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Evaluation of Local Construction Forum activity in the Scottish Enterprise East Operating Region


The Local Construction Forums operating in the Scottish Enterprise (SE) East Operating Region under review for this evaluation were Forth Construction, Fife Construction Forum and the Edinburgh and Lothians Constructing Excellence Group. They were established with the principal aim of improving communication and information flow between the key parts of the construction cluster in their areas. The evaluation reviewed the activity, outputs and impacts of each of these respective groups and made a series of recommendations on the future direction of the Forums.


The methodology consisted of desk-based research; consultation with each of the three Forum Co-ordinators; online surveys of the three Forum’s respective membership bases; telephone interview follow-up with six companies which had received support through Forth Construction; and consultations with representatives of SE Industry Development team, the Scottish Construction Forum, the Scottish Construction Centre and Forth Valley Resource Efficiency Forum.


The original objectives set for Forums were broad in scope, and differed between Forums. Each of the groups however was charged with engaging with the industry and providing a Forum for identifying and addressing shared issues. The evidence gathered over the course of the evaluation suggests they have been successful in achieving this objective. In particular, the business survey showed that: businesses were satisfied with the services provided to them by the Forums; the majority of businesses joined the Forum to improve their understanding of what’s going on in their local industry and improve their network of contacts; the events programmes run by the Forums were seen as useful with ongoing demand for similar support in future; and a high proportion of Forth and Fife respondents had been referred on to other support bodies such as local authorities, SE and the Scottish Construction Centre. This highlights the role played by Forums in increasing the connectivity of the industry in their local areas. The survey found evidence of the front-line role played by Forums with the majority of respondents seeing them as the first port of call for support. This was reinforced by the finding in the Forth survey which found that the Forum was the preferred option for events and seminars, referrals to partner organisations and information on tenders. In terms of economic impact, where turnover impact occurred, it has been above the order expected for a light touch intervention. It was estimated that the Forums generated net additional turnover benefit of between £1.06m and £4.96m in 2007/08 with the net additional GVA benefit estimated at between £495K and £2.3m in 2007/08.


The report suggests that there is a compelling case for ensuring that companies across the SE East Operating Area have access to a Forum Service. A series of recommendations are made, including: the flexibility to respond to local agendas should be retained and protected in any future model; an increasing emphasis should be placed on activities that have the potential to make a bottom line improvement to company performance; the Forums should critically appraise and question the extent to which different activities contribute to their core aims; the Forums should look to maximise opportunities for the development of a joint events programme and should collaborate on the development and delivery of new services; and Robust performance monitoring systems should be implemented across the Forums.

Author SLIMS
Published Year 2012
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors