North Pennine Dales LEADER Programme Evaluation Final Report
Contents Page Key Findings
3. Operational Structures and Processes
5. Social Return on Investment
6. Survey Results
7. Stakeholder Interviews
8. Conclusions and Recommendations
Key Findings The selection of the LEADER area operated across administrative boundaries and was intended to reflect people and landscape covered by the North Pennines Joint Character Area (and covering the majority of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). The North Pennine Dales has a small population at 50,746 for a LEADER area, albeit it covers a very large land mass. The programme has made a significant number of grants for its overall scale. Many of the grants have been relatively modest compared to other LEADER programmes. The majority of grants have been in Teesdale with a small number of grants made in Derwentside, which is a very sparsely populated and very small part of the LEADER area. The overall distribution of grants mirrors the distribution of population across the LEADER area. A very limited number of grants have been made in relation to Axis 1. The programme has performed very well overall exceeding all its hard targets. ONE, the Regional Development Agency, set the parameters within which the Programme could operate, including allowable Measures, which focused both on improving the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sectors (Axis 1) and improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging the diversification of the rural economy (Axis 3). A clear process was undertaken to develop the rationale for the NPD LEADER Programme. This took up learning from an existing LEADER+ Programme as well as research, community documents and consultation events and presentations. This Evidence Base was used to identify the economic, social and environmental issues facing the area and set the priorities for the Programme. These priorities centred on 4 Initiatives, with the rationale and objectives for each ascribed to a Measure/s under Axis 1 or Axis 3. The development of the LDS also considered: (i) having a smaller area than in the previous LEADER programme and focusing upon a narrower range of interventions to maximise impact and sustainability; (ii) linkages across Axes 1, 2 and 3; (iii) alignment with environmental conservation activities not principally funded through Axis 2 including the AONB Partnership’s ‘Peatscapes’ and ‘Haytime’ projects; and (iv) engaging with social excluded/under-represented groups by working through trusted intermediaries at LAG and project levels. A budget for each Initiative was set. In common with the other North East LEADER programmes, on the basis of criteria set by One North East, North Pennine Dales is one of a relatively modest number of LEADER programmes where the roles of project animation and accountable body are split between different organisations (the North Yorkshire Programmes operate on a similar basis). The project assessment process is very similar to most LEADER programmes. In a small number of LEADER areas applicants are required to present to the LAG prior to their project being approved – this process has been followed in the North Pennine Dales but sparingly, with only large and complex applications being asked to present their projects to the LAG. The fact that the whole LAG make funding decisions is atypical as a process with most LAGs in England (Northern Lincolnshire and the two Cumbrian LAGs being examples) having a smaller decision making group who perform this role. The fact that the LEADER programme arose from a tradition of LEADER in the area has made a beneficial contribution to the development of the LAG and the systems it uses, indeed a number of LAG members had direct experience of the previous programme The Project Coordinator plays an absolutely pivotal role in the development of the programme Projects have delivered a significant number of business related outputs Projects feel their greatest impact has been around getting more people involved in their local communities and improving the environment
There is no significant evidence of deadweight or displacement in the programme The administrative burden of the programme is deemed to have been challenging but accepted by most respondents and the work of the LEADER support team is very highly rated by respondents. There are key opportunities going forward to: extend the geography of the programme to reflect the North Pennine Dales as a landscape, for the LAG to play a wider role in the context of Community Led Local Development, to harness the experience of successful projects to support new project development, to commission more projects, to collect information on the broader social return on investment of funded projects, to embrace the idea of cooperation and to network with a number of adjoining and near â€œdistantâ€? LAGs including the two Cumbrian LAGs and Ayrshire and Dumfries in Galloway in Scotland
1. Introduction This report summarises progress in relation to the evaluation of the North Pennine Dales LEADER programme. It sets out a number of key understandings in terms of the operation of the programme and its baseline for validation, some areas of performance analysis for discussion and validation and some emerging thoughts, developed in the context of the views of stakeholders for triangulation and further consideration. The evaluation has 6 overall objectives which have informed our approach as follows: (a) To examine the success of the programme in meeting its aims and objectives as stated in the Local Development Strategy (b) To demonstrate its impact on all stakeholders (c) To consider the success / impact of the LEADER geographical area of delivery (d) To evaluate the â€˜bottom upâ€™ approach of the Programme (e) To identify successes, areas for improvement, conclusions and provide clear recommendations for the future Programme
2. Baseline This section of the report considers what the rationale for the North Pennine Dales (NPD) LEADER Programme was and how this was developed. The strategic aims and objectives of the Programme are set out in the Local Development Strategy (LDS): • • • •
To develop sustainable economic opportunities and generate community cohesion from the area s natural and cultural assets and working landscapes. To build on the existing entrepreneurial culture to provide higher value employment and increase business competitiveness. Improve the financial and environmental performance of local businesses. To provide training and development opportunities which continue to meet the changing needs of people and employers.
This section of the report considers how these aims and objectives were developed and what the Programme set out to achieve. It includes a description and overview of: • •
Policy context ‒ its geographical characteristics and local characteristics (i.e., a description of the area covered by the Programme). What the rationale for the NPD Programme was and how this was developed ‒ i.e., strategic documents and statistics which informed the LDS and other activities which shaped the strategy such as community consultation events and research studies. The programme of activity ‒ a summary of proposed Initiatives and actions under Axis 1 and Axis 3.
The baseline provides a snapshot to indicate the original development of the Programme and is not intended to account for any changes of variations over the course of the funding period.
Policy Context North Pennine Dales (NPD) is one of 64 LEADER partnerships nationally across England and one of 5 LEADER areas covering the North East. In June 2005, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) replaced the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF). Covering the programme period 2007-2013, the available measures for funding were divided between three main axes (I-III), with LEADER (IV) acting as a cross-cutting measure across the other axes: •
Axis I: Improving the competitiveness of the farming and forestry sectors.
Axis II: Improving the environment and countryside.
Axis III: Rural quality of life and diversification of the rural economy.
Axis IV: The LEADER approach.
