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The two operations award grants for developers to fund refurbishment or development of new business premises, and for businesses to invest in and expand their existing property.

Both operations show a strong fit with Welsh Government strategies and policies. Welsh Government strategies which underline the importance of employment creation in deprived areas have been incorporated into these operations. Both operations are consistent with the priorities which identify a shortfall of high-quality premises and the need for public intervention. 

There is good evidence of the need for intervention. The report finds good evidence that these operations meet the need for new job opportunities in parts of Wales with high rates of unemployment, and the need for high-quality employment space.

The process of selecting sites used an established method which appears to have worked well. The scoring criteria achieved a good balance between building on growth opportunities and addressing labour market disadvantage. Based on a review of the applications it appears that the best projects were taken forward.

The report identifies some improvements to the process of selecting projects.

The selected projects are all suitable in contributing to the operations’ aims and objectives of improved local economic performance (PIF), support local and regional growth agendas, retain and create quality jobs in high value sectors, and support economic growth aspirations (PBDG)

Progress towards output targets is mixed and has been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Project management systems are robust but the inexperience of case officers was flagged as a challenge for PBDG.

Monitoring systems are robust but greater clarity is needed on the role of case officers once projects are in delivery.

Systems for monitoring the progress of projects which are still going through the application process are working well. However, there is a lack of clarity for some PBDG case officers on what their role is once delivery has commenced.

Enforcement and monitoring of Cross-Cutting Themes needs to be strengthened.

Most of the contributions to Cross-Cutting Themes have been embedded in Welsh Government processes, standards and requirements.

However, there is not any formal systems or guidance for how these contributions should be enforced or monitored. This is resulting in inconsistent approaches being taken by case officers once projects are in delivery. 

Reports

Interim evaluation of property infrastructure fund and property for business development grant
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Contact

Heledd Jenkins

Telephone: 0300 025 6255

Media

Telephone: 0300 025 8099

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