ADD2274 ERDF Better Futures Project Interim Evaluation

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
25 September 2018
Decision by: 
Patrick Feehily, Assistant Director, Environment

Executive summary

The Better Futures Project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, as such, the project is required to undertake an Interim Evaluation and Final Summative Assessment of the project activities and outcomes. The GLA wishes to engage a consultant to undertake the interim assessment before the end of November 2018, therefore this decision form asks for approval to spend up to £14,000 on the interim evaluation to this end.


That the Assistant Director of Environment approves:

Expenditure of up to £14,000 on the Interim Evaluation of the Better Futures Project. The Interim Evaluation of the Better Futures Project forms part of the Grant Funding Agreement between the Greater London Authority (the ‘Grant Recipient’) and the Greater London Authority (the ‘Intermediate Body’ for the European Regional Development Fund).

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Better Futures is a project that is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with match-funding provided by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and its delivery partners. Its total project budget is £1,674,044 (approved under MD2077).

The ERDF-funded Better Futures Project will be used to help us understand the best way to offer business support to cleantech SMEs as a key component of developing a wider Cleantech innovation Cluster in London. Founded on the work undertaken by the London Sustainable Development Commission in their report ‘Better Futures: A Route Map to a Cleantech Cluster in London’, Better Futures forms an integral part of the development of a physical cleantech cluster that houses, convenes and supports businesses – and other key players – in clean technology. As a precursor to that cluster, and as a key stage in the route to it being established and populated, Better Futures was designed as a) a testbed for process and delivery models, and b) as a demonstrator project of what London can do for the cleantech SME community and its wider stakeholders. For the purposes of this project, clean technology (‘Cleantech’) is defined as products or services that are in the low carbon sector or have the potential to deliver new low carbon solutions to the market.

The Project is structured with multiple delivery partners:

• GLA – lead partner, responsible for project funding, management and governance;
• Old Oak Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) – strategic support and developing links to OPDC businesses and potential space;
• Sustainable Bridges (SB) – main delivery partner, giving Innovation support to SMEs through its group of companies;
• Imperial College London (IC) – strategic support and technology verification and internships;
• Imperial Consultants (ICON) – technology vouchers pay for academics to support SMEs.

The project is bringing delivery partners’ technical and business expertise to help low-carbon enterprises to optimise prototypes and services for the market and develop their business for growth investment. The project will provide 100 eligible* SMEs with support to help develop their businesses. Better Futures will work intensively with 50 of those enterprises, who will be selected through an open recruitment process to determine their suitability. Once they are on the programme, they have access to further support through Better Futures, described here within the deliverables.

*Meets EU definition of an SME, has an address in London, is not in financial difficulty, has a clean technology product or service.

Better Futures’ objectives are:

• To test the Better Futures model for engaging and supporting Cleantech SMEs.
• To identify the significant benefits of co-location in a cleantech context.
• To accelerate the growth of low carbon and circular economy technologies in London.
• To bring together cleantech stakeholders to support the physical cleantech cluster post-project.

The project deliverables are:

• To stimulate innovation activity in 100 London based SMEs who are in the low carbon sector or have the potential to deliver new low carbon solutions to the market;
• To support 50 low carbon enterprises to develop their businesses;
• To stimulate collaborations between 20 SMEs and research institutions leading to new low carbon product or service development, or internships;
• To support 25 enterprises to design, develop and introduce new products to the firm;
• To trial up to 10 new innovations through pilots and testing.

The GLA Mayoral Decision 2077, sets out the financial commitment from the GLA (£206,194), the match-funding committed by Delivery Partners (£617,328), and the amount of ERDF funding provided (£823,522).

At the outset of the project, it was stated within the ERDF guidance documentation that 1% of the total project budget (£16,740.44) is to be retained and allocated to the evaluation of the project, however, further guidance, issued after the project started revealed that this budget may only be used for the final Summative Assessment, and not for the Interim Assessment. This document is being submitted in response to this clarification, as further budget is now required to undertake the Interim Evaluation, in order to meet the requirements of our Grant Funding Agreement.