To unlock this funding, Defra was required to submit a Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) document to the European Commission for approval. This overarching document set the parameters for these axes with the Implementing Regulation setting out permissible activity. The NPD LEADER Programme built upon the North Pennines LEADER+ Programme (2000-2008) but proposed a smaller area than in previous programmes as well as using a narrower range of interventions to have maximum impact and sustainability.
The geography proposed for the NPD Programme comprised 2,000 kilometers and included a large part of the North Pennines Joint Character Area (with most of the area lying within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) along with smaller parts of the Pennine Dales Fringe and Durham Coalfield Pennine Fringe. This selection was not therefore based upon administrative boundaries but on a natural area described as â€˜a separate and distinct area of upland moorland and dales within the Pennine Chainâ€™:
North Pennine Dales proposed area (by ward) in relation to North Pennines AONB. Administratively, the proposed LEADER area covered the southern part of Tynedale, all of Teesdale and the western side of Derwentside and Weardale Districts, with a total population of 50,746 people. While the proposed area did not span regional boundaries, it included two county boundaries (Northumberland and Durham). Since the formation of the programme the district councils in these areas have been replaced by two unitary authorities in Northumberland and Durham This area was developed as a result of two independent bids (North Pennines and Teesdale & Weardale) merging to form a stronger and more cohesive proposal. The selection of this area was in accordance with LEADER guidance from the European Commission; and developed in accordance with guidance from the Regional Development Agency in the North East (ONE). The North East Implementation Plan (NEIP) (December 2006 â€“ revised February 2008) set out priority investment themes for the RDPE in the region covering: micro-enterprise development, natural and cultural assets, bio-energy, sustainable communities, sustainable farming & forestry, tourism & recreation. These priorities fitted within the strategic objectives in the North East Rural Delivery Framework (NERDF), namely: (i) natural and cultural capital: managing and developing environmental and cultural assets for economic and social benefit; (ii) enterprise: developing individual skills and organisational capabilities for enterprising businesses and communities; and (iii) vital and viable communities: ensuring viable rural settlements complementary to region and city-
region spatial development strategies. The NEIP included a set of cross cutting principles to guide funding around sustainable development, innovation, building upon successful pilots, animation/enablement, cohesion of social/economic/environmental elements, and community driven, and bottom up project development. ONE collated these priorities to present a vision for RDPE: ...to target agriculture, land based businesses, rural micro enterprises and rural communities in alignment with the three priorities above...the programme will be directed at a specific set of priorities for agriculture and land based industries and disadvantaged rural communities. The NPD LEADER Programme was designed to reflect these themes and cross cutting principles in its aims, objectives and Initiatives: NEIP Investment Priority
NPD LEADER LDS Initiatives
Micro enterprise development
Lives & Livelihoods
Sustainable Dales Communities
Sustainable farming & forestry
Land & Landscape
Tourism & recreation
Quality & Green Tourism
Natural & cultural assets Bio-energy
What the rationale for the NPD Programme was and how this was developed A Local Development Strategy (LDS) for the NPD area was produced as part of the tender for funds before the LEADER Programme could begin. This began at the North Pennines LEADER+ winter conference in 2007 (Wark, Northumberland). The conference was attended by 35 private, community and public sector partners whom decided to develop a proposal for a new LEADER Programme. An Expression of Interest (EOI) was completed with the North Pennines AONB Partnership. A separate EOI was developed for Teesdale and Weardale, produced by a partnership formed through the West Durham Rural Pathfinder. The two partnerships were asked by ONE to join together to develop a single application and LDS to deliver the LEADER approach. In developing the full bid, the Sustainable Community Strategies of each of the 4 Districts were reviewed as well as West Durham Rural Pathfinder and North Pennines AONB Management Plan so as to identify common themes and priorities. This was supplemented by research and community consultation, including (but not limited to): 1) The Evaluation covering the 2 LEADER+ Programmes operating in the North East region The report concluded that the LEADER+ Programme in the North Pennines had failed to be sufficiently strategic, that interventions in business and agriculture had been weak and that although numerous LEADER activities had taken place, interventions had been too small-scale. 2) Strategic Documents including (but not limited to): Regional Economic Strategy, Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy, Natural England’s Strategic Direction (2006-2009), Regional Employability Framework, North East Strategy for the Environment, Regional Forestry Strategy for the North East of England and Regional Tourism Strategy. 3) New Economics Foundation Rural Livelihoods Project (2006-2010) This 4-year research project explored how people in rural areas earn a living. In Upper Teesdale, the study found a low level of qualifications and ambition among 16-24 year olds. Although young people had a strong orientation to their local community, economy and environment, they intended to move
away to pursue desired future employment. The study also identified a significant number of people ‘job juggling’ (i.e., people relying on more than one job to make up their household income). This took place out of necessity rather than choice; with having multiple jobs involving working long hours, often with poor pay and conditions. For LEADER, this suggested that a more robust local economy would help ‘job jugglers’ have more stable job opportunities and prospects. 4) Farming research from the Cumbrian Pennines (presented at Melmerby, January 2008) This revealed substantial uncertainty in the hill farming sector caused by the ending of productionbased incentives and the lack of profitability in hill farming. This was leading farmers to reduce pure hill sheep breeding. LEADER was seen as a means of addressing farming issues around increasing efficiency, getting better prices at the marketplace, optimising income from agri-environment schemes and developing income from tourism and recreational activities. 5) Consultation meetings held with local organisations (e.g. Blanchland Community Development Organisation, Fawside, Know your North Pennines, Allen Valleys Visitor and Tourism Network, Middleton Plus Development Trust) and presentations at scheduled meetings of the LSPs, AONB Partnership and Community Action Northumberland. 6) Reviewing existing consultation activities covering the North Pennine Dales (e.g. local government reform, sustainable community strategies, West Durham Rural Pathfinder). 7) Other research documents and information including (i) a survey carried out by SQW in 2004 indicating that 80% of businesses in the North Pennines considered that a deterioration in the landscape would have a serious or some impact on their business; (ii) access to services report from the Centre for Rural Economy (Newcastle University) and (iii) Market Towns Initiative including the Barnard Castle Vision. 8) Engagement with missing sectors identified from the above ‒the land-based sector, business, young people and other socially excluded groups ‒ through a dialogue with trusted intermediary organisations (e.g. The Enterprise Agency, UTASS, Connexions); with the intention of including representation of these groups on the LAG and in initiatives funded under the Programme. This information was used to produce a SWOT:
: Taken as a collective, this baseline data revealed a range of economic, social and environmental issues facing the NPD area, including: •
Economic underperformance with GVA per head lower than urban areas of the North East due to low economic base, reliance on a few large employers, declining sectors (e.g. agriculture), pockets of low qualifications and low value portfolio incomes. LEADER was viewed as providing opportunities for growth in the local food offer, tourism, micro-enterprise and creative industries.
