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Evaluation of the catchment-based approach - Pilot Stage - WT0959

The overall objective of this work is to evaluate the pilot stage of the new catchment-based approach. Up to 25 catchment partnerships will be involved in this pilot stage; 10 hosted by the Environment Agency (EA) and the remainder hosted by other organisations.

The evaluation is required because Ministers have expressed a desire for a catchment based approach which is locally led. Catchment management is not a new concept. Many organisations have been operationalising the principles for several decades on different scales and using different methods.

The evaluation is predominantly a learning exercise. It will test different variables and ways of working within catchments across the pilots, as well as drawing on the work and experience of other organisations. The evidence, ‘lessons learnt’ and recommendations that emerge from the evaluation will be instrumental in informing Defra of which is the most effective and efficient way in which a catchment approach can be ‘scaled-up’ for national delivery.

This localism approach is a move away from the traditional model Government employs for land and water management, which is EA lead. Therefore, it is also an opportunity to advance knowledge and understanding of how Government can more effectively engage and work under a ‘Big Society’

Related work is available on the project WT0997, here:
The evaluation will involve:
• A scoping stage, to refine the key evaluation questions and a methodology for addressing these;
• A creative and flexible approach to the development of the evaluation;
• Working alongside Government and stakeholders to help shape the pilot phase as it unfolds;
• A formative evaluation process which will extend and complement the self-monitoring, learning and self-evaluation process required of all pilot partnerships;
• A primary focus within the formative evaluation on supporting learning at both the pilot and programme level through:
> formulating and delivering regular learning events;
> leading to the development of a handbook setting out recommendations of best practice; and,
> establishing an ongoing learning process in the post-pilot (‘upscaling’) phase targeted at facilitators, the EA and other stakeholders;
• A summative evaluation which will address benefits realisation and value for money and include a comparative analysis of the different approaches taken in the pilots;
• A final evaluation report summarising the key findings and recommendations from both the formative and summative evaluations;
• Scoping further capability building events and collateral that might support wider roll out.

Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : Defra CaBA Evaluation Briefing Note   (160k)
• FRP - Final Report : Defra CaBA Evaluation Main Report   (1997k)
• FRP - Final Report : DF Appendix E 1 Case Studies Report (FINAL)   (1049k)
• ANX - Annex : DF Appendix B 4 Fourth Quarterly Review Report (FINAL)   (1530k)
• ANX - Annex : DF Appendix C 1 Final Review Report (FINAL)   (1121k)
• ANX - Annex : DF Appendix D 3 Final Participant Survey (FINAL)   (897k)
• ANX - Annex : DF Appendix E 2 Case Studies Appendix to Report (FINAL)   (2121k)
• ANX - Annex : DF Appendix F 1 Review of Catchment Initiatives Report (FINAL)   (1160k)
• ANX - Annex : DF Appendix I Public Engagement Report (FINAL)   (735k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2013

Cost: £353,300
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Cascade Consulting