The Conceptual Framework of LEADER/CLLD Evaluation

A new broader policy instrument

The first evaluation of LEADER was the European ex post evaluation of the LEADER I initiative (1991-1993) (EU 12) and since this the evaluation of LEADER has progressively become more and more encompassing. Evaluating LEADER within the context of the EARDF is no longer enough, the LEADER approach has been transferred into a broader policy instrument  to encourage integrated approaches in supporting the territorial development  in the programming period 2014-2020, called Community-Led Local Development (CLLD). Despite the perceived added complexity, a simple conceptual summary can help to better frame what needs to be covered in terms of evaluation. 

How can we achieve a multilevel evaluation?

LEADER/CLLD is a tool, which operates in a multilevel framework, and therefore requires a multilevel evaluation at:

  • RDP level, as the measure programmed under a Pillar II objective and;
  • Local level, through LAGs, who may be using several ESI Funds to achieve their objectives under a single CLLD strategy linked to a given territory and also at the same time contributing to the achievement of EU level objectives. 

In both cases, the evaluation can assume a multidimensional nature, focusing typically on the assessment of effectiveness, efficiency, results and impacts of the interventions at each of the two levels and the links between them. A key aspect of LEADER/CLLD evaluations is the focus on the application of the seven LEADER/CLLD principles and the added value provided for RDPs, rural areas and populations. As illustrated in the figure, these seven principles and their added value play a dynamic role in linking the RDP and local levels in evaluations.

The objectives of the LEADER/CLLD evaluation at each level are to:

  • Demonstrate the achievements of LEADER/CLLD towards local, national and EU rural development objectives;
  • Contribute to better targeted support for rural areas and beneficiaries;
  • Provide knowledge of how to design and implement LEADER/CLLD better.



For more information please consult the Evaluation Helpdesk’s Guidelines: Evaluation of LEADER/CLLD.

Find other publications on LEADER/CLLD evaluation in the Helpdesk’s eLibrary!