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Evaluation of the Improvement Programme: final report


The Improvement Programme, delivered by Investors in People (IIP) Scotland, offered a structured approach for business improvement for small to medium sized businesses, which aimed to stimulate and challenge businesses to improve performance and to maximise the potential of their staff. The evaluation aimed to assess the Programme's: economic impact; changing market failure justification; client satisfaction levels; displacement of private training providers; impact on the pipeline of potential growth companies; effectiveness and quality of client contact; and overlap and duplication with other Scottish Enterprise (SE) products or services. The report also considered how the Programme could be improved.


The methodology consisted of: a review of background material; four discussions with stakeholders in SE, IIP Scotland and the delivery contractor, Moon Developments; and a survey of 36 companies (telephone interviews with 17 companies who received IIP accreditation and e-survey responses from 19 current participants). The methodology used the Kirkpatrick approach to identify the impacts generated, which measured company impacts at four levels (reactions, knowledge, behaviours and results).


The report suggests that the Programme had a strong fit with the aims of the Government Economic Strategy and SE's Business Plan policy aims. Overall, the Programme's value for money (VfM) was positive, with high levels of economy, efficiency and effectiveness, all from a relatively modest level of investment by SE. The scheme's overall impacts include turnover to date of £1.6 million NPV and a GVA of £752,944 NPV. Participating companies reported that their knowledge and behaviour around strategic planning and effective management, organisational culture and communication, and recruitment and training, had improved as a result of their participation on the Programme. Companies report high levels of satisfaction with the content and delivery of the Programme. It had made good progress, albeit over a longer time-frame than planned, against the majority of targets set. The Programme's strengths included: clear marketing material; the availability of course material upfront; the structure of the programme; its focus on competitive advantage; and the sustainability of its intervention. The report also identified the Programme's weaknesses, which included issues with: branding; the relationship between IIP Scotland and companies; accommodating companies who missed workshops and meetings; ensuring that the 'right' company representative participated; motivation for participation; and programme time-scales.


The report recommends that if the Programme is to fit with SE policy going forward, the programme's target audience would need to be reviewed to reflect the Agency’s focus on growth companies and key sectors.

Author Frontline Consultants
Published Year 2011
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses
  • Labour Market and Skills
    Skills Development