Strengthening the small business sector – with the North Pennine Dales having higher levels of self employment and working from home compared to the North East average.
Issues in farming and forestry with CAP reform and decoupling payments from production and decreasing returns from livestock production likely to see a reduction in the financial viability of many hill and upland farms.
Maintaining the biodiversity and habitats of the North Pennine Dales of international and national significance.
Young people and outmigration to access relevant training and/or employment.
Lack of affordable housing for local people and to retain key workers (e.g. the need for mixed tenure affordable accommodation needed in market towns and more remote rural areas).
These issues were used to develop four main principles underpinning the Programme, which should be:
1. Area-based. 2. Governed through a public-private partnership. 3. Elaborate and seek to implement an integrated strategy taking up social, economic and environmental objectives in accordance with sustainable development principles. 4. Take a bottom-up approach.
The Programme of activity From the development process outlined above, the NPD LEADER Programme centred on four initiatives: Initiative
1. Land and Landscape Taking forward the sustainable farming and forestry agenda.
The LDS recognises the economic fragility of farmers’ livelihoods and will seek to enhance (i) the assets of the area and (ii) potential products that could be effectively marketed
Adapt the ‘Land Futures’ project developed in Loch Lomond by Trossachs National Park by: (i) Identifying sub-areas of the LEADER area. (ii) Facilitating land managers to carry out a SWOT. (iii) Developing a vision and action plan.
- To increase the viability of farms - To increase utilisation and under and unmanaged woodland. - To increase the level of collaborative activity amongst farmers and foresters.
- Formation of farmer groups, training in traditional and new technical skills. - Development of local food markets (e.g. farmers markets, local food festivals). - Increasing public understanding of the countryside through arts and culture.
2. Sustainable Dales Communities Supporting the sustainable development of local communities.
There are people excluded from easy access to services and who need additional support.
Participatory research to understand how people access services, the sustainable solutions for them and the carbon footprint of rural communities.
- To support innovative approaches to service retention and new service creation. - To support initiatives for low carbon communities. - To provide access to services.
- Promotion of car clubs and lift sharing schemes. - Transforming community buildings to multiple uses.
3. Natural & Cultural Tourism Further develop quality tourism which has high added value and a low environmental impact.
To add value to the tourism offer and encourage people to stay longer and spend more.
To build on networks of tourism businesses and initiatives that seeks to improve the quality and economic value of green tourism. To promote good practice and innovative initiatives.
- To develop green and recreational tourism activity to increase revenue for the local economy. - To increase the amount of environmental good practice. - To raise awareness of visitor profiles and develop appropriate marketing materials. - To raise the quality of the tourism offer. - Brand development.
- Improving infrastructure (e.g. streetscape, lighting and signage). - Increase the range of recreational infrastructure (e.g. walking, cycling and riding routes). - Encourage providers to engage with the Green Tourism Business Scheme.
Initiative 4. Lives and Livelihoods Develop initiatives for micro-business development and assist potentially excluded groups such as young people and women.
Rationale There is a constant need for new business formation in the area and a need to understand the factors that can lead to the growth and expansion of existing small businesses, including farm businesses.
Method To build upon learning from existing business support initiatives working in nontraditional sectors (e.g. Princeâ€™s Trust and WIRE). To develop initiatives that retains young people in rural areas and encourages them to return or inmigrate.
- To increase the contribution of micro-enterprise to economic growth, especially in underrepresented groups. - To embed sustainable development principles in local business practice. - To increase diversified activity within farming households. - To identify sectors/businesses with capacity for growth. - To improve business competitiveness to enable wealth and job creation. - To increase enterprising activity amongst under-represented groups.
- Start up support for new rural businesses (e.g. crafts, farm shops). - Introducing Enterprise Apprenticeships to encourage young people, using enterprise to raise aspiration and ambition. - Improving business competitiveness through mentoring and training. - Developing infrastructure to support home based businesses.
These initiatives were then included in a number of Axis and Measures set by ONE and under which the LAG could consider project applications and award funding: Axis 1: Improving the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sectors
Vocational training and information for agricultural, food and forestry sectors
- Farmer groups for improved traditional & new technical skills. - Establish activities which increase public understanding of the countryside and the role of farming in the area.
Setting up of farm management, farm relief and farm advisory services
Provide support to land managers as they negotiate change (e.g. succession planning).
Adding value to agricultural and forestry products
Added value product development.
Cooperation for the development of new products
- Develop local food markets: farmer markets, local food procurement and festivals. - Farmer collaboration and farmer controlled businesses.
Axis 3: Improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging the diversification of the rural economy
Diversification into non-agricultural activities
Targeted support to members of farm households, especially women and young people seeking to start non-agricultural based businesses.
Support for the creation and development of micro- Start up support for new rural based businesses (e.g. livery, renewable enterprises energy, farm shops, crafts, personal services, alternative therapies, landscape services, website design etc). - Growing existing rural businesses. - Greening rural businesses. - Supply chain development and investment.
Encouragement for tourism activities
- Improve tourism infrastructure, signing and interpretation. - Increase the range of recreational infrastructure (long distance walking, cycling and riding routes). - Assist tourism providers to develop clusters and business initiatives. - Strengthen existing tourism sector networks and collaboration. - Environmental best practice within tourism through low carbon approaches e.g. car free holidays, promotion of life sharing, use of public and community transport, and local produce procurement.
