LEADER groups operating over relatively large areas often create a network
of local development workers or animators based in particular areas (the
Navarra LAG, for example, employs 8 development workers covering catchment
areas of between 5 000 and 16 000 people each, depending on population
Common problems and bottlenecks
Recommendations and guidelines
- After an initial burst of enthusiasm, development workers lose direction
and sink into carrying out a series of mundane tasks that they themselves
- One of the core skills of development workers is to know how far they can
go on their own and when and where to call in outside professional advice.
This is one of the main difficulties of their job.
- Many LAGs divide their work into "missions" or task forces with specific
objectives and time-scales.
- The costs of running decentralised offices can often be exorbitant compared
to the results obtained.
- It may be easier to be out and with the project than to be in decentralised
- Administrative and financial procedures and the demands of programmes can
often pull local action groups into more passive and routine bureaucratic
work, away from providing support for new development projects.
- In some cases, multidisciplinary outreach teams can count on specific
budgets to help the projects they support move towards clear and tangible
- Outreach work and animation should be clearly integrated into other LEADER
functions such as grant giving, shared workspace and training.
- Development workers should play a continuous role in the follow-up and
aftercare of projects. Their responsibility should not begin with the
opening of an administrative file and should not end when a project
promoter receives a grant.
- Development workers and agencies can often duplicate each other and compete
- LEADER often has a key role to play in encouraging coordination between
different development workers and agencies (community workers, social
workers, professional bodies, etc.) and enabling them to clearly divide
their tasks depending on their skills, geographical location, etc.
- In many cases, development workers are strong on enthusiasm and
interpersonal skills but are weak on economic experience and training.
There is a risk of encouraging investment in projects which have little
real chance of succe
- Animators need the backup of regular strategic guidance, both from within
the LAG and from outside specialists, to be able to ask the right question
are posed and that people are being motivated towards potentially viable
- Development workers not only need high-quality training in communication
and group work but also in economic issues. There is a need to pool
training materials and methodologies in these areas.
- Development workers should ideally form part of multidisciplinary teams.
- There can be little relationship between the day-to-day work of the
animators and the strategic priorities of the business plan.
- The LAG's role is to translate the strategic priorities of the business
plan into operational objectives. Every effort should be made to work
towards clear targets for specific time limits.
- There is little enthusiasm in encouraging the creation of new activities.
- The local initiative of potential entrepreneurs can be stimulated through
the following actions:
- competitions for ideas or projects;
- distribution of factsheets listing good practices and detailing successful
- "business creation breakfasts";
- an "innovation trophy";
- a campaign in the local press;
- animation of groups of entrepreneurs ("entrepreneur clubs");