Objectives and expected outcomes


The purpose of this work is to understand the impact of the project on cleantech SMEs and make any recommendations regarding improvements to processes and practices.


We will procure an interim evaluation and report on the Better Futures programme to-date, aiming mainly to prepare the GLA for the final evaluation (summative assessment).

The interim evaluation will take place between September and October 2018, and should include:

• The development and deployment of a questionnaire to c30 participants, the results of which will be analysed by the bidder and reviewed and verified by the bidder.
• Development of recommendations on what can be done to improve the project’s impacts and delivery, or continuance of good practices identified, to the GLA.
• These recommendations should enable the project to evolve between the end of the interim evaluation and the beginning of the summative assessment, which will begin in September 2018.

Equality comments

The report will comply with the GLA’s policies on equality and accessibility.  In particular, the report will be looking to highlight ways to improve equality through the project’s processes and practices, especially in regard to implementing the recommendations of Better Futures’ work-package supporting Women in Cleantech.


The competitive tender of this contract will ensure that equality forms part of the selection criteria of consultant(s) who bid to deliver the work. Small- and medium-sized enterprises will be encouraged to bid. The quotation evaluation process will take account of the following, which includes conformance of the GLA’s policies on responsible procurement, and equality and diversity:



Qualitative Award Criteria

Weighting (max. points)

Criteria 1

Understanding of the brief and Better Futures and ERDF requirements.


Criteria 2

Quality and rigour of the methodological approach


Criteria 3

Technical skills, experience and ability to undertake this evaluation.


Criteria 4

Relevant experience in evaluating ERDF or other EU-funded programmes.


Criteria 5

Responsible Procurement, Equality and Diversity.

10 %

Criteria 6


30 %

Total Qualitative Points (QP)


Other considerations

Key risks and issues


The key risks identified are:



Risk description (cause, 'risk event', potential impacts)

Mitigation/Risk response (state if the response is done or pending)

Probability (1-4)





Unable to obtain bidder with the required expertise.

With advice from the TfL procurement team, we have confirmed that other ERDF projects within the GLA have been able to obtain bids from suitably qualified consultants.






Delays in project mobilisation from selection of bidder to project commencement.

The team consists of experienced project and procurement management expertise, and we have access to lessons learned from other ERDF projects within the GLA.






Performance issues during contract (i.e. bidder experiences delays, does not meet deadlines.)

The GLA has benchmarks and processes for managing underperformance. These will form part of the contract with the winning bidder and implemented by the GLA Project Manager. Regular meetings will be held with the bidder will ensure delivery on time, in budget and meet the scope.






Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities


The Cleantech sector addresses the Environmental and Good Growth agenda. The Economic Development Strategy (EDS), London Plan and London Environment Strategy (LES) each have policies aimed at growing the sector, these are;


Draft EDS




The Mayor will….


  • Help to accelerate innovation in the CleanTech sector by assisting start-ups to test, prototype and commercialise their innovation in London.


Draft LES


Proposal 10.1.1a The Mayor will support the growth of a cleantech cluster in London


The Mayor will work with the cleantech business community to develop plans for a cleantech innovation cluster. It aims to deliver the following benefits to London and its cluster partners:


  • Tackling the challenges of climate change
  • Supporting the development of London’s low carbon circular economy


Impact assessments and consultations


The relevant policies in the LES and EDS have all been informed by an Integrated Impact Assessment. Relevant engagement with stakeholders will take place to ensure the recommendations of the interim evaluation will be implemented to make improvements to the Better Futures project.

Financial comments

Assistant Director’s approval is sought for expenditure up to £14,000 on the Interim Evaluation of the Better Futures Project. This will be funded from Environment team’s 2018-19 Programme budget.

Activity table



Procurement of contract

September 2018


            October 2018

Delivery Start Date

            October 2018

Interim Assessment Delivered

January 2019

Summative Assessment Commences

September 2019

Summative Assessment Report delivered

December 2019

Delivery End Date

December 2019

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