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This report is an evaluation of the Meeting the Challenge Achieving a Competent & Confident
Workforce projects. There were 3 projects which ran as follows:

This report follows on from the „Mid-Project Evaluation Report‟ and analyses the project with
reference to the following areas:
1. Project Achievement Against Application Documents
Did the projects achieve the targets set out in the application documents in relation to issues
addressed, timescales adhered to, target numbers set and achievement of good value?
2. Project Set Up & Project Promotion
This was dealt with in the mid project evaluation report and therefore is covered only briefly here.
3. Project Administration
4. Project Monitoring
5. Dealing with the Partnership Offices
6. Survey Responses
Analysis of responses from Providers of Care, Providers of Training, and Beneficiaries surveyed
at the end of the project on aspects of the project including Publicity, Project Paperwork, Project
Office, Possible Problems, and the experience of working towards an SVQ.
7. Facts & Figures on Beneficiaries
8. Issues
1. Project Achievement Against Application Documents
This section of the report will compare the project as it occurred with relevant areas from
the project application document to determine whether the project met its original aims
and objectives.

The project application stated that the project would address the following issues:
  - The project will support basic skills development by providing training to level 2 SVQ standard
    to relevant beneficiaries.
  - The project will provide beneficiaries with transferable skills and knowledge by training them in
    sector wide specified qualifications which will enable them to work for any employer.
  - The qualifications gained will allow the beneficiaries to maintain their employment or if they
    become unemployed will allow them to find another job because their registration with the
    Scottish Social services Council (SSSC) will be intact and their skills are transferable.
 - The project will increase the core and transferable skills of the workforce by providing support
    to gain sector wide accepted qualifications which will enable registration and give beneficiaries
    the skills to work with any employer. The project will also be training workers in „soft skills‟ such
    as communication and customer handling skills which the workforce of Scotland requires
    (Future Skills Scotland) making these workers not only adaptable and flexible within this sector
    but across the Scottish Economy as a whole.
 - The project will increase the level of job related skills leading to increased adaptability of the
    workforce by providing vocational training relevant to the beneficiary‟s employment.
 - To increase the skills and flexibility of those in supervisory and junior managers positions by
    providing support for the Level 4 management SVQs.
This project intends to strengthen the ability of companies to compete in the sector by qualifying
 their staff and giving benefits of increased efficiency and effectiveness. The training of staff will
 allow companies to continue operating in the sector.
This project aims to allow access to training for both individual beneficiaries and beneficiary
 companies who would not otherwise have access due to a variety of barriers.
The project aims to introduce beneficiaries and beneficiary companies to the concept and
 experience of training in the context of lifelong learning in order that they progress on to further
 learning in the future.
The project will deliver training according to the needs of the beneficiary through either their
workplace or in groups with a training provider where beneficiaries are positioned near one
another and would benefit from the experiences of others.
The ESF funding will create access to training for people who would otherwise not have access
because they are unable to negotiate the applications process for funding. This is particularly a
problem for SMEs. The project will allow these beneficiaries access to funding and will aid their
future ability to train their staff through the creation of co-operative networks.

These issues have all been addressed by the project for those beneficiaries and companies
involved. The larger desire for these effects to spread throughout the sector carried as a
multiplier effect by candidates involved in the project has been less evident. The project was too
small in scale in comparison to the overall need for change in the sector. The need for funding
which this project fulfilled had not disappeared by the project end. Funding remains a crucial
issue for employers aiming to train their staff as described below.

The project application also aspired to
“create networks and partnerships amongst companies which will outlast the project and which
 will allow beneficiary individuals or companies to continue to engage in the training process and
 continue to increase their own competitiveness within the workforce or sector.”
The project did create networks and partnerships amongst companies in particular providers of
 training and companies delivering care which those involved wished to continue. However the
 project did not solve the issues around funding these relationships and therefore at the end of the
 project the activity of these relationships has in almost all cases discontinued. The desire to
 continue working together is there but the resources are not. This is evidenced in response to
the employer and training provider surveys and also in continued calls to the project office
regarding funding more than 18 months after projects have ceased to operate.

