced into other areas and
as they get displaced other areas will become less popular and
less desirable in which to live as Kensington improves itself.
(Rt Revd Jones) You have just spoken in a way which
echoes a discussion at our last board meeting. It is the local
residents who are saying that it is not good enough for them to
devise strategies which simply push people out, push the asylum
seekers out into another community. They themselves feel responsible
for everybody within the community, so it has to benefit. A phrase
I use is "urban diabetes". We are in danger in some
of our cities of suffering from urban diabetes where you get the
blood pumping round prestigious projects which everybody shows
off and says they are wonderful, but the blood does not get to
the extremities of the body. So you have communities on the edge
which atrophy. What we have to make sure is that the valves are
open so that these prestigious projects, the blood, the wealth
of them, is actually channelled to the whole of the community.
23. Do you have any specific ideas at your board
meeting on how you are going to make that happen?
(Rt Revd Jones) At every board meeting there is yet
another attempt to make sure that does happen, whether we are
talking about health or crime or education. That is what we are
all about. We are not about creating an exclusive community which
gets rid of all its social problems and dumps them in Toxteth
or Everton or wherever. We are talking about changing, transforming
the whole community and that those people who are marginalised
are embraced within the community and not further marginalised.
Yes, you can have false regeneration simply by dumping your problems
in a different part of the city. That is not acceptable to the
board of Kensington.
24. How local is local? How does the neighbourhood
approach of New Deal for Communities fit together with citywide
Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) and indeed regionwide regeneration
policies? Can you give examples of where things are going either
well or badly?
(Rt Revd Jones) It is all integrated. The housing
is integrated into a city housing programme. That is one of the
difficulties, because if you are saying that it is to be community
led and yet you are bound into a programme which is citywide or
regionwide, you do not have a lot of autonomy. Especially when
people are saying you have to have spent the money by X time and
you are awaiting a decision about Objective 1, or about the city
housing strategy, you are really boxed in and powerless. We do
recognise that you have to do things on a micro and a macro scale
and it is choosing which things are better done on a micro scale
and which things are better done on a macro scale. I do not know
what the answer to this is, but one of the big questions is: what
is the optimum size of a community which can shape its own future?
Is it 1,000 people, is it 4,000, 5,000? I know some work has been
done on this but if we are talking about self-determination of
local communities, that is an issue which has to be addressed.
25. There is a view that people exist in numerous
communities: the community of work, the community of leisure,
the community of neighbourhood.
(Rt Revd Jones) Yes, I subscribe to that view, using
slightly different language; the Church of England talks about
parishes. I talk about the visible parish and the invisible parish.
You have a visible parish, because everybody lives within a geographical
area, but you have an invisible parish, which is those networks,
those relationships, which are non-geographical, which come through
work or come through leisure. The reality of modern life is that
people live within both those communities.
26. To come back to a point you made earlier,
a slightly sceptical question, you were talking about payment
for people involved in these various roles as community activists
and representatives. Would there be a concern there that whilst
sometimes the community may see someone coming from ten miles
away getting a bit of reward for serving on the board, if it is
the person down the road then you start to build up suspicions
and rivalries within the community and a feeling that people are
only doing it because of the money they get rather than as a pure
representative? Is that something you have discussed? Are you
happy that in fact that would not work through if you started
(Rt Revd Jones) Absolutely; that is an issue we discussed
at length in the community, that if you start remunerating people,
then you can set up all sorts of difficulties within the local
community. What we have said is that if that is to be the way
forward, then you need to have a constitution which is both transparent
and a body which is totally accessible to people within the community.
At the start of New Deal, what you do is bring together various
people who have shown some commitment to the local community.
It is on a very ad hoc basis. Then you have to work out
together how you can enfranchise the whole community. You can
only start remunerating people if there is equal access to that
remuneration so that everybody has the chance. For example, if
you are going to pay your board members, then you have to have
a constitution and a process where anybody in the community can
find their way onto the board or stand for election to the board,
so you can say, "This is open, you had your chance to stand
and you were not elected". If it is not transparent and it
is not accessible to all, then you certainly will build up that
sort of distrust which we are trying to work against the whole
Chairman: Thank you very much indeed. I hope
you feel you have had the chance to get across your obvious concern
for your local community in the answers you have given. Thank
you very much for your evidence.
Examination of Witnesses
TYLER, University of Cambridge
and PROFESSOR PAUL
LAWLESS, Professor of Urban Policy,
Sheffield Hallam University, examined.
27. Good afternoon and welcome to the Committee.
For the sake of our record, could you begin by introducing yourselves?
