Building Better Opportunities

Building Better Opportunities Evaluation

The Building Better Opportunities Programme


Big Lottery Fund is matching funds from the European Social Fund 2014-2020 to invest in local projects tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth. The funding will be delivered in 38 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas according to local priorities, which have been set by the LEPs. It is supporting a variety of projects, ranging from those improving employability for the most disadvantaged, helping those with multiple and complex needs, to improving financial literacy.

The National Evaluation

The Big Lottery Fund has appointed Ecorys to deliver the national evaluation and learning services for its Building Better Opportunities programme. The contract started in 2016 and will run until early 2020.
The evaluation primarily concentrates on examining the approach to programme implementation on the ground. In doing so it is taking a formative perspective to generate insights and timely lessons during the life of the programme. The key areas for investigation and analysis through the national evaluation are access and impact.

  • With regard to access, the evaluation will explore progress to date in opening up ESF funding, via BBO, to organisations that are well-placed to deliver effective interventions for harder to reach target groups.
  • The evaluation will conduct a range of activities to examine the impacts of the programme, including project reviews on a sample basis (i.e. a ‘deep and narrow’ analysis) to provide detailed and insightful findings about what works and for whom in the delivery of interventions.

The above evaluation work will be coupled with a strong emphasis on sharing learning through a programme of learning activities. Specifically these will be designed to identify critical success factors and lessons for the Fund and delivery organisations.

Evaluation Reports

Annual evaluation reports are being produced bringing together the evidence and learning generated across each year of the evaluation.

Report 1 was published in June 2017. It centres on the results of scoping activities undertaken in the initial phase of the evaluation, the first wave of an online survey with grant holders and partners, and interviews with unsuccessful BBO grant applicants.

Report 2 produced in June 2018 reflects on success and lessons learned in terms of engaging the programme target groups and delivery so far, as well as the immediate and potential future outcomes from the programme.

BBO Learning Resources

The evaluation work is coupled with a strong emphasis on sharing learning through a programme of learning activities through which a range of resources and materials are being produced. 

Learning and networking events


In 2017 two learning events were held for the BBO projects. These slides provide an overview of the day: Building Better Opportunities Learning and Networking Day Slides


In 2018 a further series of learning and networking events were held, with six regional events taking place.  Below are the national evaluation and project presentation slides from the various events.  A roundup of the key learning from the 2018 events is available.

Thematic learning

Learning activities are taking place that look at particular themes or issues of relevance to the successful delivery of BBO projects:

In December 2017 we held a learning webinar on the theme of Cross Cutting Themes.  The webinar shared guidance, best practice and tools on how to implement CCTs and particularly how to develop and monitor an action plan.  We also heard from  the Empowering Enterprise 18-24 project on how their BBO project is addressing CCTs. The slides and webinar recording are available for those who were unable to join the webinar.

Programme Resources

The Big Lottery Fund have produced comprehensive guidance as well as a range of additional resources for grant holders which are available on the Building Better Opportunities programme webpages.


Building Better Opportunities