The OBj3 project application stated that
“The target number of beneficiaries for this project which is 720 beneficiaries is based on a
combination of the available capacity taking into account administration of the project and the
availability of assessors within the sector in addition to the maximum amount of match funding
available to support the project.”
The Objective 3 Year 2 or continuation application hoped to assist the original 720 beneficiaries
to finish their awards. The Objective 1 application stated a desire to assist 200 beneficiaries.

Numbers of Beneficiaries Funded by Achieving the Challenge Projects
Objective 3 Area Project (ref 102898)              800
Objective 3 Area Continuation Project (ref 105292) 299
Objective 1 Area Project ref (0115)                420

All the projects outstripped their targets for training beneficiaries and together actually involved
1519 beneficiaries in training and utilised 320 trainers, assessors and IVs during the projects‟
lifetime. Many organisations involved in the project hired additional staff to cope with the project
workload demonstrating that if the funding is available that providers of training as well as
providers of care will expand their capacity to train.

 The funding application stated:
“The project is aware that the cost per beneficiary of a care SVQ through this project may appear
 more expensive than in other projects. There are several reasons for this including:
 1.      This project uses realistic costings for workplace-based assessment both in terms of
         number of hours needed for achievement and assessor workload and salary based on the
         SSSC Task & Finish Report, 2003.
  2.     This project will deliver work-based training according to beneficiary needs which means
         smaller groups with trainers travelling to the candidate. Costs for this are higher than for
         centralised programmes.”
 While it was necessary that the application based the project costings on evidence available at
 the time, in reality the amount of funding available to each beneficiary could not be used. There
 are various reasons why this was the case and these are detailed below. It is likely that in each
 case there was a mixture of influencing factors:
 The project was only able to fund for time spent by a provider of training working with a candidate
 or on a candidate‟s portfolio. Providers of training only allocate a certain number of hours to each
 member of staff during any week and this does not appear to have been altered during this
 project. This could be because the provider did not feel it necessary to alter their normal way of
 working to enable the candidate to complete in the given timeframe or it could be because the
 provider of training did not have sufficient capacity to allow their staff to increase time spent with
 any particular candidate (this second supposition has not been supported by responses to the
 training provider questionnaire).
 The provider of care would have a limited amount of time that they could reasonably permit a
 candidate to spend training in any particular week. Time spent training is an additional cost to the
 provider of care and a disruption to the running of the care service and therefore the amount of
 time allocated for training would be limited. This has been borne out by problems encountered
 during the project where candidates felt that their employer was expecting them to undertake
 work during their own time rather than at work. It would appear that training is often still not
 considered either „essential‟ or „normal‟ in the planning of day-to-day service provision activities.

This does not invalidate the evidence on which the project cost model was based because the
project concentrated on so few elements of the costs involved in delivering an SVQ. These
elements were chosen after careful consideration by the Scottish Executive on the basis that
these were the most significant in provision of SVQs. Other costs were borne variously by
participating organisations (employers and providers of training) as recognition of their
commitment to the project.