- Promotion of car sharing (car clubs/lift sharing). - Campaign for local food production (allotments, community supported agriculture). - Analysis of local economy â€œleaky bucketâ€? analysis of local economy and actions to reduce leakage. - Transforming community buildings to multiple uses. - Community enterprises (child care, elderly care, leisure). - Collaborative service delivery. - Carbon footprint reduction.
Training and information for economic actors
- Information and training for business and potential entrepreneurs including energy auditing and reduction. - Training and capacity building for community groups, development trusts and partnerships. - Training and development to encourage environmental sustainability. - Tailored specific training for the new and expanding businesses.
The process of developing the LDS also explored complementarities and strategic fit with: (a) Axis 2 of the RDPE (‘improving the environment and countryside). The NPD LEADER LDS identified priorities for action strongly linked to the landscape and environmental resources of the area, with proposals sought across Axis 1 and Axis 3 (particularly Initiative 1 Land and Landscape) that would link to Axis 2. (b) A commitment to co-operation, for joint exploration of issues and/or the development of joint projects; taking place in the first instance in LEADER areas contiguous to the NPD. In terms of output indicators for the Programme, the LDS provided a financial plan, containing a yearly allocation for each Initiative; ONE (the Regional Development Agency) proposed outputs and targets for the Programme and this informed its ultimate setting of performance criteria and the phasing of its funding:
Summary & Key Points The selection of the LEADER area operated across administrative boundaries and was intended to reflect people and landscape covered by the North Pennines Joint Character Area (and covering the majority of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). The area also developed as a result of two independent bids (North Pennines and Teesdale & Weardale) merging to form a stronger and more cohesive proposal covering the NPD. With a population of 50,746 the area is very small overall and sparsely populated compared to most other LEADER areas in England. ONE, the Regional Development Agency, set the parameters within which the Programme could operate, including allowable Measures, which focused both on improving the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sectors (Axis 1) and improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging the diversification of the rural economy (Axis 3). A clear process was undertaken to develop the rationale for the NPD LEADER Programme. This took up learning from an existing LEADER+ Programme as well as research, community documents and consultation events and presentations. This Evidence Base was used to identify the economic, social and environmental issues facing the area and set the priorities for the Programme. These priorities centred on 4 Initiatives, with the rationale and objectives for each ascribed to a Measure/s under Axis 1 or Axis 3. The development of the LDS also considered: (i) having a smaller area than in the previous LEADER programme and focusing upon a narrower range of interventions to maximise impact and sustainability; (ii) linkages across Axes 1, 2 and 3; (iii) alignment with environmental conservation activities not principally funded through Axis 2 including the AONB Partnership’s ‘Peatscapes’ and
â€˜Haytimeâ€™ projects; and (iv) engaging with social excluded/under-represented groups by working through trusted intermediaries at LAG and project levels. A budget for each Initiative was set.
3. Operational Structures and Processes As part of the national review of the impact of LEADER a detailed series of interviews were held with key players engaged in the work of the North Pennine Dales. The structure of the programme and its systems were recorded during this process and are set out below: -
LAG membership has varied between 20 and 30. Usual attendance is around 15 and 8 members are required for a quorum. The geographical spread of members and across sectors is good with ¾ drawn from the private sector. Meetings take place on 6 week cycle and venues change with an attempt made to align this with important project decisions. Members are encouraged to speak and protocols are observed Voting is rare. The LAG has very little experience of personal prejudices intruding into discussions and decisions are invariably objective The Project Co-ordinator receives part time support (14 hours) The Co-ordinator is employed by South Durham Enterprise Agency (for Weardale and Teesdale) who she previously worked for as Business Adviser. The grant application process follows a number of steps:
• • • • •
The Co-ordinator engages with applicants prior to the submission of an Expression of Interest to explain the whole process Forms are then despatched to applicant The completed EoI is posted on secure page of website for LAG members to see prior to the meeting where it is to be considered The LAG endorses those EoIs which are to proceed and a full application form is then sent out with accompanying checklist and guidance notes. The Accountable Body (Durham County Council) carry out a completeness check and then a technical appraisal. This is paid for from LEADER funds. At this stage the Accountable Body deals with the applicant direct. In some cases the appraisal is copied to the applicant highlighting discrepancies. The process can result in a case conference with Co-ordinator and applicant. When all issues are resolved the full application and appraisal are posted on the LAG website page prior to the meeting at which the project can be formally approved and any conditions agreed. The grant offer letter is then sent to the applicant by the Accountable Body and the Co-ordinator follows this up with a visit to clarify requirements and the claims process. Any mistakes in subsequent claims are documented.
Summary North Pennine Dales is one of a relatively modest number of LEADER programmes where the roles of project animation and accountable body are split between different organisations (the North Yorkshire Programmes operate on a similar basis). The project assessment process is very similar to most LEADER programmes. In a small number of LEADER areas applicants are required to present to the LAG prior to their project being approved – this process is not followed in the North Pennine Dales, although some larger more complex projects were asked to present to the LAG to allow for a better understanding of what was proposed. The fact that the whole LAG make funding decisions is atypical as a process with most LAGs in England (Northern Lincolnshire and the two Cumbrian LAGs) having a smaller decision making group who perform this role. The fact that the LEADER programme arose from a tradition of LEADER in the area has made a beneficial contribution to the development of the LAG and the systems it uses, indeed a number of LAG members had direct experience of the previous programme.
