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UNITED KINGDOM Wales England Northern Ireland Scotland

There are four regional Leader+ programmes in the United Kingdom, one for each of the following: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. They were drawn up and are implemented on a regional level. LAG selection was done by regional selection panels, then national ones and the final selection was done by the Minister.
In each area, LAGs are responsible for project selection or project endorsement, these projects are then formally approved by the devolved regional programme monitoring committees. Cooperation projects, however, are selected by Managing Authorities except for in England where this is done by regional government offices.

PRINCIPAL INSTITUTIONS INVOLVED

England

  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The rural division in DEFRA plays the role of the England Leader+ programme managing authority. It has also an overall responsibility for managing the UK Leader+ as a whole, including the awarding and monitoring of the UK Leader+ network contract. Its resource management division is the designated paying authority. Also, a representative of DEFRA chairs the programme monitoring committee.

Scotland

  • The Scottish Executive is both the managing and paying authority for the Scottish Leader+ programme.

Wales

  • National Assembly for Wales, being the managing and payment authority for the Welsh Leader+ programme, has established the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) to be responsible for day-to-day administration of the programme and perform the financial tasks on its behalf. WEFO has an overall responsibility for the programme management.
  • The Welsh Development Agency acts as facilitator on behalf of the national assembly, in particular, by providing support and assistance to the Welsh groups.

Northern Ireland

  • The Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is the managing authority for the Leader+ programme and carries out its tasks in liaison with the Special EU Programmes Body. The department also fulfils the functions of the paying authority.

National level

  • The UK Leader+ network supports the groups from all over the UK, as well as non Leader+ rural groups organized along the lines of Leader. It is funded under Action 3 of the UK Leader+ programmes and is run by a private consultancy LRDP whose operation is overseen by representatives of the four managing authorities.