Peter Wells is professor of public policy analysis and evaluation, and the Associate Dean for Research and Innovation in the College of Social Sciences and Arts. He has extensive experience of research on urban and regional issues, specifically in project and programme evaluation, community involvement, community economic development, the funding of the voluntary and community sector including social investment, local government, Structural Funds and EU regional policy.
Peter is the director of the Evaluation and Learning Contract for the Big Lottery Fund's Talent Match programme. This contract runs from 2013-20. With Dr Rob Macmillan he is also leading the evaluation and learning contract for Power to Change’s Market Development programme. He directed the Office of the Third Sector (Cabinet Office) funded national evaluation of Futurebuilders from 2005-2010. He was also involved in the National Evaluation of the New Deal for Communities as a member of the central data team. He has undertaken various research and evaluation assignments for the Big Lottery Fund, including the evaluation of its Village SOS programme and research into the outsourcing of grantmaking.
He has worked in an expert advisory capacity in a range of contexts including: being a member of the CLG Local Government Research Expert Panel (2008-10); providing peer review support to the Meta Evaluation of London 2012; as a member of the DECC evaluation panel; and being on advisory groups for the European Commisson and EU Committee of the Regions. He is a senior fellow of the ESRC Peer Review College and has undertaken peer review activities for research investment in Norway, Portugal and Ireland.
Peter has wide ranging research interests including
- evaluation and evidence based policy making
- social investment and the voluntary and community sector
- EU regional policy and the Structural Funds
- youth unemployment
- Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research
Please contact me for further details about these research projects and for summaries of the findings.
2019-22 Evaluation and Learning Contact for Power to Change’s Market Development Programe. Role: Joint Project Director with Dr Rob Macmillan.
2013-2019 Evaluation and Learning Contract for the Big Lottery Fund Talent Match Programme, Big Lottery Fund. Role: Project Director.
Fothergill, S., Gore, T., & Wells, P. (2019). Industrial strategy and the UK regions: Sectorally narrow and spatially blind. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 12 (3), 445-466. http://doi.org/10.1093/cjres/rsz016
Wells, P. (2018). Evidence based policy making in an age of austerity. People, place and policy online, 11 (3), 175-183. http://doi.org/10.3351/ppp.2017.8763267545
Wells, P. (2013). When the Third Sector went to Market: the problematic use of market failure to justify social investment policy. Voluntary Sector Review, 4 (1), 77-94. http://doi.org/10.1332/204080513X663813
Bashir, N., Dayson, C., Eadson, W., & Wells, P. (2013). A warm glow in all parts? : building local cause-affinity as a strategy for promoting charitable giving. People, place and policy online, 7 (3), 139-152. http://doi.org/10.3351/ppp.0007.0003.0003
Wells, P., & Dayson, C. (2013). Voluntary and community sector policy under the Coalition Government. People, place and policy online, 7 (2), 91-99. http://doi.org/10.3351/ppp.0007.0002.0006
Wells, P. (2012). Understanding social investment policy : evidence from the evaluation of Futurebuilders in England. Voluntary Sector Review, 3 (2), 157-177. http://doi.org/10.1332/204080512X649342
Wells, P. (2012). Prescriptions for regional economic dilemmas : understanding the role of think tanks in the governance of regional policy. Public Administration, 90 (1), 211-229. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9299.2011.01958.x
Gore, T., & Wells, P. (2009). Governance and evaluation : the case of EU regional policy horizontal priorities. Evaluation and Program Planning, 32 (2), 158-167. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2008.10.007
Darlow, A., Percy-Smith, J., & Wells, P. (2007). Community strategies: Are they delivering joined up governance? Local Government Studies, 33 (1), 117-129. http://doi.org/10.1080/03003930601081457
Gore, T., Powell, R., & Wells, P. (2006). The contribution of rural community businesses to integrated rural development: local services for local people. Cahiers d'economie et sociologie rurales, 80 (3), 29-52. http://www.inra.fr/esr/publications/cahiers/pdf/gore.pdf
Armstrong, H.W., & Wells, P. (2006). Evaluating the governance of structural funds programmes: the case of community economic development in South Yorkshire. European planning studies, 14 (6), 855-876. http://doi.org/10.1080/09654310500496198
Armstrong, H.W., & Wells, P. (2006). Structural funds and the evaluation of community economic development initiatives in the UK: a critical perspective. Regional studies, 40 (2), 259-272. http://doi.org/10.1080/00343400600600645
Armstrong, H.W., Kehrer, B., Wells, P., & Wood, A.M. (2002). The evaluation of community economic development initiatives. Urban studies, 39 (3), 457-481. http://doi.org/10.1080/00420980220112784
Armstrong, H.W., Kehrer, B., & Wells, P. (2001). Initial impacts of community economic development initiatives in the Yorkshire and Humber structural funds programme. Regional studies, 35 (8), 673-688. http://doi.org/10.1080/00343400120084
Sanderson, E., Wells, P., & Wilson, I. (2015). Young people's resilience and involvement : possible elements of the European Union's Structural and Investment Funds in addressing youth unemployment? In Challenges for the New Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020 : An Academic and Policy Debate, Riga, 4 February 2015 - 6 February 2015. http://www.regionalstudies.org/conferences/conference/challenges-for-the-new-cohesion-policy-in-2014-2020-an-academic-and-policy
Sanderson, E., Wells, P., & Wilson, I. (2016). Resilience and involvement: the role of the EU's Structural and Investment Funds in addressing youth unemployment. In Bachtler, J., Berkowitz, P., Hardy, S., & Muravska, T. (Eds.) EU cohesion policy: reassessing performance and direction. (pp. 127-139). Abingdon: Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315401867
Wells, P. (2008). The third sector and community cohesion in deprived neighbourhoods. In Community Cohesion in Crisis?: New Dimensions of Diversity and Difference. (pp. 139-157).
