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The Pool Charitable Trust: evaluation


In 2000, Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian (SEEL), the City of Edinburgh Council and financial services companies set up the Pool Charitable Trust, the first of ten Employment Academies covering different sectors of economic activity. The Academies targeted sectors experiencing recruitment difficulties and matched the needs of employers by providing customised training to predominantly long-term unemployed job-seekers. The Pool was the Employment Academy for the financial services sector. Yellow Book were asked to evaluate the Pool in 2004, concentrating on: the target-setting process; how realistic those targets were; actual and anticipated achievements; lessons for future target-setting; and lessons regarding risk-assessment and cost-benefit analysis.


A review of relevant documents; an economic analysis of trends in the financial services sector and other relevant aspects of the Lothian economy; and interviews with twelve key stakeholders.


The project’s rationale and objectives were sound; changes in labour market conditions were not the only reason for the project’s poor performance; overambitious targets and inaccurate market assessment contributed to poor performance; the delivery model was too expensive and inflexible, with no back-up plan for failure; poor management was significant in contributing to the project’s poor performance; partnership working between different stakeholder agencies could have been better; actual performance was poor when measured against project objectives; various parts of the Academy model require modification.


Risk assessment should be more rigorous and take account of potential failure; all project rationales should be fully worked out; market intelligence analysis should be thorough, take account of differences between expressed and revealed demand, and be regularly reviewed; both quantifiable and non-quantifiable project outputs should be assessed and comparisons to similar projects should be made when setting output targets; care must be taken when commissioning option appraisals; delivery vehicles for project implementation should be responsive to market changes and develop incrementally, incurring less cost; reliance on a single funding source should be avoided; management structures should be appropriate and reviewed continuously; considerable effort should be made to ensure the effectiveness of partnership working; exit strategies must be flexible when projects are failing; project monitoring should be designed at the outset, not ad hoc; and SE and LECs should pool learning from projects into an accessible database.

Author yellow book
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Sectors
    Financial and business services
  • Labour Market and Skills
    Skills Development, Economic Inclusion