The Strategy Implementation
Who could make an external evaluation?
Universities and consultants available
External evaluators are expected to provide comprehensive and critical information on the LAG's LEADER strategy implementation. Therefore, external evaluators are usually not connected to the LAG and are independent of the party that commissioned the evaluation. Universities, consultant companies and other expert organizations are typical examples of external evaluators. A LAG could also provide this task for a university student's final thesis subject.
The minimum requirements
The following requirements should be laid down as a minimum for external evaluation:
- Evaluation generates information at specified intervals; the evaluator may be available as an expert also between the times when the results are reported.
- The issues or themes to be evaluated are determined in the assignment and should not be changed during the evaluation, at least not considerably.
- Evaluation is usually based on quantifiable material (material generated when project activities are monitored, as well as material acquired by the evaluator).
- Evaluation compares the project with the operating environment; external evaluation should provide a comprehensive picture of the situation, at least in some phase or at the end of the strategy implementation.
- Commonly used evaluation techniques are mainly applied, so that comparisons can be made.
Assistance from the Evaluation Network
The European Evaluation Network for Rural Development (abbreviated to 'Evaluation Expert Network') provides support for improving the quality and efficiency of evaluation of Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) in Member States of the European Union in the period 2007-2013. The network is targeted at the evaluation functions established by national authorities, evaluation experts and other stakeholders dealing with evaluation of RDPs. Network support includes development of evaluation methods and tools, guidance on evaluation processes, establishing best practice, aspects of data collection and management, and assistance to the European Commission and Member States in dealing with evaluation requirements. This information is worth checking also when planning LAG level external evaluations.