The overall aim of this evaluation was to provide evidence of the results achieved by PROGRESS and recommendations to support the launch of the new Programmes for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) and Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC), which will run between 2014 and 2020.
PROGRESS funded activities such as studies, statistics, experts´ networks, seminars, trainings, conferences, communication campaigns, operating grants for EU non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and grants to support policies in EU countries.
The evaluation, which was carried out by the consultancy ICF International, covers the five policy sections of the programme:
- social protection and social inclusion,
- working conditions,
- gender equality.
It looks at how/whether PROGRESS influenced the quality of EU policies and laws and further improved the quality of debate, processes, cooperation or sharing of best practices between stakeholders.
Overall, the following can be said about the four types of activities analysed:
- The actions are in general well aligned with the EU level priorities and agendas.
- This is achieved thanks to the fact that decisions on PROGRESS programming are made directly by the policy units responsible for a given agenda;
- Where the data is available (mainly analytical activities and sharing and learning events), the perceived relevance of both the topics and the types of actions by participants or the target audience is good;
- The analysis identified examples of influential outputs that were used at EU-level as well as at national level. Some have informed changes in national policies or practices. Consequently, there are some ‘champions’ (i.e. very strong examples) among analytical activities, sharing and learning events and action grants. It is more difficult to make such a statement about the awareness raising campaigns in particular due to the absence of data on results;
- However, within each of the types of actions there are sub-strands where the effectiveness of PROGRESS funding could be enhanced. This could be achieved by learning from the more successful cases;
- Furthermore, the current monitoring system focuses on outputs and on participants’ perceptions. More attention should be given to capturing examples of the use of PROGRESS funded outputs both at EU-level and at national level;
- The knowledge management of PROGRESS funded outputs at EU level remains rather poor. For analytical activities and sharing and learning actions the outputsare available online, but they are placed under the policy section of DG EMPL website; they are not clearly linked to PROGRESS and are on different sections of the site. When it comes to the action grants there is no repository of tools, studies or other outputs produced by action grants.
- For most action grants the only information publicly available is the list of action grants awarded. However, DG JUST published summaries of action grants’ results concerning gender equality mainstreaming.
The evaluation report is available in English and includes an executive summary in English, French and German.