Perraton, J., & Wells, P. (2004). Multi-level Governance and Economic Policy. In Multi-level Governance. http://doi.org/10.1093/0199259259.003.0011
Wells, P., Macmillan, R., & Dobson, J. (2020). Food for thought: Understanding market development in the community business sector. https://www4.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/food-for-thought.pdf
Crisp, R., Ferrari, E., Fothergill, S., Gore, T., & Wells, P. (2019). Strong economies, better places. London: Labour. http://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/11910_18-STRONG-ECONOMIES-BETTER-PLACES-WEB.pdf
Crisp, R., Damm, C., Green, A., Pearson, S., Sanderson, E., & Wells, P. (2018). Talent Match Evaluation: Progression to Employment. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University. http://doi.org/10.7190/cresr.2018.3322694645
Damm, C., Green, A., Pearson, S., Sanderson, E., & Wells, P. (2018). Talent Match Evaluation: Youth Employment Partnerships. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University. http://doi.org/10.7190/cresr.2018.3356697744
Wells, P., Pearson, S., Damm, C., & Sanderson, E. (2018). Involving young people: Lessons from the Talent Match programme evaluation. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University. https://www4.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/tm-young-person-summary.pdf
Wells, P., Pearson, S., Damm, C., & Sanderson, E. (2018). Youth Employment Partnerships: Lessons from the Talent Match programme evaluation. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University. https://www4.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/tm-partnership-summary-report.pdf
Wells, P., Pearson, S., Damm, C., & Sanderson, E. (2018). Progression to Employment: Lessons from the Talent Match programme evaluation. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University. https://www4.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/tm-progression-employment-summary-report.pdf
Fothergill, S., Gore, T., & Wells, P. (2017). Industrial Strategy and the Regions : the shortcomings of a narrow sectoral focus. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University. http://doi.org/10.7190/cresr.2017.3869752946
Dayson, C., Bennett, E., Damm, C., Pearson, S., & Wells, P. (2016). Early Action Neighbourhood Fund: Learning and Evaluation - Year One Programme Report. https://www4.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/EANF-yr-1-programme-report-final.pdf
Dayson, C., Bennett, E., Damm, C., Pearson, S., & Wells, P. (2016). EANF Learning Report 2: Building Alliances. https://www4.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/EANF-learning-report-2-building-alliances.pdf
Bennett, E., Damm, C., Dayson, C., Pearson, S., & Wells, P. (2016). EANF Learning Report 1: Evidence and Data. Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University. https://www4.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/EANF-learning-report-1-evidence-data.pdf
Pattison, B., Tyler, P., Wells, P., & Wilson, I. (2016). Regeneration revival? Making housing-led regeneration work across England. Sheffield: Chartered Institute of Housing. http://www4.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/regeneration-revival.pdf
Taylor, P., Davies, L., Wells, P., Gilbertson, J., & Tayleur, W. (2015). A review of the social impacts of culture and sport. Department for Culture, Media and Sport. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/416279/A_review_of_the_Social_Impacts_of_Culture_and_Sport.pdf
Theses / Dissertations
Langmead, K. (2018). Exploring the performance of democracy and economic diversity in worker cooperatives. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by White, R., Wells, P., & Dayson, C. http://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00102
Dobson, J. (2017). Reading the future : constructing low-carbon imaginaries in urban institutions. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Wells, P., & Eadson, W. http://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00004
Prinos, I. (2016). Third sector, welfare, governance and social citizenship in Greece and the UK. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Wells, P., Powell, R., & Dayson, C.
Baxendale, J.K. (2015). Understanding 'what works': Evidence based regional policy making in England. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Wells, P., & Wilson, I.
Bennett, E.K. (2015). The power of ideas : the state-sector relationship in policy and practice. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Wells, P., & Coule, T.
Ruggiero, A. (2013). Transforming sub-national economic governance in England : From competitive regions to competitive city-regions. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Wells, P., Gore, T., & Escott, K.
Pearce, S. (2012). Constitutional change and community development : Communities first under the Welsh government. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Wells, P., Gore, T., & Casey, R.
Eadson, W.T.M. (2011). Spatial practices of governing carbon. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Wells, P., & Gore, T.
Elton, C.J. (2011). The re-design of rural governance : New institutions for old? (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Wells, P., & Gore, T.
Moore, T.E. (2011). Community ownership and governance of affordable housing: Perspectives on community land trusts. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Flint, J.F., & Wells, P.
Peter is currently second supervisor on two PhDs. The topics are on community self help in a deprived neighbourhood and social impact bonds.
He would welcome discussion in supervising students in these fields and around the following areas
- evidence based policy making
- changing role of the voluntary and community sector in public policy
- youth unemployment and the role of the voluntary sector
- social investment.
Peter Wells is Professor of Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation, and Associate Dean for Research and Innovation, College of Social Sciences and Arts. He is also leads research projects in the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam.