By their end date, all LIFE projects are obliged to produce a Layman's report. This document is supposed to accurately explain the - often technical - details, work and achievements of the project, whilst being easily understandable and interesting. It is primarily aimed at a non-specialist audience, which might include potential LIFE beneficiaries, journalists, decision makers, businesses and ordinary citizens.
The Layman's report should be seen as a communication tool that complements the project website, brochures and other dissemination material. These reports are published in the LIFE project database on the LIFE website. The Layman's report factsheet provides instructions and tips to help the projects to prepare their reports.
This article presents an interesting example of a Layman's report, which was written by the Slovenian project 'Establishing long-term protection of Crex Crex in Slovenia' (LIFE03 NAT/SLO/000077) which ran from January 2001 to March 2007.
Format and presentation
The report is presented as a 16-page brochure in A4 format on glossy paper. The cover page features a very attractive picture of a corncrake (Crex crex) in its natural environment – a green meadow. At the bottom of the page - on a green background - is the LIFE logo, the title 'Layman's report', the project reference and the title of the project in Slovenian and English. The Natura 2000 logo is on the second page.
Every page presents visual information in the form of photographs, pictures, graphs, maps or tables. This increases the attractiveness of the brochure and provides immediate understanding of some of the key project information. The abundance of visual material also lightens the overall text. The text is further broken up with several bulleted lists.
The report begins with a content overview. Regarding the extent and the overall attractiveness of the report, this 'obligation' is rather welcome.
The brochure is structured so as to cover all the essential project information: content; objectives; areas/sites; actions and results; socio-economics aspects; recognisability of Natura 2000 sites; follow-up; and finally an overall project message. The related titles are formulated as questions which guide the reader through the text with explanations, lists and summaries of project elements.
The text contains lots of information, but one criticism of the report might be that some paragraphs are rather long. It is always a challenge to present information in a concise way in short paragraphs. Nevertheless, the brochure is a very comprehensive account of the project, which is the most important purpose of the Layman's report.
The brochure contains two language versions. The Slovenian text occupies approximately two thirds of the page on a white background, while the English text is on the right margin in smaller typeface and on a green background. The distinction of the two language versions by background colour and typeface increases the user-friendliness of the brochure.
The Layman's report of the Slovenian Crex Crex projects fulfils its task as required. The report provides an understandable and fairly detailed overview of the project's work and achievements. All this information is presented in an attractive and readable format, enabling even the non-specialist reader to understand and take in the project’s work.
Establishing long-term protection of Crex Crex in Slovenia