Evaluation of the Prosperity Fund and Programmes

Clients: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The Prosperity Fund is a cross-UK-Government £1.2 billion portfolio of programmes, running from 2017 to 2023, which aim to promote economic growth in middle-income countries around the globe. The Fund is structured around five key sectors: infrastructure; human capital, innovation and technology; trade; financial and economic reform; and ease of doing business. By improving the global business environment, strengthening institutions, and encouraging greater global private investment, the Fund aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all in line with SDG 8. By contributing to inclusive growth in recipient countries, it aims to create opportunities for international business including UK companies (secondary benefits).

The role of NIRAS-LTS

NIRAS-LTS has a rolling contract with lead consortium partner Tetratech and consultancy firm Integrity to deliver the evaluation and learning services to the whole Prosperity Fund portfolio, including technical design, evaluation implementation and learning services.

The objectives of the evaluation over the course of the programme’s implementation period are to:

  • support organisational learning so that the programme team learns ‘what’ is working well and not so well (and ‘how’ and ‘why’) and uses this information to improve programme design and implementation (i.e. adaptive programming) to enhance programme effectiveness during implementation;
  • contribute to the accountability mechanisms of the Prosperity Fund including supporting Fund teams to report on progress through annual reviews;
  • help generate evidence for external communication and outreach by the Fund.

Description of MEL tasks

NIRAS-LTS leads the design of both the Fund Evaluation and the 24 programme evaluations. We have developed a framework methodology for all the programme evaluations utilising contribution analysis and a realist synthesis approach to synthesise the evaluation findings by sector and at the overall Fund level. The evaluations will generate information on progress towards results, lessons for ongoing implementation and supporting and constraining factors (i.e. what works well in what contexts and for whom).

The approach in the early part of the evaluation is formative (exploring design and set up, etc.) and theory-based. As the programme matures, the emphasis will shift to a more summative focus on actual results delivered against the project and programme Theories of Change, including what difference the programme made (i.e. observed changes and the contribution of the programme vis-à-vis other factors), and how
and why the results emerged. We will employ contribution analysis, which aims to establish a programme’s contribution (not attribution) to results including identifying other influencing and contributing factors.

NIRAS-LTS works closely with the multiple UK Government departments and offices implementing the Prosperity Fund and its programmes, with implementing partners and other programme stakeholders, and also engages regularly and productively with the contractors responsible for monitoring and reporting to ensure that monitoring outputs are quality-assured and useful for evaluation and lesson learning. We are managing the inputs from a large team of internal and external evaluation specialists and coordinating with the teams undertaking stakeholder engagement and operational aspects of the evaluation with TetraTech and Integrity.


Image credit: Luke Price

Key Staff