Matthews P (2012) Problem definition and re-evaluating a policy: The real successes of a regeneration scheme. Critical Policy Studies, 6 (3), pp. 243-260. https://doi.org/10.1080/19460171.2012.699233
This article seeks to problematize notions of objective policy evaluation using the techniques of interpretive policy analysis, and use the findings to develop a new evaluation and new proposals for policy improvement. It presents evidence from ethnographic fieldwork on the same set of urban regeneration (or renewal) policies in two Scottish neighborhoods between 1989 and 2009. The analysis showed that the policy was variously understood as a failure or a success in four different ways: as a failure within the rationality of official evaluation; as a failure because of the stigma in wider society against deprived neighborhoods; as a failure in some ways by local community activists describing their lived experience through local knowledge; and as a success through local knowledge of the improvements to the physical environment. It demonstrates how policy problem definition and evaluation are closely intertwined and therefore for a policy to be judged a success requires a nuanced understanding of policy problems within their wider social context.
regeneration; local knowledge; Scotland; interpretive policy analysis; evaluation
Critical Policy Studies: Volume 6, Issue 3