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Viewpoint is a series of 'thought pieces' produced by SQW, Oxford Innovation and SQW Asia, the operating divisions of SQW Group.


The aim of the series is to share our thinking about key topical issues in the arena of sustainable economic and social development, public policy, innovation and enterprise with our clients and others with an interest in the particular subject area of each paper.


In each Viewpoint, we will draw on our policy research and implementation experience to consider topical issues and provide suggestions for strategic and practical solutions.


To sign up for publications in the Viewpoint series, please contact Michael Frearson, SQW viewpoint@sqw.co.uk


Nov 2009 - Quality, Risk and Regulation: Collaborative Provision and Employer Engagement in Higher Education


As Government interest in the contribution UK universities make in delivering higher-level skills and employability strengthens (see Higher Ambitions: the future of universities in a knowledge economy (BIS, November 2009), this Viewpoint reflects upon the experiences of the higher education sector in working with employers and delivering collaborative, largely vocational provision. Drawing on our recent project work, it addresses the attendant risks and quality assurance challenges, and offers insights into good practice and effective strategies deployed by universities and their partners in the delivery of collaborative and employer-responsive provision.


Quality, Risk and Regulation: Collaborative Provision and Employer Engagement in Higher Education (396KB)>>



Oct 2009 - Employment Recovery - Local Solutions for a National Challenge


For more than a decade the policy response of central and local government to what has been termed "worklessness" has focused on tackling the large number of people on 'inactive benefits' and creating employment opportunities for all. Now the context has changed, and the immediate focus has shifted to helping those losing their jobs and to providing opportunities for significant numbers of young people to enter employment. Yet difficulties remain, and could even be exacerbated, for people who have been out of work for a long time. Alongside a series of national policy responses, local authorities have been at the forefront of tackling this complex and urgent national challenge. In the wake of the Houghton Review, Tackling Worklessness: a review of the contribution of English local authorities and partners (CLG, March 2009), and drawing on our project experience in this area, this Viewpoint identifies priorities for local action.


Employment Recovery - Local Solutions for a National Challenge (549KB) >>



Jul 2009 - Business Support - should it be simpler, cheaper...or just better?


Government has set in motion a Business Support Simplification Programme to reduce the plethora of publicly-funded business support schemes from a staggering 3,000 in 2005 to just 30 by 2010. Publicly-funded business support in the UK has grown to be a big business, but have we lost sight of its purpose? And will the government's programme address the real needs of business or is it just a cost-cutting exercise? This Viewpoint proposes a different approach to simplifying business support, one which aims to achieve a better fit between the organizations delivering the services and their business customers.


Business Support - should it be simpler, cheaper...or just better? (273KB) >>


Dec 2008 - Making the Most of Evaluation


Evaluations should inform policy decisions by providing evidence on the outcomes of previous interventions and their value for money. But often evaluation reports just sit on shelves gathering dust. What can be done to improve their policy contribution? This Viewpoint addresses this question by drawing on the body of evaluation evidence that has accumulated over the past twenty years.


Making the Most of Evaluation (457KB) >>


Aug 2008 - Migrant Workers - Economic Issues and Opportunities


This Viewpoint looks at the scale of recent in-migration and its economic contours, rather than the implications of migration for public services and the housing market. It highlights a number of issues that regional, sub-regional and local organisations need to address if they are to promote sustainable economic competitiveness in the context of large-scale international labour flows.


Migrant Workers - Economic Issues and Opportunities (3MB) >>


Oct 2007 - Carbon Reduction - Obligation and Opportunity


Government has set out a clear framework for tackling climate change which establishes a carbon reduction pathway to 2050. Can this obligation be converted into 'first mover' opportunities for businesses and the economy as a whole? This Viewpoint considers the policy levers that can help turn the obligation into an opportunity, and the role that national, regional and local agencies can play through spatial planning, innovation, procurement, skills development and enterprise.


Carbon Reduction - Obligation and Opportunity (743KB) >>