The project also asserted that
„higher (per head) costs are justified by higher rates of achievement. This project aims to have an
80% achievement level based on the realistic timescale, level of support provided and type of
support provided.‟
The project was not able to report the high levels of achievement it aspired to. Only 298
completions were reported to ESF. This amounts to just over 25% of active beneficiaries (i.e. not
withdrawn). There are several variables at work:
The inability to get candidates started quickly enough – affected by the time taken to receive and
process 2 stage application forms, and the high turnover of staff which meant that once selected
many candidates refused a place and therefore more selection had to take place. On Year 1 of
Objective 3, the project began with a 1 year timescale which was extended to 18 months so if
training did not begin for 6 months (the worst scenario) then there would still have remained 12
months of training time which is more than adequate for a Level 2 or Level 3 candidate. Therefore
this variable alone was not the cause of the lack of reported achievement.
Poor communication between providers of training and project office: many providers of training
considered that the project existed simply to supply funds with little regard for updating the project
office on candidate progress, problems or completions (this was evidence in the project
monitoring function which is discussed below).
Time delay between actual candidate completion and formal issue of certificate from SQA: at the
time of the project it was taking 6 -8 weeks for completions to be turned into certificates. This is
also affected by training providers who might process candidate completion in batches and
therefore delay the issue of certificates. Many training providers stated that candidates were very
near to completion at the project end.
A second batch of candidates were enrolled for year 2 of Objective 3 (299 in total) given that Year
1 had been extended to give an 18 month total timescale. The project specified only Level 2
candidates as the time allocated was only 6 months and this is the normal timescale for this
qualification. The project was very clear about the timescale for this project to beneficiaries,
providers of care and providers of training. It was expressly stated that those who did not
complete within the timeframe would require to find the remaining funds to complete their
qualification elsewhere. Even so, many of those funded by the project complained about lack of
time to complete qualifications so either the data on how long it should take someone to complete
is inaccurate or there is some other variable at work.

The project application stated
“This project will set up the following working processes, practices and attitudes which will last
 beyond the project:
 partnership working at a local level,
 increased appreciation of what qualified staff mean for a company,
 greater degree of knowledge about the training process,
 increased awareness amongst employees about the benefits and realities of training.
 All of which mean that after the lifetime of the project, while funding issues will still exist,
 beneficiary companies will become less reliant on structural funding due to the reduction of other
 barriers to training such as lack of knowledge of how to enter into the training process, where to
 go for training and what training to select. Networks and relationships begun during the project
 will also outlast the funding timescale. It is hoped that due to the scale of the project the
 remainder of the sector will witness the positive training experience of others and be motivated to
 engage in the process themselves.“

The original belief behind the application‟s assertion was that although funds in provision of care
are limited, the problem is that training is not valued highly enough to ensure that some of the
funds of provision are allocated to training. This was thought particularly to be the case in small
organisations. The project achieved all the aims listed above but in most cases this did not lead
to further training being undertaken after the funding from this project was removed. This leads to
the conclusion that either training continues to be considered less important than other costs in
service provision or that the original belief is erroneous and there simply are no funds that can be
allocated to training. This is reflected in the questionnaire responses from employers who did not
dispute the value of training but state that they cannot afford to fund and that as funding has been
made compulsory by government it should be funded by government.
2. Project Set Up & Project Promotion
This was dealt with in the mid project evaluation report and therefore is covered only briefly here.

The projects were designed in 5 stages: Publicity, Beneficiary Recruitment, Initial Assessment
and Selection, Linking Together Companies, Training and Completion.

The following section relates only to the Objective 3 Area Project Ref 102898 – these issues were
resolved in the initial stages of this project and lessons learnt were applied in the implementation
of the Objective 3 Area Continuation (Ref 102595) and Objective 1 Area (Ref 0115) projects.

The project application stated that „publicity‟ would take place 3 months before the project start
date. This stage was completed as planned. The steering group directed this activity; agreeing
the content of information packs and the methods of promotion namely the creation of a website,
mailing of packs to all those on the care commission registration lists in the relevant phases of
SSSC registration and project launch information distributed via steering group to the sector in
general. Administration was provided by Social Care Association.

The project application stated
“Stages 2 (Beneficiary Selection Recruitment/Initial assessment) and 3 (linking together
companies) will run simultaneously beginning on 1 March 2005 and will continue until all
beneficiary places are taken up. The project aims to complete these stages by end April 2005 at
the latest to ensure candidates have the greatest chance of completion within the timescale.
This allows 8 weeks to complete both stages.”

