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Archive for December, 2015

Yet More Wavehill

08 Dec

Goodness knows when this Wavehill/food festival funding saga will end. I would hope when we got some answers, but obviously with wag food in control, that is not a given. My surprise is that Wavehill last week were ringing organisers of wag funded festivals and asking them in essence for their feedback. Well I’m not sure organisers are not too busy in December to talk to Wavehill for maybe an hour, but then what do I know? In previous years, I understood that organisers had to complete paperwork and send it in to wag, but the questions being asked by Wavehill, could they already have answered them? My thoughts lie with our organisers as many of them are volunteers, unlike those lucky people at Wavehill who do get paid. I also thought that organisers are asked some of these questions on their grant applications, so why duplicate them? It’s a wag criteria that festivals have to have 75% Welsh stands to qualify for funding so shouldn’t the organisers have to send in a detailed list of stand holders, stating which are Welsh, before they get paid by wag? I do wonder how many times organisers have been asked the same questions and how many of them feel why they are being asked questions because nothing really improves. But the penny has now dropped, perhaps Wavehill are simply justifying their wag fee and we are no doubt guilty of forgetting the boxes that wag are ticking.

Follows is what is sent through to them to give them ‘guidance’ before Wavehill make their call!

Evaluation of Food Festivals Supported by the Welsh Government
Discussion Guide – consultations

This document

First of all, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.

This is a discussion guide for the interview we would like to undertake with you as part of the above evaluation. We would be grateful if you can find a few minutes to read through it in advance of the interview.

The guide includes some background information about the evaluation and also a list of questions that we would like to discuss. This discussion guide is however exactly that – a guide to the issues that we would like to cover during the interview. We would, of course, be happy to consider any other issues which you feel are relevant.

Some background

Wavehill have been commissioned by the Welsh Government to undertake monitoring and an evaluation of food festivals supported by Welsh Government funding.

The final report of the evaluation will be produced in early 2016 and this interview is being undertaken as part of the fieldwork for that report.

We anticipate that the interview should take around 30-40 minutes depending of course on how much you have to contribute. As you can appreciate, we will be interviewing a wide range of people as part of the evaluation. Accordingly, some of the questions listed may not be applicable to you; we will of course focus on those questions which are relevant to you.

Any comments that you make will be confidential and the information you provide will only be used for the purposes of this evaluation. Comments that you make will not be attributed to you unless we have your explicit permission to do that. It is also important to note that the team undertaking the evaluation do not work for the Welsh Government or any of the organisations that are involved in the delivery or funding of this project. This is an independent evaluation.

Questions for discussion

1. As an introduction, can you please introduce your role as it relates to Welsh Food and Drink Festivals?

Project aspirations and strategic position
2. How would you describe the main underlying purpose of your festival?
3. How do you know if you’ve been successful in achieving this?
4. Do you have any other aims apart from this?

Delivery

5. How did you hear about the Welsh Government investment in food festivals this year i.e. the 2015 programme?
6. How did you go about applying for this funding? What timescale did you have to complete the application?
7. In your opinion, how do you think the application process could be improved?
8. What new elements/ideas/innovations have you tried at the Food Festival this year? How successful were they? (if festival has now taken place)
9. What methods and materials did you use to promote your event this year?

10. I’d like to discuss in detail questions relating to exhibitors, suppliers and staff at your festival:
a) Approximately, what proportion of exhibitors are promoting Welsh food and drink?
b) What proportion of exhibitors are based in Wales?
c) What proportion of Welsh exhibitors would you describe as local to you (live within same local authority)?
d) How were suppliers of operational elements procured for your event? Was this process effective?
e) As an estimate, what proportion of suppliers are local to you, i.e. live within same local authority?
f) How many paid staff (i.e. those not volunteering their time) were employed to organise this year’s festival?
g) What was the total cost of this employment?

Working together

11. Do you think Welsh food festivals could work together more on procurement? For example, this could include negotiating joint contracts with event supplies. If so, what would it take to make this happen?
12. Do you think Welsh food festivals could work together more to attract sponsors. For example, this could include developing overarching joint branding and having sponsors across multiple events. Is so, what would it take to make this happen?
13. Do you think Welsh food festivals could work together more on promoting events? For example, this could include having a joint website and promoting a directory of festivals.
14. Are there any other ways food festivals might benefit from working together?
15. Do you currently collaborate with any other food festival in any way?
16. Do you collaborate at a strategic level with any large food suppliers or retailers?
17. Do you collaborate at a strategic level with Visit Wales or any other tourist organisations?
18. What is the one thing Welsh Government could do to help food festivals and other strategic partners work together more?

Do you have anything to add on an issue we’ve discussed or would you like to raise an issue we have not discussed?

Thank you for your time

Need more information?

