DD2348 Evaluation of The Mayor’s Construction Academy

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2348
Date signed: 
16 April 2019
Decision by: 
Michelle Cuomo-Boorer, Assistant Director of Skills and Employment

Executive summary

The Mayor’s Construction Academy (MCA) was created to ensure that training providers and employers are working together as effectively as possible to design and deliver approaches to training which meet the needs of employers and learners.

The MCA is comprised of four work streams:

1. MCA quality mark which identifies high-quality construction training provision (21 skills providers were awarded the quality mark during the first round of applications in 2018);
2. MCA Hubs which aim to strengthen relationships and improve coordination between skills providers and construction employers, with a specific focus on housing development;
3. A £7.2m capital funding programme for quality-marked providers to ensure that equipment and facilities keep pace with changing technology; and
4. A marketing and communications campaign to direct people to careers advice and construction focused learning opportunities.

Up to £80,000 is sought to be used to procure a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the MCA Hubs, which form the core of the MCA, and an impact evaluation of the wider programme insofar as activity relates to the effectiveness of the Hubs.

Decision

That the Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment approves expenditure of up to £80,000 on services required for the evaluation of the Mayor’s Construction Academy programme to assess the effectiveness of the programme to achieve the stated aims and objectives and to inform future work in this area.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

In his manifesto, the Mayor pledged to establish a construction academy scheme with the housebuilding industry to close the gap between our ambitious housing targets and the need for more skilled construction workers in London.

The Mayor’s Construction Academy (MCA) for London was created to ensure that training providers and employers are working together as effectively as possible to design and deliver approaches to training which meet the needs of employers and learners. The development and delivery of the MCA has been shaped by senior stakeholders representing the construction industry, skills providers, and local government, overseen by the Mayor’s Homes for Londoners and Skills for Londoners boards. These boards will continue to oversee the programme as it progresses through delivery.

The MCA programme is comprised of four work streams:

• MCA Quality Mark: which identifies high-quality construction training provision (21 skills providers were awarded the quality mark during the first round of applications in 2018);
• MCA Hubs: £4 million revenue funding to establish local MCA Hubs which aim to strengthen relationships and improve coordination between skills providers and construction employers, with a specific focus on housing development;
• MCA Capital Funding: £7.2 million capital funding programme for quality-marked providers to ensure that equipment and facilities keep pace with changing technology; and
• Careers Campaign: all elements of the programme are supported by a marketing and communications campaign to direct people to careers advice and learning opportunities, of which construction will be a strong theme.

The Mayor approved (under cover of MD2213) the following expenditure on the MCA:

• £7.2m capital funding from the Growth Deal 3 for premises refurbishment and/or equipment for construction skills related training; and
• £1.8m revenue funding.

In October 2018 the Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment approved the expenditure of a further £3.2m (of funding approved under the Business Rates Retention Pilot under cover of MD2363) comprising:

• £2.2m to increase the total revenue spend on the Mayor’s Construction Academy and to widen this project to support a greater number of outputs and outcomes, including support for the infrastructure sector; and
• £1m on the Mayor’s careers campaign.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) is seeking to commission an evaluation of the MCA. The commission is primarily an impact evaluation, the main purpose being to measure the effectiveness of the MCA programme for delivering the outputs and outcomes specified, and the programme’s value for money. In addition, the evaluation should include a process element, to provide evidence on what works well and less well in terms of implementing the MCA programme components.

Funding for this evaluation will be drawn from the revenue funding attributed to the MCA Hubs.

Objectives and expected outcomes

In his manifesto, the Mayor outlined that the over-arching aim of the MCA is to close the gap between our ambitious housing targets and the need for more skilled construction workers in London. In addition, the MCA programme aims to:

• improve the supply of skilled construction workers required by the sector and thereby create more opportunities for Londoners to benefit from the available work opportunities in the construction industry;
• scale up and extend what initiatives are already working well across the capital to train Londoners in the skills they need to enter into and progress in careers in the construction sector;
• intensify local engagement, particularly between SMEs and construction skills training providers; and
• support the development of training provision for the construction of precision-manufactured housing in London.

The specific outcomes and outputs that have been set out across the four work streams of the programme can be found at Appendix A.

