ADD2265 Evaluation of London Enterprise Adviser Network

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2265
Date signed: 
06 September 2018
Decision by: 
Michelle Cuomo-Boorer, Assistant Director - Skills and Employment

Executive summary

Approval is sought for expenditure of up to £40,000 on an independent evaluation of the impact of the Mayor’s expansion of the London Enterprise Advisers Network.

Approval is also sought for this contract to be awarded, without competition, to SQW (evaluation partner for the Careers and Enterprise Company’s (CEC) national evaluation of the Enterprise Advisers Network), subject to agreement being reached between the GLA and SQW on terms.

Decision

That the Assistant Director approves:

1. Expenditure of up to £40,000 on an independent evaluation of the impact of the Mayor’s expansion of the London Enterprise Advisers Network. This will be funded by £25,000 from the Skills Strategy budget, with the remaining £15,000 being sought as a contribution from LEAP (subject to endorsement by the LEAP Programme Board on 6 September 2018). Should this additional funding not be secured, the remaining £15,000 will be funded from the Skills Strategy budget.

2. The award of this contract to SQW, the national evaluation partner for the Enterprise Advisers Network, without competition, subject to agreement being reached between the GLA and SQW on the work to be delivered, and associated terms.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The London Enterprise Advisers Network (LEAN) matches senior business professionals with careers leaders in schools to support them to develop a careers strategy that recognises all sectors and pathways into employment. To date the LEAN has provided strategic support to 125 schools across 18 boroughs, through a network of over 200 Enterprise Advisers (volunteers drawn from the business community).

In March 2018, the Mayor approved expenditure of up to £1.4m of GLA funds to expand the London Enterprise Advisers Network to cover all schools in the London LEP area (MD 2262). This was matched with up to £1.268m of funding from The Careers & Enterprise Company Limited (CEC).

The LEAP Investment Committee (LEAPIC) also endorsed the Mayor’s investment in the expansion of the LEAN, but recommended that robust evaluation arrangements be put in place to assess the impact of the London Network. In particular, the LEAPIC requested that the impact on young people be assessed. This was reflected in MD 2262, which stated that a future decision would be sought for GLA expenditure on the independent evaluation of the LEAN. In light of the above a contribution towards the cost of this evaluation is being sought from LEAP.

Following a full procurement exercise, CEC commissioned SQW to produce a national evaluation of the national Enterprise Adviser Network. This includes some fieldwork in London, but does not meet all of our evaluation requirements.

The GLA is therefore proposing to commission an enhanced evaluation of the LEAN evaluation, that goes beyond the evaluation of the national network. The London evaluation will look to assess the impact of the intervention on young people and teachers through deployment of additional survey tools; and will also include administrative data analysis that looks to identify any impact on educational, employment and progression outcomes. The evaluation will see significantly more fieldwork taking place in London.

The research and evaluation partner will be required to:

• Provide professional technical advice on the research approach
• Obtain and rigorously analyse the London cut of the CEC-commissioned national evaluation data
• Collect and analyse additional data in London schools
• Conduct a small number of qualitative interviews to supplement the findings of the quantitative analysis
• Produce a mid-line report by late summer 2019
• Produce a final evaluation report by late 2020

Objectives and expected outcomes

The evaluation will produce insight on the impact and performance of the LEAN. This insight will be used to:

• Inform potential future decisions on further investment in the LEAN
• Inform decisions on management of the LEAN
• Inform decisions on other potential investments in careers support and provision

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA must have ‘due regard’ of the need to:

• Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and
• Advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The enhanced evaluation specification includes a requirement for the evaluation to consider any differential impact of the LEAN on vulnerable groups of young people (such as learners with SEND, care leavers, ex-offenders, BAME young people.)

Other considerations

There is a significant interdependency between the evaluation being commissioned and the national evaluation being conducted by SQW for the CEC. It is unlikely that any other organisation, other than the national evaluators (SQW) would be able to complete this work without significant additional cost.

Given the interdependency of this evaluation with the national evaluation, there are no other suppliers who would be able to meet the evaluation requirements within the allocated budget. The alternative would be to commission an evaluation which is completely separate to the national evaluation. This would be significantly more expensive, be more burdensome on participating schools - and would not benefit from learnings from the complementary national evaluation. This is not an acceptable alternative.

For the following technical reasons, it is unlikely that any other organisation, other than the national evaluators (SQW) would be able to complete this work to the required specification and budget.

• Ability to use the tools and approaches to evaluating the network that have already been developed for the national evaluation
• Ability to access and build upon emerging findings of the complementary national evaluation also being produced by SQW
• Ability to use existing data-sharing agreements which have been put in place for the national evaluation
• Necessity to reduce the data collection burden on participating schools

It is for these reasons that no reasonable alternative/substitute exists and that the absence of competition is not the result of an artificial narrowing down of the parameters of the procurement.

Officers have concluded that building on the existing national evaluation is the best way to secure value for money. We will also ensure value for money through benchmarking the proposal against similar evaluations procured competitively. Awarding the contract SQW also allows the GLA to benefit from the research design and other project work that has already been done and paid for by CEC as part of the national evaluation.

It is therefore recommended that the Skills and Employment Unit be permitted to appoint SQW as evaluation partner for an expansion of the London Enterprise Adviser Network, without a competition, subject to agreement being reached between the GLA and SQW on the work to be delivered, and associated terms.

Financial comments

This ADD seeks approval for expenditure of up to £40,000 from the 18/19 Skills Strategy budget for independent evaluation work in the interim until LEAP approves funding of £15,000 at the LEAP Programme Board in September 2018. The net funding from the 18/19 Skills Strategy budget will be £25,000 if LEAP funding is approved.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract

w/c 01/10/18

Delivery Start Date

w/c 08/10/18

Interim report delivered

w/c 27/09/19

Final report delivered

Late 2020


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