The project manager came into post on the project start date and determined immediately that
the information and forms sent out as part of the information pack were not fit for purpose. The
information these forms collected was insufficient to enable selection to be made in accordance
with the steering group‟s set criteria. In addition potential participants were not given sufficient
information to enable them to make an informed decision about whether or not participation
would be suitable or possible for them. New forms were designed and sent out to those replying
on the original forms. A tight schedule for return of these forms was set to try to minimise impact
on the training schedule. The project team also implemented a series of information sessions
which were carried out in locations across the project areas to enable potential participants
(employers and providers of training) to determine whether to pursue an application. Where an
interested organisation could not attend a sessions then the project manager made
arrangements to meet that organisation separately to explain the project. Selection of candidates
was completed by End May 2005.

On attempting to begin training with the selected candidates, a large number withdrew from the
programme and places had to be refilled. Initially the project attempted to replace candidates on
a like-for-like basis according to the selection criteria i.e. a candidate aged over 50 living in a
particular area and studying towards a level 2 would be replaced with someone with these same
criteria. However as the problem became so widespread it became impractical to do this.
Therefore the project allowed employers to submit the next candidate identified on their
application but again often had to work down to the third or fourth choice to find a candidate who
could train. In the majority of cases this was a result of turnover; staff having left the organisation
in the four weeks between applications being submitted and training starting.

3. Project Administration
The project application stated
“Throughout the lifetime of the project, the project management and administration staff will be
 responsible for monitoring and validating the progress of the project. This will be carried out
 using several methods including:
 Physical hard copy records analysis,
 Regular phone and email contact with all involved, and
 Visits to beneficiaries and beneficiary companies.
The progress of the project in terms of targets for outcomes, results and for the purpose of claims
will be recorded on a centralised computer system at the project management office.”

The project administration team responsible for day-to-day administration was comprised of a
project manager and three administrative assistants (2 full and 1 part time). There was a project
administrator for the Objective 1 project based in Inverness and this post involved some of the
activities related to liason with stakeholders in that area. There was also a Project Development
Officer for Objective 3 area based in Paisley. This post was not directly involved in day-to-day
administration or liason but was a supporting role dealing with monitoring and tackling any issues.
In the initial stages the project administration team was responsible for the receipt and
management of applications. This included
      categorisation according to selection criteria ready for selection,
      input of information into the central electronic store,
      communication with any enquirer or responses to potential participants,
      chasing of missing information (particularly in the case of ensuring that providers of
          training provided all necessary documentation but also many forms were returned with
          incomplete information such as missing dates of birth)
      notifying selected participants & organisations
      issue and receipt of acceptances and terms & conditions
      Issue of timesheets and of instructions regarding completion of timesheets.

Once training became established this changed to receipt, input and checking of timesheets.
This process was carried out daily to ensure the project was prepared for claim. Many providers,
despite request for regular return of records, only returned batches of records as payment dates
approached meaning that the ends of each time period were most pressurised. The project tried
to deal with this by imposing deadlines for receipt of information (anything arriving past a deadline
was input for the next timeframe but meant that payment would be delayed).
The majority of timesheets were returned and input without any incident. There were cases
where a particular provider had difficulty in supplying the forms filled in as instructed. These were
normally those who had not attended an information session and despite the detailed instructions
given (see appendix XXX) continued to have problems. There were a few instances of
organisations querying payments. In the initial months of the project this occurred as a result of
the way payments were being made – paying out on 55% of monthly returns followed by a
quarterly payment of the remaining 45% made calculations complex for participating providers to
understand. Thankfully this was remedied following the monitoring visit by Objective 3 Office
(see below). Following the payment system changeover any queries resulted from an
organisation knowing how much work they had done but not being aware of when relevant
paperwork had been returned to the project office or not accounting for timesheets which were
queried and payment delayed. This meant that payment occurred in a slightly different pattern
than expected. Each issue raised was dealt with by the project manager and where necessary
meetings were arranged where records of visits could be compared and any adjustments were
made to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

