Category Archives: Latest Headlines

Employer perceptions of qualifications

Ofqual, the qualifications and examinations regulator, has published Pye Tait’s pilot study report investigating employers’ perceptions, confidence, and use of a range of qualifications and assessments. The first survey of its kind for Ofqual, it helps to increase Ofqual’s understanding of what employers think about the qualifications they use when making decisions about who to hire, which training to invest in, and what business impact they expect to see from staff who achieve those qualifications.

Our approach comprised a telephone and online survey of over 2,000 employers in England, spanning all industry sectors, organisation sizes, and all nine geographic regions. We also carried out 40 depth telephone interviews to obtain more detailed feedback.

Ofqual intends to run further studies to build up a longitudinal view of the extent to which employers have confidence in vocational and technical qualifications.

The final report along with the data annex are available here.

Legal services report published

Opening up internal discussion about next steps for legal services, Associate Director Jennifer Brennan presented the findings at the Bar Standards Board’s (BSB)* knowledge sharing session on 12th July.

The full report on how the provision of legal services is evolving was recently published.

Pye Tait Consulting was commissioned to find out about the range of different approaches used by barristers to deliver legal services, how they receive instructions, and to understand how delivery of legal services may change in the future. The work has provided the BSB with an evidence base to enable them to assess the risks and benefits associated with different approaches used by barristers to deliver legal services.

The research used a mixed-method approach, collecting and analysing primary and secondary sources of qualitative and quantitative data via desk-based research, a consultation workshop, an online survey of organisations involved in delivering or facilitating legal services by barristers, and in-depth telephone interviews.

Our report is available to download here.

(*) The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is the regulator of barristers, their professional practice and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales.

Postgraduate Master’s and Doctoral Loans

In 2015 we carried out an independent analysis of the Government’s Consultation on Support for Postgraduate Study, which led to the introduction of a publicly funded master’s loan scheme which enables master’s students under 60 to access a loan of up to £10,000 as a contribution towards the cost of their study.

More recently, Pye Tait Consulting has provided independent analysis of public consultation responses on Government proposals to introduce a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan. Our report on this study has been published here. The consultation generated over 300 responses from universities, student bodies, individuals and others, who generally welcomed the postgraduate doctoral loan proposals.

The Government has decided to introduce the loan product on a demand-led basis. It will be for doctoral programmes of up to eight years’ duration. The Department for Education’s full consultation response has been published here.

Functional Skills Reform Programme

The work on Functional Skills reform continues into 2017: we have been liaising with specially recruited expert subject-writers to develop a set of exemplar materials to support the teaching of revised FS maths and English at all levels (Entry 1 to Level 2). Draft materials have been reviewed and tested by practitioners to ensure pedagogically-sound support.

The new engaging content and activities will be made available on the Excellence Gateway.

Our work supporting the Education and Training Foundation on Functional Skills reform began in 2015 when, in partnership with Learning & Work Institute, we delivered a series of national consultations designed to achieve an up-dated set of National Adult Standards, Functional Skills Subject Content. This work was designed to lead to revised Functional Skills maths and English qualifications, recognised and valued by employers.

Shropshire’s Big Conversation



Pye Tait’s Big Conversation report has recently been published by Shropshire Council, who commissioned us to carry out detailed local research earlier this year.

We engaged with individuals, communities and stakeholders to better understand perceptions of service spending priorities, and ways to make savings and increase local involvement in delivering services.

The approach involved a large survey, five focus groups, three action-planning workshops, a feedback presentation and a final report.

The results of this detailed research have been used by Shropshire Council to inform their Action Plan, Financial Strategy and Draft Corporate Plan.

Miranda_Pye Joanne_Harvatt

Design Council: Case studies of design and innovation in housing construction

Design is crucial to providing us with homes that save us money and are great to live in, so, in 2015, Design Council commissioned us to develop a series of case studies to show how design improves the quality of new homes and helps to create great places to live. A selection of eight of our case studies have been published. They showcase innovative practices and techniques at a time when the need for great new homes is high on the social and political agenda.

How design is improving the quality of new homes (case studies):

The Greenhauses, London
LoCal Homes, West Midlands
North West Bicester
The Guts, Manchester
The Malings, Newcastle
Abode, Cambridge
LILAC, Leeds


Second National Customer Satisfaction Survey

In 2015, the Scottish Government commissioned Pye Tait Consulting to undertake the second national customer satisfaction survey to support the building standards system in Scotland. The survey was hosted online and achieved over 1,800 responses from individuals and organisations, including individual applicants (such as home owners) and their agents such as architects and surveyors. In total, 40 reports were produced, including one national report, seven consortium reports and 32 local authority reports.

The results contribute to performance measurement and continuous improvement of the local authority building standards service in line with the current national performance framework.

Report on National Customer Satisfaction Survey

Devolved Government

Consultation analysis – Developing new GCSEs, AS and A levels

The first in a series of three consultation analysis reports for Ofqual, relating to Developing new GCSEs, AS and A level qualifications for first teaching in 2017, has been published.

This first consultation covered proposed assessment arrangements for reformed GCSEs in the following subjects: astronomy, business, economics, engineering, geology, psychology and sociology; and reformed A levels and AS qualifications in: design and technology, environmental science, history of art, music technology and philosophy.

Pye Tait was responsible for impartial analysis and anonymous reporting on behalf of the client.

Report on consultation analysis (part one)

National Regulatory Body

Defusing the skills time bomb

Miranda Pye and Adrian Smith were delighted to attend the recent House of Commons launch of the FMB’s report, Defusing the skills time bomb, authored by Pye Tait Consulting.

Specifically, Pye Tait’s role was to undertake independent and impartial analysis of the FMB’s member survey, supported by a small number of follow-up in-depth interviews, employer visits and focus groups.

The event was chaired by FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry and was attended by Skills Minister, Nick Boles, and other industry representatives.

Defusing the skills time bomb (November 2015)
Full report

Trade Association

Retentions in UK Construction

Retentions – holding back a proportion of monies owed until a job has been completed to the satisfaction of the buyer – is a long established contractual practice in the construction sector. However there is very limited evidence on the impact of retentions, and on alternatives to this approach.

Pye Tait has recently been commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the current practice of retentions, its costs, benefits and impacts for the sector, and the costs and benefits of alternative practices.

Using a combination of expert input, desk-based research and qualitative and quantitative feedback from the sector, we will be looking at all parties to construction contracts – from the client, whose interests the retention is ultimately there to protect, through to specialist contractors in the supply chain.

Central Government Client