(Professor Lawless) My name is Paul Lawless. I am
at Sheffield Hallam University. I am the Director of the New Deal
(Dr Tyler) My name is Peter Tyler from the University
of Cambridge. I have been evaluating the regeneration budget for
the last eight years.
28. You do not need me to tell you that there
has been a plethora of urban renewal initiatives over the last
30 years, in fact you could probably reel them off if I asked
you to, but I am not going to ask you that question. What I am
interested in is what we have learned from that experience, whether
or not the initiatives we have today, the new initiatives, Sure
Start, Neighbourhood Renewal, etcetera, have been designed taking
into account the knowledge which we have built up over those 30
years, or are we just getting more of the same?
(Professor Lawless) May I kick off particularly in
the context of New Deal. There are some important things to say
about New Deal which reflect on experience from previous initiatives.
Peter will talk about SRB. If we reflect on a couple of issues
where NDC has definitely made a step forward. Two leap to mind:
one is the thought that regeneration takes time. NDC is an initiative
over 10 years and that is a distinct improvement. Someone previously
raised the issue around sustainability. I think that is a very
important question; equally we have to accept that regeneration
of these kinds of areas is going to take time. Having 10 years
as opposed to five or seven years is a definite step in the right
direction. The second issue I would point to is the way that NDC
is about outcomes. It is not about outputs, it is actually saying
we can be about improving health or improving jobs. The previous
evidence was very interesting in terms of the problem around community
regeneration, but as well NDC was important in getting people
to think across the piece, not just the community but also agencies
as well, about 10 years, about what can actually be achieved in
10 years and setting targets, which might prove to be quite naive,
but nevertheless setting targets and giving people goals to go
for. We have learned some of the lessons from previous initiatives.
(Dr Tyler) One of the first things to say is that
it has taught us that areas vary enormously in the nature of the
problem they face. Looking across the various deprived areas in
the United Kingdom, we have some with very high levels of need
and also very low levels of economic opportunity in terms of their
position in relation to new economic growth. What we have found
over the years is that in the worst areasand generally
speaking most of the New Deal Communities are these sorts of areasyou
do have a combination of physical, economic and social problems
which have all come together, which necessitate action over a
very long period of time. I believe firmly that if you instigate
action in just one or even two of those domains, you are likely
to fail. In other words, you lead what we would call increasingly
an holistic approach. That is one of the big messages of the last
10 years. In the United Kingdom we have advanced enormously over
40 years and what we were doing at the beginning was a sticking
plaster on a wound. What we are beginning to do now, if we could
do certain things a bit more evenly, is beginning to get at the
root cause of certain problems.
29. You do not think there is any danger of
us repeating any of the mistakes of the past?
(Dr Tyler) I think there is every danger of us repeating
mistakes of the past. Ultimately the only way these areas can
be turned around, the really deep-rooted problem areas, is if
they receive an adequacy of resource as well as the commitment
and all the other good things mentioned earlier to overcome the
problem. If you look up the history of the amount of resources
put into new towns and compare it with the level of resources
put into regenerating our poorest areas, the poorest areas at
the moment are getting a slim deal.
30. To what extent do you believe the benefits
of regeneration initiatives are sustained in the longer term?
Apparently in some places it may have slipped back. To what extent
is the capacity to bring lasting change really there within the
power of the local community?
(Professor Lawless) In terms of NDC, one of the things
is that it is a 10-year initiative and the evaluation itself has
only started. Where we have evidence of previous initiatives,
one obvious issue, and perhaps this is an obvious thing to state,
is that the more there are incentives towards physical regeneration
and housing in a sense they do sustain. It gets more complicated
when we look at a wider range of outcomes. One of the positive
things about New Deal is that it is about health, it is about
education, it is about jobs. These are more difficult to sustain
through time and also more difficult to capture. To some extent
the jury is slightly out on that one. The evidence we do have
on some of the urban development corporations in the 1980s is
that they were often criticised in the early 1990s for having
a very narrow remit around physical regeneration and land, but
they did achieve those kinds of objectives, in a sense they did
get more environmental improvement there. In terms of sustainability
over a longer period of time than some of the other outcomes,
it is much more difficult to say at this stage.
(Dr Tyler) If you are talking about true sustainability,
in some areas it is going to require staying with the area, all
the major players in the public sector, and indeed the private
sector, staying with that area for a very long period of time.
At the other extreme though, there will be some areas where if
we do certain things right in the early years, we shall turn them
around fairly quickly. I have been impressed by the way in which
some of the coal field areas for instance have turned round relatively
quickly because they are better place in some ways to build on
some advantages of location they may have, which some of the other
areas do not have. True sustainability is a concept which requires
very careful thinking. I do not know of many areas in the United
Kingdom where government commitment, indeed private sector commitment,
has stayed with them long enough to be truly satisfied that we
have turned the corner.
