In 2016, the NSW Government released the Parramatta Road Corridor Urban Transformation Strategy (PRCUTS), a 30-year plan to support the transformation of the Paramatta Road Corridor. One component of PRCUTS is the Parramatta Road Urban Amenity Improvement Program, a $198 million grants program for local governments, designed to improve open space and active transport links in eight precincts along the corridor between Camperdown and Granville.
In April 2022, the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) commissioned Urbis to undertake an evaluation of the Program.
The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of the Program in achieving its intended outputs and outcomes and to build an evidence base that supports future planning and informs funding decisions.
The evaluation methodology consisted of qualitative and quantitative data collection, as well as a program documentation review.
Qualitative data collection comprised interviews with stakeholders involved in the design, management and delivery of the PRUAIP and associated projects, including:
- State government stakeholders (representatives from DPE, TfNSW, Create NSW and Sydney Water)
- Council representatives involved in the delivery of the projects.
Quantitative data collection comprised an online survey for council staff involved in the delivery of the projects. The purpose of the survey was to understand their perspectives on the program design and granting process and DPE’s management of the Program.
The document review included consideration of program design, governance, management and delivery documentation. Key documents comprised the PRUAIP Business Case, Implementation Tool Kit, funding agreements between councils and DPE, monthly council and DPE project reports, minutes from key program governance groups and committees, issue and risk registers, financial information and construction documentation.
An analysis session was conducted to triangulate the findings from the research activities.
The evaluation report provided DPE a clear overview of the status and outcomes of the program to date, and considerations for the future.
We have found that:
- The PRUAIP has evolved into a well managed collaborative, partnership model that will deliver quality public spaces, amenity and public art
- The program design and establishment processes were mostly appropriate, but lacked some key elements to support program implementation
- The program implementation process was mostly well managed by DPE but has been impacted by numerous challenges
- Stakeholders believe the program is on track to deliver program outputs and most short and medium-term outcomes.
We provided recommendations to the DPE program team for process improvements, fast track approvals, and improve in capturing outcomes. – Caroline Tomiczek, Director.