4. Outputs The project monitoring spreadsheet supplied to the evaluation team on 23 October has been used to pull together the following profile for the programme in terms of performance. It has committed £2,352,894 of LEADER funding, generating £1,434,553 in matched funding leading to a total gross expenditure in the area of £3,799,183. The average grant size (median) which removes distortions caused by very small and very large grants is £15,000, with the mean average grant value being £25,300. These grant sizes are relatively small compared to a number of other LEADER programmes of similar overall scale which we have reviewed. The geographical distribution of grants in the sub-areas of the programme geography is as follows:
Projects by Area
Projects by Area Teesdale Weardale South Tynedale Derwentside
Projects by Area
In the table above the principle focus of the project is set out – a number of projects cover the whole area (5) and more than one sub-geography (10). The specific name and distribution of these projects is set out below:
Know Your North Pennines
Get into Dry Stone Walling
Providing guided nature holidays
Training & Adventure holidays
Enterprise Development Officer
North Pennine Dales Woodfuel Supply Development
Targeted Rural Business Support Project
Renewable North Pennines
The distribution of funding (with the value of projects covering more than one area being split equally across each area covered) is as set out below: Sub Area
Actual Total Actual Match
The table below shows the distribution of projects by number and LEADER spend:
Projects by Area
The distribution of projects across different measures within the programme is as follows: Measure
Business creation & Development
Training & support
Conservation Rural Heritage
Total Running Costs & animation Total
It was originally conceived that the programme would allocate around ÂŁ700,000 to axis 1 related projects, however in practice a decision to withdraw support for axis 1 activity was made due to the fact that axis 3 measures covered the activities presented by project applicants and axis 1 activities were supported by other funding through Defra. The programme has overachieved against all the outputs projected as follows:
Outputs 1078.5000 946.0000
No. Bus Jobs Supp Created
Jobs Safeguarde d
No. of Skills Days
No. People Benefiting
Summary The programme has made a significant number of grants for its overall scale. Many of the grants have been relatively modest compared to other LEADER programmes. . The majority of grants have been in Teesdale with a small number of grants made in Derwentside, which is a very sparsely populated and very small part of the LEADER area. The overall distribution of grants mirrors the distribution of population across the LEADER area. The programme has performed very well overall exceeding all its hard targets.
5. Social Return on Investment In addition to looking at the reported project outputs and the wider impacts identified by respondents to the survey, three projects were considered in terms of their contribution to the community in terms of Social Return on Investment (SROI). SROI is defined as: “Every day our actions and activities create and destroy value; they change the world around us. Although the value we create goes far beyond what can be captured in financial terms, this is, for the most part, the only type of value that is measured and accounted for. As a result, things that can be bought and sold take on a greater significance and many important things get left out. Decisions made like this may not be as good as they could be as they are based on incomplete information about full impacts. Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a framework for measuring and accounting for this much broader concept of value; it seeks to reduce inequality and environmental degradation and improve wellbeing by incorporating 1 social, environmental and economic costs and benefits.” The value of this approach is that whilst identifying that there are limitations to assessing value based on financial transactions, it sets out a framework for ascribing a financial value to less “tangible” outcomes. Through this process it establishes a very useful means of comparing and benchmarking the impact of Leader projects in terms of their broader impact. We have set out more information about the assessment approach used in terms of Social Return on Investment at Appendix A. Lanchester Parish Council – Farming and Wildlife Project This project has engaged communities and farmers in training and development activities to enhance the local environment and make their businesses more effective. It has delivered a number of key outcomes which have been monetized on the basis of the indicators in the table below: Sustainability Theme
Indicator Unit value Overall value 68 training days £250 per session £17,000 provided to famers Facilities 750 people engaged in £15 per person 5 £52,650 walking years Participation 176 volunteer days costed by project £24,500 1085 children Inclusive £15 per child £16,275 participate Spend in Local £73,000 Economy Economy 35 people accredited short £250 per person £8,750 course training Total monetized benefit including Net Present Value & 10% leakage £174,811 Total Cost £73,000 Leader contribution £37,000
Nicholls, Lawlor, Neitzert and Goodspeed – A Guide to Social Return on Investment 2012 - SROI Network
Killhope Mining Museum This project supported the extension of the facilities at Killhope Mining Museum to provide 3 yurts for training, meetings and overnight accommodation and a robust outdoor awning to increase the effectiveness and comfort of the café. . It has delivered a number of key outcomes which have been monetized on the basis of the indicators in the table below: Sustainability Theme
300 overnight stays £25/person 3 New Yurts 1 Awning 700 people trained £60 per person Additional Participation 500 per year £5.50 averaged fee Visitors Spend in Local Economy Economy £36,060 on equipment Total including Net Present Value & 10% Leakage £292,979 Total £36,060 Leader £10,995 Facilities
Overall value £7,500 7 years £42,000 7 years £2,750 7 years
Middleton in Teesdale Farmers Mart This project supported the development of a new catering facility at the Middleton-in-Teesdale Farmers Mart. This in turn has created capacity for the Mart to diversify its range of activities and provide additional facilities for the village. It has delivered a number of key outcomes which have been monetized on the basis of the indicators in the table below: Sustainability Theme Facilities
Indicator Net Increase in village facility bookings by local groups 300@ 4 hours 4 *Car boot - net average spend 4* Fur and Feather net average spend 4* Antiques Fair - net average spend
Unit value 1200hrs@£10/hr
Overall value £12,000 10 years
2,400, people net average spend £12/person
£28,000 10 years
Local players drawn into organising events at the Mart Net number of young and Elderly residents involved in events
30 people, 15 events per person-each 4 hours 1800 hours * £7/hr 15 groups, 5 people each, 10 events per year - 20% young people, 50% elderly 150 young people sessions@£24 425 elderly sessions@£16 Mart takings based on actual figures - £12,000 Additional business benefits based on survey data -£48,000
£12,600 10 years
Direct takings from the additional Mart activities Net additional takings by local businesses
Total inc NPV & Leakage £947,364 Total Cost £87,615 LEADER £75,000
£10,000 10 years
£48,000 10 years
All three SROI examples demonstrate, at differing levels, that the programme has delivered wider impacts than the standard LEADER outputs, contributing to the sustainability of the NPD area. Perhaps unsurprisingly larger scale projects and capital projects (where the impacts can last for longer due to the physical nature of the assets created) deliver the biggest social return on investment. In the examples cited above from £8-£10 of social value for each £1 of project investment.
