The MSEI was a ground-breaking initiative led by NWDA that sought to support the development of an enlarged sustainable social enterprise sector on Merseyside. AMION was appointed to undertake the evaluation which was both summative and formative.
It ran in parallel with the initiative and was seen as a crucial element in informing the ongoing development of the Strategy and its related initiatives.
The core purpose of the evaluation was to examine the extent to which the MSEI was achieving its primary aim of developing the sector both through individual projects and through its (often more qualitative and strategic) impacts at a programme and sector co-ordination level. The research was also required to provide periodic overviews of the current scale of the social enterprise sector on Merseyside and the issues and/or opportunities that it was facing.
The research underpinning the evaluation required the use of both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Evidence to support the analysis require a significant amount of primary research. This included working with the Merseyside Social Enterprise Network, AMION undertook three sector surveys during the course of the evaluation to provide a profile of the sector in the sub-region and identify issues it faced; structured interviews were carried out with all the MSEI partners, the deliverers of the various projects and initiatives and other key stakeholders; beneficiary surveys of the 200-plus recipients of support; and analysis of project management information.