Historic England commissioned Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM) and Ortus to conduct a process and impact evaluation of the Heritage Stimulus Fund. The Fund was part of the £1.57 billion rescue package announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to safeguard cultural and heritage organisations across the UK from the economic impact of Covid-19. Historic England distributed over £90m to almost 1,000 heritage contruction repair projects over two rounds of the Fund.
The process evaluation, led by MHM, aimed to ascertain whether the Fund successfully addressed the threat of suppressed demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, both through the impacts of the funding on the heritage sector and the suppliers that service it, and the way in which the intervention was operationalised, delivering appropriate grants to the intended recipients in ways that achieved the objectives of the Fund.
The impact evaluation, led by Ortus, sought to identify the outcomes and impacts arising from these grants to inform future heritage repair grant programmes and evaluation.
The evaluation was achieved through the design and implementation of a structured evaluation methodology. This involved a mixed-methods approach, focused on gathering data and evidence from:
- Historic England
- Heritage construction suppliers
- Existing reports and research (through desk research)
The evaluation process and outputs have highlighted a number of learning point and recommendations for Historic England and the wider heritage construction and repair sector with respect to future evaluations. Beyond the provision of evidence of impact, the main benefit of the evaluation is that it will influence the design and implementation of future monitoring and evaluation efforts within Historic England (and potentially more widely).
The summary report has recently been published here.