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Impacts and benefits of consortium working: final report for Co-operative Development Scotland


This report presents the findings of the 2013 survey of consortia supported by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), and is designed to identify the impacts and benefits of consortium working. The review followed some initial developmental and pilot work carried out in 2012 for assessing impacts and benefits. The principal aim of the study was to identify, and where possible quantify, the range of economic, social and environmental benefits and impacts arising for businesses as a result of working as part of consortium.


The review involved a survey of CDS-supported consortia over the period 2011/12 and 2012/13. In all, the report draws on views from 20 consortia (including two not supported by CDS) from a variety of sectors and backgrounds. Consultations were undertaken with the 16 lead members and an additional 30 interviews with consortium members. The report therefore draws on the views of 46 businesses involved in consortium working. One additional consultation was also secured with a large consortium member.


A wide range of benefits and impacts of consortium working were identified, both tangible and quantified benefits, and softer, less tangible benefits of considerable value to members. More than a quarter of surveyed businesses have already reported increases in employment as a result of their participation, despite many only having joined in 2012 or 2011. Four in 10 businesses have already increased their turnover and many more are anticipating future positive turnover and employment impacts – almost 6 in 10 are expecting to increase their employment levels in 2014 as a result of consortium membership. In the 39 businesses providing data, an additional 188.75 jobs have been created or are forecast and an additional £1.7m in turnover has already occurred since 2011 and expected by 2014. Eight out of 10 businesses now have an enhanced profile or image and similar proportions are better connected and have greater knowledge, whether this is better market information, skills or awareness of collaborators and competitors. Some 85% have experienced a reduced sense of isolation, demonstrating the social value of the model. The majority feel close to those with common interests, and 6 in 10 are now more actively influencing and lobbying with respect to their shared agenda. Increased knowledge sharing has also increased awareness of many issues – 44% of businesses are now better aware of green issues. Additionality levels are also good, with only 14% of respondents believing the activities undertaken since consortium membership would have happened anyway. While many businesses are operating in local markets, which is likely to increase displacement, this is in line with other business support programmes working with this profile of businesses. The vast majority (above 80%, excluding those who did not know) also rated CDS advisors as either excellent or good for its overall package of support, relevance, timeliness of support, technical knowledge and professionalism.


No recommendations were made.

Author Ekosgen; Research Resource
Published Year 2014
Report Type Research
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses