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Assessing the added value of the LEADER approach
The evaluation exercises put forward in this dossier should allow different stakeholders to arrive at a certain number of conclusions that show the added value of the LEADER approach.
The added value of the LEADER approach
Figure 3 shows that each specific feature has a specific intermediary objective but that there are significant correlations between them. This is especially the case, for example, between the area-based approach and the local group which contribute to several intermediary objectives.
The presence or absence of these correlations (depending on the extent to which the specific features were applied) may or may not create synergies between the different aspects of intervention, multiplying its effectiveness and efficiency.
LEADER's suitability as a model and changes to be envisaged
At the regional/national and European levels, a similar exercise is desirable. The institutions charged with formulating rural development policy could draw conclusions on what has worked well in LEADER and could be useful in other policies, and what has worked less well and should be changed in the future.
For each specific feature, the comparison between good and 'not-so- good' practice at the regional/ national level (benchmarking ) allows conclusions to be drawn on:
This dossier is a working tool that can considerably enrich the evaluation work undertaken by LEADER beneficiaries and the authorities.
However, this document is just the first phase. Additional effort is required to achieve an integrated approach to evaluation that meets the needs of the different stakeholders in the evaluation without generating too much more work.
The method must be tested first of all; several local groups and administration have already agreed to use it. On reading this document, others may decide to follow their example. The LEADER European Observatory is monitoring around ten specific pilot evaluations but would welcome feedback from other users. Observations, criticisms and suggestions will enable us to know whether the questions put forward for each specific feature are the most relevant and to delete, modify or add questions where necessary.
In the following phase, a series of tools for gathering and comparing data will be produced; these include, a classification grid and typologies as well as a proposal for a method to present results in a harmonised manner.
Finally, it may be expedient to work on integrating the two complementary approaches: the more quantitative type (centred on results and impact) and the more qualitative approach which has been adopted in this dossier. The final objective will be to end up with a proposal for a follow-up and evaluation system which meets the ambitions of the Community Initiative and the new directions for future rural development policies.
Benchmarking: A qualitative and quantitative comparison of