Together with Institut für Sozialarbeit und Sozialpädagogik e.V. (ISS), Institut für Stadtforschung und Strukturpolitik GmbH (IfS) and defacto ISG Institut für Sozialforschung und Gesellschaftspolitik GmbH (ISG) is carrying out the impact evaluation of the German ESF-Programme 2014-2020 on national level.
This evaluation serves to scientifically assess results and impacts of the Federal programme with view to the Europe 2020 targets as well as to the objectives defined in the German Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 intervention period and the programme’s horizontal priorities. The evaluation will be based on the evaluation of the programme’s investment prioritites and other evaluations on level of single instruments and measures. In addition, monitoring information and results of own empirical activities are used. As an example, thematic case studies will be implemented in the context of transnational measures, support to migrants, initiatives promoting the integration of youth into the labour market and into vocational education and training, and social innovations financed by the German ESF-programme.
From a conceptual point of view the evaluation is centered around a theory-based impact analyses, making use of the theory of change. First milestones within the project are the elaboration and reconstruction of programme theories on level of the three priority axes, the horizontal priorities, and the above mentioned thematic aspects of the German ESF-programme. The programme theories will be developed on basis of sound analysis of relevant documents and additional experts‘ interviews. A validations of the programme theories is done across different empirical methods, starting with the statistical analysis of ESF monitoring data, context information, and existing findings from evaluation excercises related to the same support mechanisms or similar ones on national and regional level. In addition surveys (f.ex. among project promoters), qualitative case studies, focus groups, and moderated workshops with relevant stakeholders will help to assess, to which extent there is empirical evidence for the programme theory described. Alle results will be summarised in thematic reports, which will also contain practical recommendations on how to improve the implementation of the progrmme within the current intervention periode and with view to the ESF funding after 2020.