The Strategy Design
What is the minimum content of the LDS ?
Why is it that LEADER is referred to as ‘an approach’ rather than a method or a delivery mechanism, what is the difference, where does the strategy fit into this and why is it important?
As a Community-Led Local Development initiative, LEADER is an integrated development process designed to engage, enable, resource and empower local communities in undertaking their own local development 1 . There are three common and interlinked elements thought fundamental to Community-Led Local Development approaches, these underpin the seven elements of the ‘LEADER approach2’. Known as the local territorial development ‘trinity’, these elements are; the area or territory, the partnership and the integrated Local Development Strategy.
The territorial development trinity:
Here we are principally concerned with the vital and integral role which the Local Development Strategy (LDS) plays at the heart of the LEADER approach. There is no single ‘one size fits all’ model, so preparing a good quality LDS is not a case of following or filling in a template. No two LAG areas or partnerships are identical; LAG strategies therefore can and should reflect local needs and capabilities and be adapted to these. Developing the LDS, the trinity and LEADER approach therefore demands the use of some common elements, specifically:
- a participative and actively managed LDS preparation method;
- involving an appropriately structured LAG partnership;
- with active community participation, validation and buy in; and
- which is documented and evidenced in the strategy and its content.
What is the minimum content of a Local Development Strategy?
The common minimum content for a Local Development Strategy (LDS) under any of the EU Structural Funds is set out in the EU regulations.
‘A local development strategy means a coherent set of operations to meet local objectives and needs, which contributes to meeting the Union strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and which is implemented in partnership at the appropriate level’ (CSF regulation (EC) N° …./2013). Article 30 of that regulation makes it clear that ‘Local Action Groups shall design and implement the local development strategies’ whilst Article 29 sets out the essential minimum content for a LDS under any of the CSF funds. The Rural Development Regulation, (EC) N° …/2013 commits LEADER Local Action Groups to developing and delivering such strategies.
This minimum content is based on recognised good practice including the priorities identified and addressed in the LEADER Subcommittee Focus Group 4. In turn this will be further developed in the common EC guidance3 for Managing Authorities and LAGs.
The minimum specified content is:
- A definition of the area and population covered by the strategy.
- An analysis of the development needs and potential of the area including an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- A description of the strategy and its objectives, a description of the integrated and innovative character of the strategy and a hierarchy of objectives, including clear and measurable targets for outputs or results. The strategy shall be coherent with the relevant programmes of all the CSF funds involved.
- A description of the process of community involvement in the development of the strategy.
- An action plan demonstrating how objectives are translated into actions.
- A description of the management and monitoring arrangements of the strategy demonstrating the capacity of the Local Action Group to implement the strategy and a description of the specific arrangements for evaluation.
- The financial plan of the strategy including the planned allocation of each of the CSF funds.
This section of the LEADER toolkit is structured into a logical sequence of steps based on the above. This will enable LEADER LAGs to meet this specification in a bottom-up and participative way building on the unique knowledge that local actors have of their area and the essential involvement of strategic and delivery partners within the wider sectoral and territorial development chain.
1 Community strategic guidelines for rural development (2006/144/EC), 2.3 and 3.4 EC/ 1698 2005 Para 47 – 51 and EC 2011/0282 (COD)
The LEADER Approach comprises seven elements: the local public/private partnership; area based local development strategies; bottom up elaboration and implementation of strategies; integrated and multi-sectoral actions; innovation, networking and cooperation. DG agri guide for the application of the LEADER Axis of the Rural Development Programmes.
2 The LEADER Approach comprises seven elements: the local public/private partnership; area based local development strategies; bottom up elaboration and implementation of strategies; integrated and multi-sectoral actions; innovation, networking and cooperation. DG agri guide for the application of the LEADER Axis of the Rural Development Programmes.
3 To be published spring 2013