ekosgen recently completed an evaluation of the Business Connectivity in Lincolnshire and Rutland programme. The ERDF funded programme ran from April 2013 to December 2015 and combined capital investment to address gaps in commercial superfast broadband provision with revenue support to introduce businesses to superfast broadband, outline the opportunities it presents and minimise digital exclusion. A further strand of activity was delivered through the University of Lincoln to allow SMEs to work collaboratively with the knowledge base to develop technology based projects.
Both an interim and final evaluation were completed as part of the contract. The interim evaluation considered progress to date and identified priorities for the remainder of the delivery period. The final evaluation report reflected on achievements against targets as well as the success of approaches taken, reported business benefits to date and anticipated in future and the identification of lessons for future programmes. Analysis drew on programme management records and consultations with beneficiaries, programme managers and members of the delivery team to secure a variety of perspectives.
This commission built on ekosgen’s experience of undertaking a longitudinal evaluation of the Superfast Business programme in the South West of England and evaluating pilot activities in Wales. In each case, the evaluation considered early achievements, potential for further gains and lessons for the delivery of later phases of activity.