31. You mentioned coal field communities. Are
there any other neighbourhoods you might identify which have had
lasting benefits? The Committee went to Hulme last year which
seems to have been very highly regarded in terms of effectiveness.
Are there others elsewhere?
(Professor Lawless) Castle Vale is often mentioned
in Birmingham. With some of the urban development corporations
you would say, in terms of the objectives they set themselves,
which were very much around land reclamation, land development,
there is evidence there of longer-term sustainable regeneration.
It is much more difficult to point to areas where we have seen
this holistic approach to regeneration which has actually been
sustained through time. As the Bishop of Liverpool pointed out,
one of the difficulties around once you move the outcomes to people
as opposed to places and you start taking education, health and
jobs, there is inevitably going to be a tendency for the people
who benefit from those, or at least some of those, to move on
and that creates its own problems in terms of assessing the efficacy
of the policy because people do move on. It is tricky to trace
them through time.
(Dr Tyler) We sometimes lose sight of how early actions
have prevented some areas becoming the really difficult areas
they might have become. Those successes are always difficult to
gauge. There is no doubt that if we do think right at the local
level, bringing all the players together, we can turn things from
not being as severe and problematical as they might otherwise
be. The UK has a rich history of doing lots of economic things
on the ground in areas which really have helped substantially.
Where we have fallen down is in bringing the three together, the
physical, economic and social.
32. What you are saying is that if one were
to ask the question, "Why have things like Hulme not happened
elsewhere?", they have but they are not the generality, they
are the exception still.
(Dr Tyler) We should not lose sight of the facts.
I was very much taken with the earlier discussion that we should
not lose sight of the fact that people will want to move out of
areas and into areas. I always think that good areas are areas
where people want to stay, but people will move. What we have
observed from SRBs is that a large part of the movement process
is people moving for family reasons and all sorts of reasons.
A degree of churning will always occur in an area. We are a natural
part of it. It is wrong to see areas in a static sense. Things
are changing all the time, but it is true to say that attractive
areas lead to people wanting to stay in them and wanting investment
to come into them. That is an important thing we should not lose
(Professor Lawless) There is a regional context to
this as well. In the North of England generally, particularly
in the context of social housing, we have seen in some areas a
virtual collapse of housing markets. Inevitably you can actually
be taking one step forward and several back because of the regional
context within which regeneration takes place. It is easier to
carry out certain types of regeneration in different regions of
the country. Generally I suppose you would say that in the North
of England broadly it is more difficult in housing and also probably
in terms of jobs as well.
33. I was Minister responsible for Community
Challenge in Hulme for some years so I am delighted with the way
in which it is now evaluated. One of the innovative things which
was tried was the introduction of private housing into Mosside
and Hulme for the first time in 30 years and therefore a change
in the mix of the community. I have not traced how successful
that has been five years on. Have you any sense of whether changing
the mix in the community has any form of long-term impact? Do
people resent new people coming in? Do new people coming in feel
an identity with the area and contribute to it? Is the change
in the mix of housing sustainable in the long term?
(Dr Tyler) That is an enormously complex area. The
general feeling from the generation side of housing is that mixed
housing has been quite a significant success. One of the big success
factors across our city landscapes is the new investment which
is going in and the new mixtures which are occurring. Much of
the old view about the type of housing has dropped away and ceased
to be as relevant as it was.
(Professor Lawless) There is an implication in NDC.
Quite a number of the partnerships have identified change in tenures,
in particular an increase in private sector accommodation, as
one of their key outcome areas. They have also sometimes identified
house prices as a key outcome target that they would want to achieve.
In a sense you can see that is a bit of a two-edged sword. If
you start off talking about higher house prices, which is what
you are talking about, that will have implications for the kind
of people who can live in them. That is a bit of a two-edged sword.
34. We are still in the early days of the NDC
initiative but are you able to see yet at what stage we shall
be able to evaluate its effectiveness?
(Professor Lawless) This current phase of the evaluation
is due to report in 2005; there will be an interim evaluation
then. As ever, there is the tension between trying to know things
immediately and the fact that it does take time for these things
to take place. It is particularly important in NDC to accept that
it will take a number of years because some of the outcomeshealth
and education leap to mindwill take many years to unfold.
Investing in those kinds of areas could well take 10 years. In
other areas, jobs, perhaps crime to some extent, maybe certain
types of housing, you get more of a feel more quickly but some
of the outcomes are going to take many years to unfold.
