Evaluating Local Strategic Partnerships: Theory and Practice of Change
Introduction: Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) are a major recent innovation in English local Governance (Aulakh et al, 2002; Hastings, 2003). Their role is crucial to the success of a number of other government policies and initiatives, including neighbourhood renewal and Local Area Agreements, and more widely to the responsive and effective delivery of local public services. Drawing on material from the national evaluation of LSPs, this paper assesses the progress of LSPs. A ‘theory of change’ (ToC) approach was adopted to drive and give coherence to the diverse elements of this large scale and complex evaluation. The paper first outlines how the ToC approach was developed and utilised in the evaluation. The main findings from the evaluation are then presented and discussed. While the initial function of the ToC was to develop a logic chain representing a virtuous circle where governmental aspirations for LSPs are achieved, it soon became apparent that a ‘vicious circle’ model was needed too, in which partnerships do not function as intended. It is shown that elements of both the virtuous and vicious circle are necessary to explain actual policy outcomes. In conclusion the article reflects on the experience of the LSPs evaluation to draw some wider conclusions both about the strengths and weaknesses of the ToC approach and about Local Strategic Partnerships themselves.
Download at http://ssrn.com/author=1643345.The file attached to this record is the authors final peer reviewed version. The final publishers's version can be found by following the doi link.
Citation : Geddes, M., Davies, J.S. and Fuller, C. (2007) Evaluating local strategic partnerships: theory and practice of change. Local government studies. 33 (1). pp. 97-116
Research Group : Local Governance Research Unit
Peer Reviewed : Yes