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Textiles: Evaluation of Intervention with Clusters and Industries


The Evaluation of Intervention with Clusters and Industries in Scotland aims to be a learning evaluation for Scottish Enterprise (SE) on the policy interventions pursued to date. The research objectives for this study focus on five principal learning areas: the appropriateness of cluster and industry policies and strategies; the rationale of programme selection and design in the light of strategic intent; the efficacy of cluster and industry interventions seeking to improve critical factor inputs; learning lessons and the adaptation and evolution of the approach; and broader SE support and resourcing. This report is one of the fifteen cluster- and industry-specific reports that have been prepared as background to the main report. In relation to the textile industry, the report focuses on: the rationale behind SE involvement in the cluster and the appropriateness of the strategy; how the cluster work has rolled out in practice and in light of expectations; and the lessons learnt and how SE should go forward.


The report has been primarily based on a desk review of the individual clusters and industries - collected and collated by SE and ECOTEC jointly. Around seventeen interviews were also held with industry representatives, knowledge centres and SE staff. The main findings and conclusions have been tested with independent sector experts and reviewed by SE stakeholders.


The industry team, Scottish Textiles’ (ST) current strategy and allocated financial resources reflect an appropriate plan to increase emphasis from managing decline to restructuring and repositioning the industry. ST is regarded as highly effective and professional and the number of firms in the industry in account management is the highest achieved of any industry approached. Business support activities appear well-aligned to national priorities and the achievements and outputs have successfully focused on delivering industry-led initiatives and the strategic aims of the national textiles plan. There is limited confirmation of outcomes and impacts, although a few project evaluations offer some evidence of positive outcomes from ST activities. An exit strategy has been proposed, though not developed, and there are indications of intent to reduce public investment in some textile projects. The Scottish Textile Forum (STF) has been identified as an effective vehicle to debate and act upon the needs of the industry and changes made to the Forum in 2002 have resulted in more effective decision-making.


ST should explore collaboration across other industries and clusters for the benefit of textile firms in Scotland. A critical mass of firms should exist to sustain sub-groups within the industry as an effective means of maintaining corporate engagement. Indigenous technical textile firms would benefit from active participation in UK based technical textile networks. Specific measures are needed to assess the performance of the industry team. A future strategy is required, to explore the role of textiles within an overall ‘portfolio’ approach towards industry support. The potential role of the Scottish Textile Manufacturers Association (STMA) in an exit strategy needs to be assessed.

Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support
  • Sectors