It must be acknowledged that there were far fewer administrative and other types of problems
experienced in the Objective 1 area than in the Objective 3 area projects even accounting for the
differing project sizes. As participants were issued with all the same resources and had access to
and were dealt with by the same project staff group, this was surprising. All participants in this
area were more organised, followed instructions correctly, and had less returns due to missing
information or incorrectly completely timesheets/forms. This could partly be explained by less
movement; as a result of the geographic nature of the area people stayed longer with employers
meaning that they were less likely to replace candidates and this is one reason it would be less
complicated. However it was also because employers and providers were sensible not to over
commit; organisations applied for only the number of places they knew they could support during
the time period.

4. Project Monitoring

The project monitoring function was expected to be a minor role in the project running, however
this function was crucial to the success of the project particularly in Objective 3 Area. This role
was undertaken by the project development officer.

At the project outset it was imagined that the PDO would randomly sample providers of training
and employers to select an adequate number and arrange to go and meet with them, see their
systems, meet candidates and look at portfolios.

This role expanded from a planned monitoring function into a response function. Where
administrators noted a lack of candidate progress or a lack of returns from a provider of training
generally or relating to a particular candidate they notified the PDO. This would then be followed
up by phone and in most cases in person. This process uncovered a series of problems related
mainly to poor communication and personality clashes but also areas of poor practice all of which
required to be dealt with in order to ensure the beneficiary could continue training.
Without this service (which often amounted to mediation) many of the training relationships would
have broken down at the expense of the worker being trained with breakdown often being nothing
to do with them whatsoever.

During the project there were many times when problems were encountered and where, although
not having any authority to enforce judgements, the PDO and project manager had to intervene to
allow training of beneficiaries to continue. This mediation often satisfactorily resolved any issues
and allowed training to continue with all parties safe in the knowledge that help and information
was available from the project team as well as from the other parties in the relationship. While
this function was not able to recover all relationships which had foundered it did ensure continuity
of provision for the worker by replacing the training provision where necessary. Due to lack of
communication between parties the project office often did not discover problems until random
visits or visits arranged because project staff could see lack of activity being reported – by this
time problems could be entrenched and the candidates‟ ability to make progress may have been
significantly delayed. In the cases where reconciliation was not possible the PDO was able to
manage the process of moving from one provider to another to ensure training could continue.
There was also one unfortunate case where a provider of training was so poor that all candidates
were removed at the candidates and employers request to another provider.

Problems were encountered during the project with all three types of stakeholder: training
provider, employer and beneficiary. Some of the issues which the project monitoring function
highlighted are discussed below:

There was a gap in terms of responsibility when training provision is found to be of poor quality. It
appears that there is very little an individual organisation can do if a training relationship breaks
down. Often the employing organisation loses out financially as they have paid registration fees
and often part or full costs of training and there is no pressure on the training provider to refund.
Organisations felt that making complaints to SQA was both difficult (complaints only accepted
from individual candidates not employer who may be purchaser).

There were also issues when a provider of training finds poor practice; the only options are either
to walk way and make complaint to the Care Commission (this was also seen as ineffective) or to
try to train to effect change from the bottom up which is difficult. Often when providers of training
attempt to change cultures all that happens is the worker gains enough knowledge to recognise
how bad the care is, sees that the culture will be very difficult to challenge and change and so
leaves to work somewhere where staff and service users are better supported. Often this leads to
tense relations with care provider for both training provider and workers who are challenging the
quality of provision or management of care and can lead to relationship breakdown.