You can find more information about Wavehill on our website: www.wavehill.com. All our researchers work within the Market Research Society’s Code of Conduct (http://www.mrs.org.uk/standards). If you have any questions or queries about either the interview or the evaluation more generally, or if you have any feedback on the way the interview was undertaken please feel free to contact Oliver Allies (t: 01545 571711 e: oliver.allies@wavehill.com) or Mark Willis (t: 01545 277 913 e: mark.willis@wavehill.com) at Wavehill. Alternatively, you can contact Dilys Parker (t:0300 062 2203 ǀ e Dilys.Parker@Wales.GSI.Gov.UK
So Wavehill are telling organisers that they are undertaking monitoring and an evaluation of food festivals supported by Welsh Government funding. But in answering my FOI 9881 wag are telling me:

1. Which 6 Festivals are being evaluated and why were these 6 selected?
We do not hold any information regarding this point. To clarify, we are not carrying out evaluation of individual festivals. Those festivals visited are for the purpose of visitor surveys.

So why are wag splitting hairs here? Wag tells me under a Freedom Of Information answer that they are not carrying out evaluation of individual festivals. However Wavehill are telling festival organisers that they have been commissioned by the Welsh Government to undertake monitoring and an evaluation of food festivals supported by Welsh Government funding. How confusing this all is. How can Wavehill tell organisers that the team undertaking this evaluation do not work for the Welsh Government or any of the organisations that are involved in the delivery or funding of this project – so this is an independent evaluation! Really? How can Wavehill, who are being paid by the Welsh Government £35k COULD not be ‘working’ for them? Would they be doing this evaluation for wag if they hadn’t won this tender? Another question is would Wavehill be doing all this if wag weren’t paying them at all?

It’s such a shame that year after year wag food, in my opinion anyway, always makes funding of food festivals so complicated, so much work seems to be duplicated. I ask wag food questions – and I have had to ask because wag food find communication difficult – then they struggle to tell the truth. I think this is yet another wag food shambles and they need to seriously re think food festival funding if as they say Welsh food and drink is so important to Wales.

 
 

Wavehill Update

02 Dec

A food producer sent me the following email from Wavehill:

Just a quick email to note the purpose of our evaluation and why I contacted you earlier asking you to complete a 5-10 minute telephone interview about your experience of the Welsh Government funded food festivals this year and the economic impact of these festivals.

In short, Wavehill Ltd has been commissioned by the Welsh Government to monitor and evaluate the Food Festival Programme for the financial period April 2014 to March 2015. Wavehill are undertaking a range of tasks which will result in a final report outlining the use of Welsh Government funding and measuring its benefits to the Food and Drink sector in Wales. The final report will measure the impact of grant support as a whole and the effects on the sector should the support cease. The evaluation will also focus on the support provided by the Welsh Government and recommendations for the future in line with the Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry in Wales.

We would very much like to speak to you therefore if you are willing to support our research then feel free to note a suitable date/time next week for myself to call you.

Now this situation gets more strange by the day.

Firstly wag tell me in writing, in response to my FOI 9881 – Evaluation of Food Festivals 2015 – 2016.

Thank you for your request which I received on 23.10.15. You asked for:

1. Which 6 Festivals are being evaluated and why were these 6 selected?

We do not hold any information regarding this point. To clarify, we are not carrying out evaluation of individual festivals. Those 6 festivals visited are for the purpose of visitor surveys.

Maybe Visit Wales should be paying for this visitor survey then, not wag food……..

Since I received that response I have been contacted by a producer who tells me that Wavehill rang her just last week asking her opinion of food festivals in 2015, despite the fact that this company is not trading this year! So what lists are Wavehill working from? Looks like 2014 to me, but why not 2015 lists as this is supposed to relate to Food Festivals 2015-2016?

Then this week another producer kindly sends me an email from Wavehill which I must share with you. The questions this company are asking are, why are Wavehill ringing them when they always fill in the required festivals feedback form? Second question is why are we paying Wavehill to do this ringng around job when this information is already with festival organisers and therefore wag food? Wavehill have told the producer they emailed that they don’t get the producers feedback forms, which to me is total rubbish. The producers fill in their feedback forms and the organisers collect them. As to what happens to them next, who knows? But surely Wavehill are capable of simply asking the festival organisers for copies of them, or wag should tell organisers to send copies through to Wavehill. Why do Wavehill and wag food have to create yet another problem and make this excercise so complicarted and so expensive. What right have Wavehill to waste producers’ time? Is it just because wag food/we, are paying them?

If wag and wag food are serious about growing Welsh Food & Drink then they certainly need to get the basics right and wasting producers time is not counted as a basic. But the feeling at the Winter Fair was that micro and small producers are still not on wag food’s radar – well must say I didn’t know wag food  had any radar or communications skills – but there we are – perahps I’ve just not spotted them yet…………