6. Survey Results Survey Results 43 responses have been received to the e-survey and telephone survey. Overall 89 projects have been approved – this represents a 48% response rate. It represents 38% of all LEADER funding allocated and £1,663,393 of total project expenditure on rural development in the area as set out in the diagram below
Other Funding, £118,631
Personal Contribu;on, £599,276
Help received In response to an opening question about the help received in terms of the development of their application the vast majority of applicants referred directly to support from the LEADER team. The level of dependency on this aspect of support is broadly in line but moderately higher than our experience of responses to this question in other LEADER areas. This is particularly impressive taking into account the limited staff resources in this LEADER partnership – ie 1 full time and 1 part time member of staff, it also suggests some level of vulnerability in that the programme, as we found through our key informant and LAG interviews, whilst supported by other individuals is very heavily dependent on its Project Coordinator.
Summarise type of help 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0
Summarise type of help
Output Areas The LEADER programme operated across 4 key themes and the majority of respondents, who were invited to indicate which areas they had generated outputs for identified diversification, business creation and development. This is particularly interesting as their responses were self-selected, thereby indicating the impacts they felt were pertinent. In view of the business growth priority for the next LEADER programme this puts the programme in a strong position to demonstrate its relevance for the future.
Outputs 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0
Outputs 1. Diversiﬁca;on, business crea;on and development
2. Tourism ac;vi;es
3.Services for 4. Training the rural informa;on community and and skills economy
Benefits Delivered Respondents were asked to indicate the benefits delivered by their projects from a list of key outcomes which are derived from the Bristol Accord a methodology for setting out the relative sustainability of a community with reference to 8 indicators. The biggest benefit identified related to generating greater involvement in the local community and improving the environment. A range of additional impacts under the “other” category were also achieved and these are set out below
beneﬁts Other The place feels safer The place has more of the services people The place feels more prosperous Its very easy for people to live in
The place is easier to get to The quality of buildings has been improved The environment has been improved More people have become involved in local 0 • • • • • •
First Aid training has been made available in local communities Creative Industries have been supported improved waymarking on paths Tourism information more accessible 'out of hours' The development has added another facet of experience of the young people who we employ every season Improved standard of staffing and volunteering through the training programme.
Good Practice Respondents were asked to reflect on good practice associated with their activities. Tourism, recreation/leisure and the environment came out as the main areas identified.
Good prac8ce Other Tourism Recrea;on/Leisure IT Heritage/Culture Environment Service Provision Local Food Supply Chains Thriving Community Skills Conserva;on Transport
Deadweight and Displacement Survey respondents were asked to indicate whether their project would have proceeded at all or changed significantly without LEADER funding as a means of measuring deadweight. Interestingly
100% responded to say this was the case. 63% said they wouldn’t have proceeded at all (higher than the response from most LEADER areas we have surveyed) and 37% indicated they would have proceeded on a reduced basis.
Reliance on LEADER – would your project have proceeded without funding or been altered signiﬁcantly
yes 37% no 63%
Respondents were asked to indicate whether they were aware of any similar projects operating in the locality and how they had fared since the respondent project received funding. This was used to test displacement. 61% (on a par with other LEADER areas we have surveyed) identified their projects were unique in that area. Of the 39% who identified similar projects in most cases their further comments suggested complementary and partnership relationships rather than direct competition or displacement.
Are you aware of any other organisa8ons doing similar work to your project and how have they fared since you started?
yes 39% no 61%
Experience of LEADER Administration Applicants were asked to rate their experience of different aspects of the LEADER administration on a scale of 1-5. The level of satisfaction with the LEADER support team was the highest we have received from any of our LEADER surveys. The rating of just above 2.5 (essentially a score indicating things were tolerable) is on a par with other LEADER areas. This latter point, which is true across all LEADER partnerships indicates that whilst respondents have individual complaints to make about aspects of their experience their overall view suggests that they did not find this aspect of their experience “a deal breaker”. The narrative comments of respondents are interesting in that they
suggest, in line again with other LEADER areas, the biggest criticism of the administrative requirements is that they are not proportionate to the scale of funding received in that all projects irrespective of size face the same administrative requirements.
Give a score of 1-‐5 for the following (where 5 is best) 4.50 4.00 3.50 3.00 2.50 2.00 1.50 1.00 0.50 0.00
Give a score of 1-‐5 for the following (where 5 is best)
Leader support team
Clarity of forms
Summary • • • • •
The Project Coordinator plays an absolutely pivotal role in the development of the programme Projects have delivered a significant number of business related outputs Projects feel their greatest impact has been around getting more people involved in their local communities and improving the environment There is no significant evidence of deadweight or displacement in the programme The administrative burden of the programme is deemed to have been challenging but accepted by most respondents and the work of the LEADER support team is very highly rated by respondents.
7. Stakeholder Interviews The following individuals have been interviewed either on a one to one or group basis (further interviews are scheduled) and the following narrative brings together their views on key issues: Peter Samsom – LAG Chair Sue Ellwood – LEADER Project Coordinator Janet Seaman- LEADER Administration Assistant Cameron Scott – Local Growth Manager Northumberland CC Jayne Winter – RDPE Area Manager North East Andy Palmer - - Strategic Lead on EU Funding Durham CC James Davies – North East Local Enterprise Partnership LAG Members as a group: David Fruin Jeremy Ancketill Rosemary Thompson Steve Robson Alex Sijpesteijn John Atkinson Richard Betton Cliff Brown Andrea Davison Mike Bettison Hazel Coppack Accountable Body Staff as a group: Xiaoling Lei Claire Williams Claire Daly Julie Walkers Catherine Pearson
Overview It is widely acknowledged that North Pennine Dales is a “signature” classic upland environment and very well suited as a LEADER area. The fact that there is a history of LEADER in this geography is seen as a positive which has enabled the current programme to build on past achievements rather than having to start from scratch. There was a perception from external stakeholders that the programme is professionally run and successful. It is also acknowledged that the comprehensive range of interventions open to the programme in terms of all areas of axis 3 and axis 1 has enabled it to operate very flexibly, albeit committing funding in relation to axis 1 proved very difficult to achieve in practice.