The MCA Hub network is a novel and innovative approach to market mediation. Of particular interest is the range of stakeholders represented as lead organisations across the network; which include colleges, local authorities, a university and TfL. The Hubs are being funded through two rounds of grants, the first of which is already in-train. An evaluation tracking the Hubs throughout the delivery process is sought to support in-delivery developments and also to inform the second round of grants which will expand the programme.

The research and evaluation provider will be required to:

• identify and measure the impact of each stage of delivery, and the marketing campaign, on the desired aims and outcomes for the MCA Hubs;
• provide an insight on whether the programme has addressed key challenges in relation to construction skills provision in London;
• provide analysis of sustainability of the Hubs and, where possible, make recommendations for replication and scale up;
• identify activities that have successfully engaged employers and review whether this has informed any changes in employer recruitment strategies;
• identify activities to improve the diversity of construction learners (especially Women and BAME groups), and those progressing into employment opportunities in the construction industry;
• highlight areas of good practice including case studies;
• report lessons learned; and
• carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the programme as a whole.

The evaluator shall provide:

• A brief presentation on emerging issues (August/September 2019);
• An interim report (March 2020); and
• A final evaluation and presentation materials (June 2021).

The interim report will produce insight on the impact and performance of the MCA. This interim report will also be used to:

• inform potential future decisions on further investment in the MCA;
• inform decisions on management of the MCA; and
• inform decisions on other potential investments in careers support and provision.

The final report shall be accompanied by:

• a stand-alone executive summary;
• a presentation of findings (including a slide pack and presentation to the relevant programme board); and
• a theory of change and evaluation framework for entire programme.

This insight will also be used as part of ongoing reporting on the Mayor’s Skills Strategy implementation and to shape the design and commissioning of future programmes in a way that maximises their likely impact and value for money.

The evaluator shall undertake primary data collection across all projects to provide feedback on the success of the project, challenges and recommendations. This shall cover an appropriate sample of:

• GLA staff, including those involved in the development of the projects, and those involved in the delivery (no more than four individuals);
• Lead delivery partners;
• Employers;
• Learners;
• Skills providers; and
• Industry stakeholders.

Key research questions have been stipulated in the tender specification and cover all elements of delivery and their efficacy in terms of achieving the stated objectives relating to employers, providers and learners. It is noted that each Hub is operating under a tailored grant agreement, reflecting the additionality that each Hub lead presented in their bids. Therefore, there will be both programme-wide and Hub specific learnings generated.

Contract Management

In addition to the outputs set out above, the research and evaluation provider will attend monthly monitoring meetings to support ongoing improvements across the network. These will take place through a mix of in-person and teleconference sessions administered through the Skills & Employment Unit Delivery Team and supported by the MCA Programme Manager.

The Skills for Londoners Construction Sub-Group will receive quarterly updates on progress of the MCA programme, including learnings from this evaluation. Updates will be shared with the LEAP board as appropriate.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have ‘due regard’ of the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

Officers confirm that the procurement and commissioning of the activities described above will confirm with requirements made under the public sector equality duty, and that any learning pertaining to people who have protected characteristics will be used to inform future specifications for work.

The MCA has set the Hubs ambitious targets regarding female and BAME learners entering constructions courses and employment. The MCA will also aim to target these groups as part of the construction careers campaign. The evaluation specification therefore includes a requirement to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme in engaging and supporting Londoners from diverse groups (women, BAME Londoners, and those from low income backgrounds) to access information about construction employment opportunities, skills and qualifications needed to enter employment, and assess whether this has had a particular impact on their employability.

Other considerations

The key risk associated to the delivery of this contract is the quality of the research and evaluation provider. This will be mitigated by drawing from the TfL framework of evaluators which has been quality assured, and through contract management.

It is noted that the performance of the provider of this contract is somewhat related to the quality of information captured and shared by the individuals Hubs. This will be mitigated through high-quality grant monitoring, administered through the Skills & Employment Unit Delivery Team.

The contract manager for this contract will work closely with the colleague administering grant monitoring for the Hubs to ensure any issues are surfaced and addressed at the earliest opportunity.

Financial comments

The estimated cost of up to £80,000 for the proposed programme evaluation will be funded from the revenue element of the Mayor’s Construction Academy Programme budget as approved by MD2213 (with the programme costs spanning to 2021 in line with the phasing of the budget).

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract

1 April 2019

Delivery Start Date

1 July 2019

Interim report delivered

31 March 2020

Final report delivered

30 June 2021


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