Often disputes resulted from central issues of communication and power:
Misunderstandings frequently arose because the parties involved had not clearly stated how
communication would work or where responsibility lay. This led to unnecessary worry about when
next visits would occur and what was expected of the other parties. Training providers did not
provide clear guidance about what the timescales of visits would be and who was responsible for
arranging these.
Many employers did not take sufficient responsibility for the relationship to protect their own
interests. This was in part due to inexperience as a great deal of the employers had not
previously been involved with training. The employer did not ask certain questions or take certain
actions which would protect their own interests such as -asking the training provider to submit to
them in writing a schedule for appointments and named contact person in addition to the
assessor. Or instructing the candidate to keep duplicates of all work contained in their portfolio
including any drafts or notes in case of loss or damage to portfolio. As a result when things went
wrong they generally had little ability to control what was happening or seek a prompt and
effective solution.

The project was also conscious of cases where employers misused the opportunity to train and
used it as a means to control staff. For example stating that if staff left they would have to pay
the company back the full cost of training (even though the company had paid no more than a
£40 registration fee). Or obstructing access to assessors in response to behaviour that they did
not approve of – cancelling visits and changing shifts with no prior notice.

The project monitoring function was an essential component of the project running which had
great triumphs and enabled the project to run successfully. It identified that employers, especially
those who are not experienced, are exposed to risks which might deter them from further training.
There appeared to be little that organisations which experience poor practice at the hands of
unscrupulous providers of training can do to gain recompense. Employers would benefit from
some practical advice and information about how to engage with and protect themselves in
procuring training.

5. Dealing with the Partnership Offices

The three projects were funded through two different offices as a result of the way in which ESF
funding was allocated to Scotland. There project teams and the Scottish Executive therefore
dealt with both the Objective 1 office for the Highland and Islands Area project (ref 0155) and also
the Objective 3 Partnership Office for the projects covering the rest of Scotland (refs 102898 and

Dealing with Objective 3 Partnership

Dealing with Objective 1 HIPP

The Objective 3

Providers of Care

Providers of Training
Project Monitoring

Survey Responses
Beneficiary Survey Feedback
According to survey responses the vast majority of responding beneficiaries were aware that they
were funded by achieving the challenge (84%). While this is a positive result, the terms of
funding state that all beneficiaries should be aware that they are funded by ESF and this is
therefore disappointing. As many candidates responses indicated that they found out about the
project internally it can be suggested (although no definite figure were collected around this) that
this was a result of the organisation the candidate worked for presenting the information to the
candidate simply as them being able to undertake the SVQ rather than stating who funded it and
by asking them to sign paperwork without explanation of the funding. Anecdotally, on one
Objective 1 monitoring visits the project staff member was requested by the manager/owner not
to disclose who she was or where she was from because the owner/manager had told the staff
members she was paying for their qualification and felt that this would be more motivating and
finding out that the funding came from else where would remove this motivation. In other cases
where problems were encountered and the project addressed them, found particularly where
beneficiaries moved employers during the project, employers had led beneficiaries to believe that
the funding belonged to the employer rather than the individual and were utilising the removal of
funding as a penalty for leaving.

Project Paperwork
Overwhelmingly beneficiaries responded that they understood the need for the project
timesheets, knew why they had to fill them in and found it easy to complete them.

Project Office
Of the beneficiaries who responded to the survey 69% did not have any contact with the project
office at all. The way the funding was distributed and promoted made this an expected result and
was a direct result of the way the project was structured – see separate section on project
structure for more on this. However this often prevented the needs and problems of individuals
being heard unless the project happened to monitor or the monitoring officer visited due to other
issues having been raised by the employer or training provider(although these would often turn
out to be the result of the candidate‟s issue e.g. employer becomes frustrated with lack of
progress and relationship between TP and employers begins to break down – project office is
contacted. On speaking to project office TP informs that candidate is not returning work and not
attending meetings. On investigation monitoring officer finds that employer is not allowing
beneficiary time to carry out assignments and does not have enough staff on to allow beneficiary
to meet with TP). The survey asked beneficiaries who responded and had been in contact with
the project office to rate how helpful, polite and friendly

