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Case Study 2

Welsh Assembly Communities First Programme

Communities First was the Welsh Assembly Government's community development programme.  It was introduced in 2001, to improve economic and social outcomes, and originally targetted 142 communities, consisting of the 101 most deprived wards in Wales as defined via the 2001 Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD).  Following the production of a new WIMD in 2005, a number of additional communities were added to the programme.

Amion Consulting Ltd were appointed to undertake an outcome evaluation of Communities First and Pion Economics were included in the bid to undertake an econometric evaluation of the programme.

The econometric analysis consisted of identifying a 'control' group of areas against which to assess the performance of the assisted areas via a technique called propensity score matching (PSM) and employing both the target and control group areas in a difference-in-difference analysis (DiD) analysis, taking account of the performance status of both groups prior to the intervention.

The review exercise included a comparative assessment of results across a number of different control group areas, matched according to different algorithms.