Policy evaluation is part of our core business at FGB

For almost 15 years, we have been helping EU institutions to measure and understand the true impact of EU funds and programmes. This plays a crucial part in the European policy cycle and European democracy in general, as it allows the European Commission to present its results to the European Parliament and EU citizens, in all transparency.

Most recently, FGB led the ex-post evaluation of DG JUST’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme (REC), as well as the thematic evaluations of the 2014-2020 European Social Fund (ESF) measures dedicated to employment, mobility and youth employment.

Providing an evidence-based evaluation of such complex programmes, stretching over all 27 EU Member States and combining a broad range of subjects and implementation modalities, is no simple task. The sheer volume of data to analyse is already a challenge in itself, but more than that, it is the heterogeneity between types of data that constitutes the main obstacle, while in other cases the lack of reliable data can also be problematic.

The difficulty here is to find ways of comparing different types of data and to draw conclusions that are resolutely based on evidence, avoiding the natural bias of the researcher. It is also important to make the difference between what happened simply during the programme period and what happened precisely because of the funding.

Another challenge is to distil these vast amounts of data and to turn them into compact recommendations that are intelligible without glossing over the complexities of reality. This takes place through a process of triangulation between different sources of data. By focusing on individual countries and clustering EU regions, we can also better understand the true effects of EU funding and how these relate to the different regions’ socio-economic status.

Our approach to evaluation, and what makes our success, is the open dialogue we maintain with the client. We believe firmly in taking a participatory approach to evaluation, working together to build a service that is tailor-made to the client’s needs and expectations.

Another strength is our knowledge of the programmes and the extensive experience we have accumulated over the past 15 years, working on all stages of the policy cycle, providing both ex-ante and ex-post evaluations as well as ongoing thematic evaluations and support to member States to prepare the next funding periods.

Finally, we possess strong expertise in the tools and methods needed to carry out such research successfully. These range from classic quantitative and qualitative methods such as desk analysis, structured interviews and focus groups to more advanced tools such as counterfactual analysis and Artificial Intelligence text mining.