Project Development There is a general acknowledgement that the programme has taken a “bottom up” approach to identifying and supporting projects. It has not chosen to become heavily involved in commissioning projects. There is also a strong sense that the programme has felt under pressure to commit funds and make things happen as a key driver of its activities. There is a broad feeling that the comprehensive nature of the accounting and reporting arrangements faced both by the programme and its individual projects has mitigated to some extent against the development of highly innovative and risky projects. This is not to say that a number of the projects supported through the programme have been innovative. The LAG particularly feel it would be desirable under any future arrangements
to have more scope to engage directly with projects post agreeing to fund them and to harness their expertise to help with project development and animation. The current separation of duties between project development and project administration is seen to represent good practice. There is a view in some areas however that a closer alignment of the two aspects of the LEADER delivery agenda is desirable.
Themes, Budgets and Outputs There is a general acknowledgement that the majority of projects supported have been modest in cost. Indeed the LAG set an initial project support cap of ÂŁ25,000. Retrospectively there is some justification for suggesting this established a cautious approach to projects and detracted from the ability of the programme to drive transformational change. A counter argument however also has merit, which suggests that the 89 projects supported as an entirety have delivered an appropriate but collectively transformational impact. This approach can also be argued to be more sustainable. The decision to discontinue proposals to make significant investment in axis 1 projects is acknowledged as a key learning point for working more directly with the farming sector under the next programme. It suggests a more rigorously scoped programme of intervention is likely to be required if farmers are to be engaged effectively. The LAG has been cautious about the development of cooperation activities and whilst the Project Coordinator has engaged in trans-national activities there is a feeling that there is scope for an enhanced approach to cooperation under the next programme. It is important to acknowledge however that there is significant resistance from the LAG to the idea of any cooperation activity which is not scoped on a value adding and value for money basis.
Deadweight and Displacement It is very widely acknowledged that the nature of the North Pennines Geography mitigates against significant deadweight and displacement. This is seen to be further reinforced by the comprehensive local knowledge of the LAG and the effectiveness of the application process, both of which seek to identify the risk of both these factors.
Outcomes It was broadly acknowledged across LEADER in England as a whole that recording outcomes is a challenge. There is a strong sense with the North Pennine Dales LEADER programme that whilst it is straightforward to point to significant individual project achievements more could be done to identify the outcomes achieved by the programme. This is also a key issue for the consideration of the impact of interventions under the new LEADER programme which will be focused more on economic outcomes. The Social Return on Investment element of the evaluation has helped to clearly establish that LEADER delivers a wider range of outputs and outcomes not collected as part of the LEADER reporting requirements. The SROI approach also predicts future impacts and it was acknowledged that because LEADER monitoring ceases when a project is financially completed this approach will enable a number of longer term outputs and ultimately outcomes attributable to LEADER to be identified. A longer term approach to recognizing the achievements of the programme was acknowledged as desirable.
Future Development Issues Whilst the process of determining the new LEADER areas under the next programme will involve the development of bids, there is a general overview that the North Pennine Dales is a very strong candidate. It is acknowledged that under the new programme there will be a need to deliver more economic outputs and to work more closely with agriculture as a sector. The current programme has some valuable experience in both areas and this should be used to develop its transition approach. There is a strong desire in some quarters to re-establish the geographical focus which links a number of Pennine settlements in Cumbria to the current area. The LEADER Plus programme did stretch into Cumbria and this is an important issue to consider in the development of any proposals for a future programme. There is a general acknowledgement that there may be learning opportunities linked to the current Rural Growth Network Pilot in Northumberland and Durham which could be used to inform the development of a future programme. There is a strong feeling amongst a number of stakeholders, that there is more potential to engage with the LEP and that a dialogue about the establishment of
Community Led Local Development in the area would be very useful. There is a general agreement that the establishment of enhanced business outputs is likely to require more commissioning of projects and that there is scope to learn from some of the work in this respect from the two current Cumbrian LAGs. Finally whilst there is an acknowledgement that under the new programme it will be important to consider the skills set of the LAG, particularly in the context of business support and agriculture, it is important to retain the organization and practical experience of a good number of the current members.
8. Conclusions and Recommendations Geography - North Pennine Dales is a successful LEADER area, with a long tradition of LEADER funding. It is defined by its upland landscape and there is real merit, in the development of proposals for a new LEADER programme, in seeking to incorporate the area of the North Pennines which stretches into Cumbria. Achievements - The programme has overachieved against a number of key targets and has followed its Local Development Strategy very effectively. The programme beneficiaries have been very dependent on the small LEADER project animation team to develop their projects. The programme has delivered a significant number of business related outputs and is well set up to respond to the greater focus on business development which will accompany the new LEADER programme. It has delivered good practice particularly in relation to Tourism, Recreation and Environmental themes. Generating very little deadweight or displacement the programme has achieved key impacts around â€“ getting more people involved in their communities, physical environmental projects and the delivery of local services. Systems - Project animation, the systems followed by the LAG and Accountable Body all work well and whilst different models are applied in other LEADER areas there is no real benefit in changing these approaches. The LEADER Project Coordinator however does have to operate on an independent and on some occasions isolated basis. The programme is very reliant on her (with support from her part time assistant) to drive activities. This high level of dependency on one person is unusual in LEADER delivery arrangements. There is real merit in planning the new programme in thinking through the development of a rural development network based on seeking mentors and ambassadors from successful projects and thinking about how their expertise can be used to support the work of the LEADER Project Coordinator. Similar thinking is currently being developed in the Ayrshire LEADER programme and there could be real merit in networking with the Ayrshire team in this context. This would involve jointly considering how to best encourage successful previous projects to share their expertise with aspirant applicants under the new programme. There is benefit in terms of the development of a new programme in considering closer alignment between the roles of project animation and accountable body, although the current separation of duties is important to give the LAG a sense of real ownership in directing the work of the LEADER Coordinator. A clear written protocol setting out these arrangements would be the most effective way of both getting to the nub of this issue and addressing it. There is a tendency to underestimate the value and complexity of project management, including animation, in terms of LEADER. It is important under any new programme arrangements to fully cost the elements of providing this service and ensure they are resourced as effectively as possible. It is clear that a number of smaller projects have been very challenged in managing the cash flow requirements linked to LEADER. With the ongoing impact of the recession it is likely that this will continue to be a problem. The programme should think very hard, in its planning for the future, about networking with social lenders and other local charities to devise a scheme (which would have to operate separately to LEADER) to address this challenge through local loan funding. The programme has delivered a number of outcomes which whilst hard to measure can be evidenced through considering social return on investment on the basis set out in this report. This approach enables the full impact of the programme to be delivered and some thought should be given to using this approach to measure the impact of the desired new LEADER programme from the outset. Strategy - Under the new programme it will be important to develop an LDS which puts more emphasis on Community Led Local Development, generating business outcomes and supporting agriculture as a sector more specifically. This will impact on a number of current practices. The LAG
