Evaluating the business benefits of government scheme

The challenge

To undertake a longitudinal evaluation with businesses who had registered with CompeteFor, the free service that enabled business to compete for contract opportunities linked to the London 2012 Games and other major public and private sector buying organisations. The overall ownership of the evaluation was shared between the Greater London Authority (GLA), Transport for London (TFL) and the Dept for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).

The solution

A consortium consisting of The Evaluation Partnership, OMB Research and academics from Aston and Warwick Business Schools conducted a combination of qualitative and quantitative interviews with registered businesses at three stages of the scheme’s life cycle. OMB were responsible for conducting over 7,000 telephone interviews over the course of the project including:

• A longitudinal panel (business that were surveyed at the baseline, interim and final evaluation stage)
• Contract Winners (firms that had successfully secured contracts through CompeteFor)
• Other registered users (a representative cross-sectional sample of firms registered on CompeteFor)

OMB were responsible for developing the questionnaire and designing a robust sampling approach that enabled the project team to confidently measure the business impact of the service.  The surveys also captured feedback on the service quality and user satisfaction, which enabled on-going service delivery improvements to be made during the course of the evaluation.

Due to the time period over which the research took place (2008 – 2012), the shifting political landscape and the diverse needs of the various stakeholders, some of the objectives changed during the project and the specification evolved from that in the original brief. This meant we had to be flexible with the methodological approach to allow for this evolution whilst still maintaining the integrity, quality and consistency necessary for robust public sector evaluation.

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