35. Does that imply that by the time we get
the assessment we may find it is too late to have learned from
(Professor Lawless) As well as part of the evaluation,
we are undertaking work on each of the five outcome areas. One
of the intentions there is that as we undertake research on particular
issues, so that in the jobs area we are looking at job brokerage
schemes for instance, just to give one example, that kind of evidence
will be made available to everyone on the new renew.net scheme.
That is a very important innovation in terms of getting practice
generally around the regeneration community.
36. You are talking about the results of the
evaluation being accessible. Would that mean they will be accessible
to those working at local level?
(Professor Lawless) Absolutely.
37. Not just the policy people.
(Professor Lawless) No; absolutely.
38. On methodology, you mentioned earlier how
difficult it was to evaluate the long-term success of some of
the previous regeneration schemes. Two questions. In your experience,
have the outcomes which were originally considered for some of
these regeneration schemes changed over time in that when you
start you have a series of outcomes you are looking to over the
three- four- or five-year period of the City Challenge project?
In the light of experience have those outcomes changed over time
and are you now looking for different ones? With those outcomes
and perhaps value for money considerations are you confident now
that there is the methodology in place which will enable us in
10 years' time to say whether or not the current crop of initiatives
can be sensibly evaluated in terms of whether they have been successful
(Dr Tyler) Outcome targets and objectives of all programmes
have to change through time, particularly in a ten-year programme.
New Deal, by focusing on crucial areas like health, economic well-being
and many other aspects of those outcome domains, has set new grounds
which we think about. It is very challenging for the evaluator.
One of the big tensions is that in the last 20 years we have focused
very heavily on what we would call the outputs of programmes.
I did an exercise recently where we looked at all the main urban
programmes and you could say that we created half a million jobs
in the various areas. That in itself does not tell you very much
about all the things you want to know, whether there has been
less unemployment, better health, all these sorts of things. These
output measures have often been the only thing we have. I have
to say that I do firmly believe that you need outputs alongside
outcomes because by challenging the two you can understand the
overall impact. I do not think we are ever just going to find
that the methodology can look at any one thing in isolation. It
is a very challenging task because things are always changing.
Things are always changing in the national economy but also in
the area around these places. Recently we have seen the biggest
change has been the national economy; it has just got better and
these areas have benefited. It is a problem of attribution and
it is difficult to say what the area-based initiative is doing
in relation to all these other things. I think we have never been
better at doing it, not just because we are there doing, but also
because we do believe that we are better at doing it.
(Professor Lawless) A recent review of the 39 delivery
plansand unfortunately unlike the Bishop of Liverpool I
have read them allshowed at least 250 separate outcomes.
They are very similar in many respects but you can imagine the
individual partnerships are encouraged to identify their own outcomes
and they have gone ahead and done so. Clearly the evaluation team
cannot conceivably follow through 250. We can identify a series
of core indicators, core outcomes that we will trace through time.
Individual partnerships will often actually reflect on their delivery
plans and accept that change is inevitable over a 10-year period.
Another issue to point to here is that we do now have core targets
which is a really important innovation in getting a sense of consistency
about what we are to try to achieve in terms of neighbourhood
39. Professionally you are convinced that now
you have in place sufficient methods for determining success that
in 10 years' time if we asked you how successful these had been,
you would be pretty sure you would have the mechanisms to enable
you to answer the question.
(Dr Tyler) We would be bound to go a long way success
that in 10 years' time if we asked you how that evaluation has
often been very poorly funded. A lot of the programmes funded
by government have been very small funds for the task required.
Secondly, I do believe that most of the people in the community
do understand the need for evaluation and it comes down to a point
which was made earlier by the Bishop of Liverpool. If you explain
things to people, then they accept it, but they do not like you
to keep changing it. It is important to get those things built
in from the beginning. New Deal is beginning to cut some ground
in that respect, but it is very challenging.
(Professor Lawless) We were commissioned in 2001 to
undertake the evaluation of an initiative which has now started,
which was announced in 1998, so that was three years straight
away. There was no common baseline, so we are seeing 2001-ish
as a baseline. With major initiatives such as thiswe would
say this would we notthere is a very strong argument to
have evaluation in a sense not as the second or third task, but
a very strong argument that with the announcement of an initiative
an evaluation team should be set up at the outset. It would have
saved a lot of time and we would now be in a position to reflect
on three or four years of experience which we cannot do.
(Dr Tyler) With SRB government did set up the evaluation
right at the beginning and we have been tracking that initiative
for eight years. That sort of thing is to be warmly welcomed because
you do learn an enormous amount. Unfortunately one of the problems
is that there is huge attrition of all of the people involved
in an eight-yearly evaluation since very few people who started
it end up in there at the end. So it is with the delivery as well.