Possible Problems

Your experience of working towards an SVQ
Facts & Figures on Beneficiaries


Project Design

The design of the project structure was influenced by several strong forces:
The available research
The needs and desires of the Scottish Executive
The ESF regulations
These influenced the following areas in particular ways:
The cost model

The cost model
The amount of funding available per candidate was directly related to research which at the time
had just been published which detailed all the costs involved in SVQ provision. The various costs
detailed were examined and it was determined which would be eligible for ESF funding and which
were ineligible. A decision was also taken that in order to promote a feeling of ownership and
responsibility that the project would aim to support the major costs in SVQ provision with
remaining costs being supported by the various stakeholders. As decision makers were aware of
how difficult it would be to provide audit trail for some costs which were eligible these were not
included in the project application along with ineligible costs. So employers would contribute the
registration fee and costs for replacing staff who are training during working hours, providers of
training would support the cost of administrating the candidates in order to gain contacts and
build relationships with new clients which were expected to outlast the project. This left the
project to cover the costs of providing staff to perform training, Assessment and internal
verification only.

The first problem with this model was that the project was intended to be open and equal to all.
However asking employers to pay the registration fee immediately created a competitive
advantage between providers of training who were SQA accredited and those who are City &
Guilds accredited. City & Guilds registration fees were almost three times as much as SQA
registration fees.

The second problem was that while a training provider might in small numbers of cases be able to
cope with swallowing the cost of administrating an SVQ in numbers as large as the project would
process this was going to make the project an untenable proposition for providers of training. The
Scottish executive solved this problem by supplementing the funds available through the
programme with a contribution to admin costs which would make the programme workable for

Another problem was that employers were in many cases not able or willing to provide
replacement staff. Organisations felt unable to afford to replace staff. This was sometimes due
to overcommitment of staff to training in order tog ain funding. It led to problems with staff being
forced to complete training in their own time which contravened the projects‟ rules.

Finally there was a problem with structuring the project in this way in terms of the ESF regulations
which only became apparent at the project monitoring visit. ESF are interested in how much it
costs to provide a project and this means they want to know about costs whether they are eligible
or not to give a true reflection of the cost of providing a programme. The way the project was
applied for and then amended in ways which were not recorded via the ESF system meant that a
true reflection was not achieved for ESF. The project funds were dealt with in accordance with
guidance and additional funds in no way contravened ESF guidance (no profit was made and
costs would have been eligible) however these items should have been included in the project
The Project Structure

The project was structured as demonstrated in the attached model. This created some
     1. Due to significant changes in staff at the Scottish Executive responsible for the project,
           those who were in charge did not hold sufficient knowledge about ESF, how the project
           was developed and structured and consequently run. This created problems because
           the Objective 1 and 3 offices want to deal with the lead applicant and not the contractor
           managing the programme. The initial relationship between the Scottish Executive and
           contractor was close and the responsible officer took significant interest in the project but
           this did not continue with further changes. The Scottish Executive was expected by the
           ESF programme offices to attend all meetings as the lead party and to carry out all
           communications. This was not possible.

    2. As the Scottish Executive required the project to be open to all parties at the point of
       information and registration, it was not possible to engage with employers and providers
       of training before the project was funded. If some preplanning had been allowed it would
       have allowed a different more streamlined structure to emerge before the project started
       (even before application) which would have highlighted the problems with the cost model
       earlier and eased problems with systems and communication during the project. It would
       have been much better to have the project centralised with all trainers, assessors and
       verifiers seconded to the project, all communication between employers and the
       seconded staff and their respective organisations moving via the project office.
       Payments would still have been made and all candidates‟ processed through the
       providers of training‟s approved systems for SQA/City & Guilds. All visits would have
       been organised by the project office and this would have reduced the administrative
       burden on providers of training. This would also have resulted in problems being
       identified and solved earlier.

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