West Oxfordshire Network at West Oxfordshire District Council
- Dr Jake Piper (Department of Planning), Project Manager, OISD:IAU
- Lesley Downing (Department of Planning), Senior Research Associate, OISD:SPU
- Liz Cairncross (Department of Planning), OISD: UPM
- total project value: £10,500
- time duration: December 2004 to April 2005
The purpose of the mid-term evaluation is to assist the West Oxfordshire Network (WON) in achieving its objectives, and it is to do this by:
- reviewing the initial objectives of the WON LEADER+ programme against the work that has been undertaken
- identifying what has been learned by the projects funded and by highlighting best practice
- assessing the impact of the programme on West Oxfordshire
- identifying the added value of the Programme; and
- outlining opportunities for change and future development of the WON LEADER+ programme.
The evaluation team contacted approximately half of the programme’s project operators, together with some failed or withdrawn applicants. A number of project beneficiaries were contacted and a number of project outcome sites (community shop, playground, events, etc.) were visited. Project and programme information were made available to the evaluation team. Staff of West Oxfordshire District Council and members of the Local Action Group - the West Oxfordshire Network (WON) - were also contacted for their views on the progress of the programme. The evaluation team devised a series of semi-structured interviews for the various respondents contacted, in collaboration with the programme team. They also attended a number of meetings of the WON LAG. Interviews were designed to investigate the range of issues raised by both the WON (3) and by the overall LEADER+ programme (12), covering for example: the contribution of the projects to the needs of the district and to environmental protection; overall impact; use of local resources; and the influence of the management and financing arrangements in place. In addition, potential for replication elsewhere and the transfer of good practice were also examined.
The evaluation team found that the projects funded by LEADER+ are responding to the range of issues identified as being principal needs for rural West Oxfordshire. The LEADER+ programme is doing this chiefly by providing access to physical and social infrastructures and via projects benefiting all groups within the community (rather than particular groups). Inferences are drawn about the likely composition of and support behind a successful LEADER+ project.
Projects funded so far appear to have good potential for replication (or further development) elsewhere and opportunities are in place for the transfer of best practice. A number of recommendations are made for project development and management/monitoring as well as for the future development of the programme in West Oxfordshire.
Report to client: Mid-Term Evaluation Of West Oxfordshire Network Leader+ Programme
Dr. Jake Piper
tel: +44 (0) 1865 483 422