[ Index ]
Assessing the added value of the LEADER approach
Identifying LEADER's specific features
2.2. The information needs of the different levels (from the local to the European). Are they
different in respect of the specific features?
Figure 1 identifies the 7 specific features and their linkages with
the components of a programme and the local development factors.
This could represent the stakeholder's information needs in an
Some specific features should be approached from different
perspectives (regional, national or European). Funding and
networking (including transnational cooperation assistance and
finance) in particular are largely the responsibility of the
regional, national and European levels.
The diagram in Figure 2 shows how the specific features implemented
at the regional, national or European level act:
- the funding and delivery method of the LEADER programmes
(multi-annual funding, operational programmes or global grants, etc)
carry a number of particular features:
- co-financing, bringing together local private and public
contributions with external financial support (European Union,
regional and/or national authorities);
- a budget is allocated to each group on the basis of the rural
innovation programme approved by the regional or national
- some flexibility enables the budget to be adapted to changes
which may arise during implementation.
- regional or national networking enables direct relations
between groups to be forged as well as structured links through the
established networks (at national level, generally with the support
of the national network coordinating unit). Networking will also
facilitate direct relations between local groups and the
regional/national level and affect the type of information and
services offered by the public administration or by other
- networking activities may involve direct relations between
groups or by means of the European rural development network -
supported by the Commission in the form of the LEADER European
Observatory and providing a broader and richer framework of
references for exchanging experience;
- transnational cooperation refers to specific joint projects
between several LEADER groups at the European level. It influences
the groups' actions because it provides a framework for the transfer
of experience and for achieving a critical mass formerly unavailable
in rural areas.
The evaluation focus from the national/regional or European
perspective is likely to be slightly different from the local level.
At these levels it is necessary to evaluate:
- the effectiveness and efficiency  of the specific features for
which these levels are responsible (financing, networking,
transnational cooperation) in relation to other policies where these
aspects are not present;
- the functioning of the "rules of the game" (guidelines and
procedures) established at these levels;
- the reasons explaining the differences observed between the
performance, the results and the impact of the groups at local
- the suitability of LEADER as a model and its transferability
to other regional, national or European policies. The evaluation
will take account of the added value brought by the package of
specific features and each individual feature.
To meet these needs, the information about the performance of
individual programmes must be given in such a way that it allows for
the aggregation of data from the local level upwards (a bottom-up
procedure), a comparison between groups and the recognition of
models of best practice.
summarises the specific features that each stakeholder
should evaluate and suggests a focus for the evaluation. Several
methods which may be used to evaluate the specific features are also
proposed. However, it is clear that work needs to be done at the
methodological level to organise the circulation of information
between different levels as well as to have efficient analytical
Effectiveness: the fact that the objectives have been reached.
Efficiency: the fact that the objectives have been
obtained at a reasonable cost.