Communities Scotland is an Executive Agency of the Scottish Executive. The agency has two main functions. First, it supports social housing activity in Scotland through its role as a funder of housing development and as the regulatory authority for Registered Social Landlords (housing associations). Secondly, it has the lead role in promoting and supporting community regeneration, particularly focussed on Scotland's most socially disadvantaged and excluded communities. Within this latter role, the agency has a key role in promoting and supporting community learning and development. This role is carried out by the Learning Connections 'division' within the agency.
Learning Connections has within its areas of responsibilities, a co-ordinating and support role for Adult Literacies strategy in Scotland. In 2002, the Scottish Executive established four Pathfinder projects aimed at piloting innovative approaches to developing literacies provision. Responsibility for these projects was assumed by Communities Scotland, in 2003, shortly after the agency's formation.
These first stage Pathfinders were succeeded later in 2003, with proposals to pilot a second stage, commencing in 2004. At the planning stage it was agreed that there would be value in ensuring that a comprehensive and systematic approach to the evaluation of these projects was established. This led to the development of an 'Evaluation Project' which would aim to 'develop and support the implementation of an evaluation framework and evaluation tools for the eight phase two pathfinder projects'.
This report describes this project and its activities, collates the resources developed during the project and provides conclusions and recommendations based on the lessons learned. The report does not focus on any aspect of evaluating the individual Pathfinders. This is for two reasons. First the evaluation project aimed to support the projects undertake their own evaluative process and not to directly assess the projects themselves. Secondly, Communities Scotland has commissioned a separate independent evaluation of the Pathfinders and this report has been written to avoid duplication of this separate study.