The Northern Way (NW) was a pan-regional, multi-level initiative between three English northern regions, set up to promote economic growth and close a £30 billion output gap. Some limited research on progress prior to 2006 exists, but hardly anything about achievements between 2008 and closure in 2011. This paper redresses the limitations with data from existing evaluations and key stakeholder interviews. Findings reveal that partners developed good collaborative working, gathered robust data on critical economic and social issues, and learnt much during 2004–2008. Between 2008 and 2011, activities were refocused on a narrower set of critical priorities and partners developed real policy learning and became a credible voice for the Northern regions. After closure, it became evident that NW left a ‘vacuum’ as an effective coordinator of evidence and views from three Northern regions. Many issues that it sought to address remain as critical today as they did when it was created.