The Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation (DJEI) has requested Forfás to undertake an evaluation of enterprise support programmes, funded by DJEI and the Exchequer. The evaluation approach is guided by the Evaluation Framework developed by Forfás for the evaluation of enterprise support programmes. The Framework was informed by an international review conducted by Indecon Consultants, and outlines international best practice regarding the core principles and methodologies required for the evaluation of enterprise support programmes. It provides a common basis for the evaluation of all enterprise support interventions, and is cognisant of common challenges and issues facing enterprise evaluation.
In keeping with the principles of the Framework, programmes are categorised by thematic area, one of which is business development supports. The thematic areas are based on the different focus areas for agency supports and the different evaluation methodologies required to evaluate the different types of programmes. This builds on existing agency practice and facilitates a manageable approach to the evaluations, particularly with regard to agency resources. Following international best practice, the evaluations will be conducted in an independent and informed manner, ensuring the integrity of the evaluation process.
The approach is intended to assist policy makers and enterprise support programme designers to assess the value of policy interventions, achieve continued improvements in the design and implementation of programmes, and strengthen the evaluation culture in enterprise support provision.
The two companies involved in conducting this project are Fitzpatrick Associates, Economic Consultants, and Insight Statistical Consulting. The firms co-operate frequently on reviews and analyses and evaluation for public bodies.