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Context and development

Strategic context

The Programme’s strategy was developed with reference to the UK’s National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) and within the context of the EU’s Lisbon Agenda for Growth and Jobs. Regionally it is aligned with the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Economic Strategy.

Lisbon Agenda for Growth and Jobs

At the Lisbon European Council in March 2000, Europe's leaders committed themselves to an ambitious ten-year strategy for economic reform. The vision agreed at Lisbon was to make the European Union "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion".

Visit the European Comission website for information about the Lisbon Agenda.

National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF)

Each EU Member State develops a national strategic reference framework to set out their investment priorities for their regional and sectoral programmes supported by the European Union over the seven year period of 2007-2013. These strategies draw their inspiration from the priorities adopted by the Member States in October 2006 in the “Community Strategic Guidelines for Cohesion”.

For UK’s National Strategic Reference Framework visit the Deparment for Business Innovation and Skills website 

Download the EU cohesion policy that outlines the NSRFs for all the 27 member States.

Regional Strategic Context

Yorkshire and The Humber has a clear regional strategy for economic regeneration.  The Regional Economic Strategy (RES) shapes and influences a wide range of economic regeneration activities. First drawn up in 1998 and based on evidence from the Leeds Metropolitan University - State of the Regions report, the RES has been reviewed every three years. It is evidence-based and focuses on an analysis of market failure within the region, the drivers of productivity and sustained economic growth. It is founded on realistic expectations of funding and on what the region can do and combines the region’s ambitions with stretching but achievable targets. The RES reflects national policy and priorities and draws on the development of the Northern Way and City Region Development Plans. It reflects  ‘Advancing Together’- the region’s over arching framework, which sets out to deliver a better future for Yorkshire and The Humber. It sits alongside the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) which sets out the geographical implications of Advancing Together, ie the location and scale of development in terms of economic development, housing, transport and communications, the environment, urban and rural regeneration, tourism and leisure. The ERDF Programme sits within these regional frameworks by addressing the key issues and increasing the investment in areas where there is most opportunity within the scope of ERDF funding.

What this means for the Programme

The Programme focuses on delivering the Lisbon agenda within the broader context of the regional strategy. It updates the evidence base used for the 2005 RES review and the sub-regional Strategic Economic Assessments conducted as part of the Investment Planning process. The Programme does not seek to replicate the RES objectives, but to add value by delivering complementary activity concentrated on the Lisbon priorities, and maximising the co-ordination of the investments made with ERDF and national funds for regeneration.


The Programme is about delivering the Lisbon agenda in Yorkshire and the Humber.  Its vision is: "to capitalise on the region's assets and secure a prosperous future for the region's people and businesses within a sustainable knowledge economy".

To achieve this, a range of key actions has been identified:

  • to increase R&D, innovation and technology transfer
  • to create dynamism and entrepreneurship within enterprises
  • to embed creativity in the process of product development
  • to drive more company innovation and embed technological advances into production processes
  • to restructure the business base towards a more high value added economy
  • to secure the physical/electronic infrastructure that underpins business productivity
  • to ensure that disadvantaged communities benefit from growth of the economy

Strategy development

The programme was developed through extensive regional consultation. Its strategy is owned and will be delivered by the region as a whole. The process was driven by the Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber, Yorkshire Forward, and the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Assembly. The development of the Programme involved a Task Group of key regional players, with representatives from the public, private and voluntary and community sectors, the higher education sector, the cultural sector, trade unions, skills and Local Strategic Partnerships all of whom consulted widely within their constituent communities in order to develop a common consensus around priorities for action. The Task Groups remit was to:

  • Agree the socio economic analysis
  • Determine the  strategy, priorities and indicative actions
  • Identify where Structural Funds could add value to the RES objectives
  • Determine the consultation process
  • Monitor the Ex-Ante, Strategic Environmental Assessment and Equalities Impact Assessment 

The process included widespread consultation on early drafts of the strategy through events and workshops and the establishment of a blog on the internet for comments. Specific discussions on the priorities for the South Yorkshire phasing-in region were managed through workshops with South Yorkshire partners and the 2000-2006 Objective 1 Programme Management Board. Sub-regional partnerships played a key role consulting with partners in different parts of the region.

Formal consultation on the Yorkshire and the Humber Programme, the Strategic Environmental Assessment and the Equalities Impact Assessment took place over a 3 month period between December 2006 and March 2007.   During this time the Task Group took on board comments from the European Commission, HM Government and regional partners. As a result of the consultative and iterative approach adopted during the production of the Programme, those consulted were very supportive of the strategy and approach.

Yorkshire and the Humber’s was the first English ERDF programme to be submitted to the European Commission for consideration in May 2007 and was formally approved on 7th December 2007.