• Endaf Griffiths

Evaluation of Axes 3 & 4 of the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013

Wavehill, working in association with CLES and the Rural Development Company, were commissioned by the Welsh Government to undertake the evaluation of Axes 3 and 4 of the Rural Development Programme in Wales 2007-2013. The study provides an assessment of new jobs created, existing jobs saved and economic growth as a result of funded activities.

You can find a copy of the final report here.

The key recommendations of the evaluation were:

Clarity of Purpose:

  • Greater clarity about the purpose of the programme is needed and the programme should then be designed around achieving these specific obje​ctives.

  • A more streamlined performance framework should be introduced to focus on monitoring the results of projects rather than outcomes and there should be a more coordinated approach to evaluation at both programme and local levels.

Local Development Strategy:

  • The Local Development Strategy should be viewed as the document which coordinates activities at a local level and then used to promote a more integrated and strategic approach.

The LEADER approach:

  • There should be a focus on implementing all aspects of the LEADER approach in Wales and future interventions should develop a model based on a ‘networked development’ approach which focuses on reinforcing implementing LEADER and on maximising the benefits of both top-down and bottom-up working.

Working in Partnership:

  • The Welsh Government should consider merging some of its functions with those of the Lead Bodies to reduce administrative layers and the potential for merging and/or coordinating some of the common administrative activities across Wales should be explored.

  • The current Partnership-LAG structure should not be replicated, and should instead have a single LAG in each area, to provide the ‘local’ structure.

Allocating Funding:

  • Alternatives to the ‘business plan’ approach should be considered along with alternative methods for allocating funding to avoid competition and promote greater co-operation between areas.

Decision Making:

  • LAGs should be empowered to undertake their role fully (working within set parameters) in making decisions on how the funding that is available to them is utilised based on the strategy that they have devised.

  • The improved capacity developed amongst key staff during the current programme should be maintained in the transition to the next RDP.