Select Committee on European Union Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum from the Department for Education and Skills

  1.  I am writing with the further information requested by the Committee following my appearance before them on 12 May.


  2.  The Committee asked whether measurement and evaluation of the scheme could be made public, and what external evaluation had been done other than employer surveys.

  3.  All research commissioned by Investors in People UK and the Department is in the public domain.

  4.  Research commissioned by Investors in People UK (March 2003), based on a survey of 1,000 recognised, committed and uninvolved companies of all sizes, reported that awareness of Investors in People is at 97 per cent amongst employers. The research also showed that employers believe there is a strong association between Investors in People and business success: 82 per cent believe it helps people to achieve their potential, 79 per cent believe it increases business efficiency, 65 per cent believe it provides a competitive edge for UK companies, here and overseas and 62 per cent believe it delivers bottom line results. (Within Europe, March 2003)

  5.  In 1999, research amongst 2,000 recognised companies showed that 80 per cent of employers felt that they had increased their customer satisfaction since becoming recognised and 70 per cent had improved their competitive edge and productivity. (CREATE, 1999)

  6.  There are currently over 34,000 recognised organisations in the UK. This equates to over 27 per cent of the UK population working in a recognised organisation. The brand is now so well recognised that it has been exported to 24 countries where it is being used to support a range of EU, Government and private sector initiatives.

  7.  Investors in People UK are embarking on a pilot project with the DTI which will look at the impact organisations' performance against the Investors in People Standard has had on measures such as turnover, number of leavers, number of complaints etc. The results of the pilot will be available by the end of the year.


  8.  The Committee requested further information about the ROAMEF framework used by the DfES to evaluate its programmes.

  9.  The Framework is described in the Treasury publication "The Green Book—Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government". This constitutes binding guidance for all government departments. The Green Book specifies what the ROAMEF framework is and provides detailed guidance on how departments should implement it. I have summarised the process below.

  10.  The ROAMEF framework sets out a six stage process for appraisal and evaluation of Programmes, beginning at the proposal stage. The acronym stands for Rationale, Objectives, Appraisal, Monitoring, Evaluation, Feedback.

    —  The first step is to establish whether there is a clearly identified need and that any proposed intervention is likely to be worth the cost.

    —  The second step is to set out clearly the desired outcomes and objectives of the intervention in order to identify the full range of options that may be available to deliver them.

    —  The third stage is an appraisal of the identified options, and the identification of the most appropriate solution.

    —  At stage four the best solution may then be implemented and its performance monitored.

    —  Step five involves evaluation of what has happened during implementation and operation. Its main purpose is that the lessons are widely learned, communicated and applied when assessing new proposals.

    —  The final stage, feedback, involves the presentation of the conclusions and recommendations to decision makers and key stakeholders.

  Parts of the process may be repeated as necessary before moving on.

  11.  As a department DfES is committed to operating within the principles of the ROAMEF Framework. We have our own internal departmental guidance on appraisal and evaluation. We are currently at the advanced stages of producing updated guidance. Using funding provided by the Treasury in the Year 2000 Spending Review, we have instituted a successful programme of economics training for policymakers, run by Durham Business School. The importance of the ROAMEF Framework, and the practicalities of how to apply it, are key aspects of this course.

  12.  The outcome of this process is high quality evidence on the impact of the policy, its efficiency, and its value-for-money. This is the sort of evidence we would use in discussions with the Treasury with regard to how well the policy is working, whether it could work better, and whether it should be continued, expanded, adjusted, or abandoned altogether.


  13.  I offered to look further into the reasons for the distribution of HEIF between intensive and less research intensive Higher Education Institutions. I have reviewed this with the responsible officials and there is nothing to add to the evidence I provided on 12 May. Discussions on the way forward with DTI are ongoing.


  14.  The Committee sought evidence that levels of innumeracy and literacy had fallen. The Committee also asked for statistics of people improving their numeracy and literacy skills by specified target amounts, and also volumes figures for those getting through Levels 1, 2, and 3 basic skills.

  15.  There is one point to correct in what I said. The levels are referred to as Entry level, followed by levels 1 and 2.

  16.  Skills for Life was launched in March 2001. Between April 2001 and July 2002 319,000 adults improved their literacy, language and/or numeracy skills. It is estimated that 23 per cent of these achievements were at entry level, 42 per cent at level 1 and 35 per cent at level 2. Statistics for the period August 2002 onwards are not yet available, but we are on track to meet the July 2003 milestone of 470,000 adults with better basic skills.

  17.  We are focusing activity on working with partners to drive up the quality of teaching and learning in literacy, numeracy and language provision, in order to raise learner achievement. National standards, core curricula for literacy, numeracy and ESOL, a national Pre-Entry Curriculum Framework and National Tests in literacy and numeracy have been successfully introduced. All new teachers who wish to teach adult literacy or numeracy in the post-16 sector are now required to gain qualifications that meet the subject specialisations.

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