Tuesday, 11 Jan 2011
Cranes on construction site
Evaluations of Trade Support to Sectors
Evaluation of UKTI Sector Marketing Strategies
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) initiated the development of Sector Marketing Strategies following the publication in 2006 of ‘Prosperity in a Changing World’ that set out UKTI intentions to work in partnership with other public sector bodies and industry to market ‘Business UK’. The strategies were to be developed in seven key sectors - Financial Services; Creative Industries; Life Sciences; ICT; Energy Technologies; Advanced Engineering; and Low Carbon Solutions.
Key aims of developing UK wide marketing strategies were to act as a catalyst to spur development of partnerships between business and Government to deliver a collective marketing effort; and develop core messages about the UK’s strengths that will contribute to marketing the country to inward investors and will help UK companies to sell themselves overseas.
The purpose of the research was to evaluate the progress of the first five of these strategies; to assess whether they were on trajectories and generating outputs and intermediate outcomes consistent with their longer term purpose. The evaluation was overseen by an advisory group which included two independent senior academics as well as policy officials and evaluation specialists, in keeping with standard UKTI practice.
The research consists of a full report, including a survey of 500 UK firms that had attended events that had strongly featured sector messaging, to assess the extent to which the messaging had strengthened UK sectoral reputation and influenced business attitudes, behaviour and practices, and five individual sector case studies.
Sector case Studies
As a further input to the evaluation, a separate survey of some 400 firms in overseas markets was also carried out, to assess the effectiveness of the strategies in influencing perceptions of the UK as a place in which to invest and from which to buy from.
UKTI has a strong commitment to robust independent research and has formally responded to the review findings and recommendations.
Evaluation of the Trade Development Strategies of UKTI Sectors Group
A key feature of much SG activity is that it is expected to generate impact at a collective sector level, rather than simply to achieve benefits for the firms directly involved. In particular, the evaluation highlighted the importance of:
Effects on the reputation of UK sectors in overseas markets;
Effects on the social networks which underpin international business, including levels of trust and flows of information;
Effects on mechanisms for co-operation for collective sector benefit, for example to commission research on potential new opportunities, or to showcase UK capability.
Evidence on these sector level effects was gathered through a set of 9 detailed sector case studies, for each of which the evaluation team interviewed a range of players, seeking to capture a robust range of perspectives. In addition, the evaluation made use of quantitative evidence, which was already available from UKTI’s Performance and Impact Monitoring Survey (PIMS), on benefits to the firms directly involved in the supported activities
The study has pioneered the use of case studies for the evaluation of business support. It has developed and implemented a system of mapping social networks at the sector level. It has collected information about the reputation of the country as a whole, about individual sectors, and about UKTI itself, and considered the economic value of such reputation. It has synthesised and interpreted this information using the concepts of modern institutional economics.
UK Trade & Investment has a strong commitment to robust independent evaluation and responded to the evaluation conclusions and recommendations as follows:
UKTI also commissioned preliminary work to gather and review relevant existing evidence; develop clear logic models for the main types of sector group activities; and proposals for research design for the economic impact evaluation, stage 2.