[ Index ]
Assessing the added value of the LEADER approach
Information needs at the national/regional and European level
Table 1 in
Chapter 2 gave a brief introduction to the evaluation
needs of the national/regional and European levels. This last
chapter aims to draw out some questions which these levels can put
to themselves to enable them to meet these needs. The answers may
come from the findings of a local level, voluntary self-evaluation
exercise as they may come from information supplied by the
regulatory follow-up and evaluation. The results of these two
approaches, one more qualitative and the other more quantitative,
should ideally be compared in order to enhance the interrelations
between the LEADER method and the results obtained.
Evaluation at the regional/national and European levels have similar
objectives; only the area level changes as does the respective
weight of the specific features for which these levels are directly
responsible. In a bid to simplify, the questions contained in this
chapter are addressed at the regional/national level only.
At this level, the objectives of the evaluation may be classified
into three categories:
a) An assessment of the effectiveness and efficiency of the
different institutional levels in the establishment of delivery
guidelines and procedures (referred to as the "rules of the game"
throughout this chapter) to enhance LEADER's specific features
(technical assistance, animation, making information and know-how
available, administrative advice, definition of appropriate
monitoring methods, etc).
The questions put forward below aim to evaluate to what extent
certain "rules of the game" established at the national/regional
level to deliver LEADER, have restricted, extended or guided the
groups' interpretation of LEADER's specific features. Did they
influence the way in which the groups understood and implemented
their mission? The ex-post evaluation of LEADER I has in fact shown
that the guidelines and procedures produced by national/regional
authorities have played a role in "filtering" the information
contained in the Notice to Member States on LEADER I.
b) Identifying models and best practice by comparing different
approaches and by looking for ways to explain the differences in the
performances of the groups.
This exercise is fundamental to the definition of a future
development policy for rural areas.
c) Evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of the different
institutional levels in making external resources available to the
- In terms of financing, the regional/national level is an
obligatory channel for the management of European funds. In many
case, this level also takes part in co-funding local programmes.
- Networking activities fall upon the national and or regional
networks, which are organised and co-funded by the regional/national
authorities. Their functions are complementary to those of the
LEADER Observatory at European level. Transnational cooperation can
sometimes be facilitated by support at regional level.
As these two specific features depend on the regional/national and
European stakeholders, the way in which they are handled should also
be evaluated. The decisions and actions taken at these levels can
significantly influence the capacity of local groups to implement
their actions or obtain the results expected from the presence of
the specific features (this is one of the main conclusions of the
LEADER I ex-post evaluation).
4.1. The area-based approach
a) Defining the "rules of the game"
What principles have been established to define the areas?
Has this led to conflicts or exclusions?
What was the outcome of these negotiations?
b) Identifying best practice
- Compare the methods for delineating areas, explain the
differences and those areas where the approach worked best.
- Has it:
- mobilised undervalued endogenous resource?
- provided a comprehensive overview of the area?
- led to a more sustainable form of development?