By: Mca Consulting  05/12/2011

MCA Consulting has worked with a range of national and local public agencies supporting the development of strategies and policies.

facilitation of the strategy development process (for example, by working with an organisation's senior management team and board); reviewing the strategic context for proposed programmes and projects.

Independent evaluations are carried out for funding agencies and government Departments where the required expertise is not available in house. A rigorous and objective approach is taken.

Where the public sector funds interventions in the local economy, it must determine the potential impact of these initiatives on the local and regional economies, and ultimately assess whether the expenditure represents 'best value' and provides reasonable impacts. This can determine the level of risk in proceeding with a project, whether there are better ways to achieve an objective and whether resources could be used more effectively elsewhere. MCA Consulting has worked with a range of public and private sector clients in the assessment of economic and social impacts of projects.
Our approach to appraisal involves detailed analysis of how public funds are spent on activities and that they offer the greatest benefit. Our research includes assessments of market failure, developing project objectives, option appraisal, and cost-benefit analysis and estimates of net additional impacts. We also undertake a qualitative appraisal of projects to rank different project options.

Evaluation is an essential part of local economic development, assessing the performance of projects and programmes compared to costs, and indicating areas for improvement. It ensures that money is being spent efficiently and effectively, and provides evidence of impacts.

MCA Consulting has undertaken numerous evaluations of programmes and projects across Ireland. Typically our clients are project sponsors and include Regional Development Agencies, Local Enterprise Companies or Local Authorities.

Our approach involves detailed analysis of inputs and outputs using information from grant application forms, consultations with funders and survey work. In particular we work closely with the beneficiaries of projects/programmes, communities themselves, to assess the wider impact of the intervention and whether it has produced additional benefit.

To determine the best value use of resources to achieve the objectives of an intervention, a robust appraisal of the viability of a proposal is necessary. Assessment of a project's feasibility and subsequent business planning enables project promoters to proceed with applications for funding.

MCA Consulting has worked with a range of public and private sector clients in financial assessments of projects in accordance with best business practice. Our clients include Local Development Companies and private sector clients.
Our approach to feasibility and business planning exercises involves a detailed assessment of income and expenditure generated by a project and the construction of a bespoke financial model that examines capital and revenue costs, markets and demand levels, revenue projections, cash flow and profitability.

Co-operation projects can play a vital role in local development. Transnational co-operation involves the mutually beneficial marriage of key actors in two or more countries, working together to form a viable project addressing common problems. Co-operation should result in genuine added value to the local area, and generally projects will include achieving the critical mass necessary for a joint project to be viable.

Co-operation project should involve maximum participation by all partners and genuine co-operation rather than solely a transfer of knowledge.

MCA Consulting can provide pre development support and project management services to ensure the cost effective and viable transnational project. Services provided include partners’ searches from credible sources across the EU and beyond. Our professional approach can maximize benefits from transnational co-operation and release staff time for core programme activity.

For both private sector companies and public sector agencies, effective decision making should be based on knowledge. Particularly where significant investment is being considered it is important to understand market conditions and trends.

Our research experience includes a wide range of services for both the private, public and community sectors, including:

  • reviews of sectors and clusters
  • best practice reviews
  • market reviews

Courses and workshops can be tailored specifically for clients, based on needs. Accredited training courses can be sourced on demand.

Areas specifically covered include training for

  • community & voluntary sector
  • farm diversification
  • rural business
  • local development procedures and best practice
  • project development and project management

Our principle consultant Allen McAdam is also available as a professional speaker at conferences, workshops and other events.

Support is provided in the development, review and ongoing smooth operations of local, regional and national networks. Advice is available on best practice models, membership development and retention, financing and getting the most out of your network.

MCA Consulting has significant experience in identifying potential sources of project funding and preparing funding applications that demonstrate how projects will deliver the strategic objectives of funders.

Our work in this area includes:

  • identifying potential private and public sector funders
  • identifying mainstream funding sources for successful pilot projects
  • preparing funding applications and supporting cost benefit analysis and business plans for funders including European programmes and major research funders