will need to audit its current skills base to undertake this work, it will also need to think through the level of its ambition to be a driver of rural development on a wider basis. Even if a desire to encourage the LEP to endow it with CLLD funding in terms of ERDF and ESF is unsuccessful there is merit in seeking to be more assertive in linking the LEADER rural development agenda into a broader network of regeneration opportunities. This is particularly important as the public funding cuts arising from the recession will continue to impact on the area for the next 5-10 years. This will put an increased responsibility on the LAG to generate the widest and most effectively networked impacts for the area from LEADER funding. Strengthening connections with the current Rural Growth Network initiative in the area is one straightforward opportunity in this context going forward. There has been very limited enthusiasm within the LAG in terms of cooperation activity. Under the new programme there will be an expectation from the EU that this is given serious thought and engagement. There are a number of examples of how cooperation can make a really positive contribution to the effective running of a LEADER programme. The Day of the Regions project in Dumfries and Galloway and the wider cooperation activities of the Coast, Wolds, Wetlands and Waterways programme in East Yorkshire are both good examples of the contribution cooperation can make to the effective programme development. Networking with both these programmes in the development of proposals for a new programme would be really worthwhile. The writing of the new LDS is the ideal opportunity to explore cooperation and the role and remit of the LAG in practical terms over the next 6-9 months. The current programme has been a very positive and accessible source of funding for communities. Its scale of grants and â€œbottom upâ€? approach to generating projects has led to it being reactive rather than pro-active in many senses. Under the new programme, economic growth will not be achieved without greater consideration of the commissioning of projects. Whilst there is nothing to say that small projects cannot be aggregated up to show large scale impacts, there is real merit in considering supporting a sensible number of larger scale projects alongside smaller initiatives under the new programme. There are very strong examples of effective commissioning and project support in the two Cumbrian LAGs which could help with the development of such an approach and a dialogue with both Cumbria Fells and Dales and Solway, Border and Eden in this context would be useful. Transition - Finally discussions with the County Council and Defra had made it clear that whilst the current LEADER programme is well viewed there is as yet no straightforward view of how LEADER will be configured geographically at a region or national level at present. This means that North Pennine Dales will need to ensure it is pro-active and focused in advocating the case for ongoing support based on its achievements and the opportunities it might realize going forward.
Appendix A: Social Return on Investment There are six stages in a SROI process: 1. Establishing scope and identifying key stakeholders to identify impacts. 2 Mapping project outcomes with stakeholders. 3 Evidencing project outcomes and giving them a financial value. 4 Establishing project impact – accounting for deadweight and displacement. 5 Calculating the SROI. 6 Reporting the findings from the assessment process. In seeking to establish an overview of the impact of Social Return on Investment on a community we have developed a series of measures which take account of the Egan Principles of Sustainable Development. In 2003 Sir John Egan was commissioned to undertake an assessment of the skills 2 required to deliver sustainable communities. He identified 8 key indicators which form a very useful basis on which to consider the relative sustainability of places. This has been codified into “The Egan Wheel” as set out below:
Ac;ve, Inclusive and Safe
Well Designed and Built
Fair for Everyone
To identify the Social Return on Investment contributed by each project considered, we worked through the grid below with the project lead. They were asked to identify against each of the social outcomes covered by their project an indicator and a measure which could be used to ascribe a value to the indicator. Where these impacts covered more than one year their net present value was calculated. Finally the overall figures were discounted by a further 15% to account for leakage (including deadweight and displacement) to give a value. These values were added together for each outcome and then divided by the Leader funding for the project to give a Social Return on Investment figure.
Egan J “The Egan Review – Skills for Sustainable Communities” Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 2004
Social Outcome Facilities – The creation or refurbishment of facilities which benefit the community
Example Indicators Opening up of a new venue for community use
Participation – Outcomes linked to your project which increase levels of volunteering or community activity
Development of a new service which supports or encourages people to get involved in community affairs
Example Measure Number of additional hours of community space used in the town and value based on average letting costs per hour of community venues Number of new volunteers supporting a project and value of their time based on national norms
Inclusive - Outcomes linked to your project which encourage minority or excluded groups including the young and the elderly to get involved in the community
Introduction of a youth club into the village or development of a be-friending scheme for the elderly
Number of participants supported and value per hour of that support based on national norms
Economy - Outcomes from your project which have a positive impact on the local economy
Generation of employment, increased buying of products from the locality
Average wage levels Specific data on the amount of money spent in the local supply chain
Fair for Everyone – Outcomes from your project which are available to all
More people with disabilities able to use play equipment provided in a public space because of its design features Community transport scheme which reduces carbon use, increased local sourcing and sales of goods
Hours spent using the equipment and hourly cost of providing carer support to individuals with disabilities Average cost of fuel per mile saved, average cost of transport costs for products sourced more locally
Environmentally Sensitive – Outcomes from your project which impact positively on the environment Well Designed and Built – Outcomes from your project which respect or add value to the local built environment Well Connected- Outcomes from your project which improve people’s access to goods, services and settlements – both in terms of transport and IT
Heat source at the centre Building projects which respect the importance of local design and character Car sharing scheme, scheme which sustains local services including the pub, shop etc, community broadband
Additional cost over and above standard construction costs arising from the design and implementation of the project Number of people benefitting for how many potential journeys based on an average journey length and cost for that community
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas. The funding is being made available through the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union