Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Project: Delivering smarter local economic development


A LEED cross-country comparative project for 2013-2014

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The way in which economic development efforts are designed and implemented has a significant impact on policy and strategy outcomes. ‌The purpose of this reviews and reports is to advise national and sub-national governments on the effective delivery of local development.



The purpose of local development is to build the capacity of a defined area to improve its economic future and the quality of life for inhabitants. Local development makes an important contribution to national economic performance and has become more critical with increased global competition, population mobility, technological advances, and consequential spatial differences and imbalances. Effective local development can reduce disparities between poor and rich places, add to the stock of locally generated jobs and firms, increase overall private sector investment, improve the information flows with investors and developers, and increase the coherence and confidence with which local economic strategy is pursued. This can also give rise to better diagnostic assessment of local economic assets and distinctive advantages, and lead to more robust strategy assessment.

The way in which economic development efforts are designed and implemented has a significant impact on policy and strategy outcomes. In the face of fiscal consolidation it is essential now to adapt and re-align local economies to external changes in markets, technologies, and framework conditions. This requires longer term thinking and strategic planning by localities in concert with citizens, stakeholders, and national governments, to better use market investments, public sector restructuring, macro-economic reforms, and catalysts for local development to achieve growth.  The implementation of local economic development will require a focus on smart institution building, investment tools and mechanisms, and alliances amongst non-governmental actors as local leaders seek to restructure, revalidate, or re-engineer local assets and platforms.

This project continues a series starting in 2011-12.


Main issues to be addressed

Targeted reviews and analysis focus on growth strategies, new economic development models, delivery and investment mechanisms and catalysts for growth. They examine the framework conditions and instruments for intervention to achieve successful local economic development in participating countries and localities. The work will identify the lessons from the various case studies and identify how governments can best support the delivery of successful local development strategies in their country.

The reviews are aligned to the needs of national governments and localities and cover the following thematic areas:


Delivery vehicles (agencies, companies and partnerships): The analysis assists national, regional and local governments in approaches to organising local economic development and advises on the evolution of delivery vehicles in changing economic contexts.


New growth and investment strategies: This targets sub-national governments and draws upon the cross-cutting themes of the LEED Programme. It also assists national governments in creating policy frameworks.


Economic development catalyst: The work reviews the role of hosting international events, major redevelopment or infrastructure projects, and other large scale interventions in promoting local economic development and job creation.



The starting point for each thematic review is a diagnostic analysis of local conditions to identify existing strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. This may be carried out through a questionnaire or through a diagnostic report. A diagnostic report sets out the policy context, applied policies and policy development challenges in selected case study localities.


Study visits take place with each review undertaken by a panel of experts (including LEED delegates and partners) to meet a wide range of local stakeholders. Each review concludes with an international roundtable, seminar or conference depending upon the national and local aims for the work.



Local case study reports set out the results of each review.

 A final cross-country synthesis report on delivering smarter local economic development will be prepared setting out the overall results and policy lessons.



For further information about the project please contact Debra Mountford.


NOTE: The cross-country comparative projects review and benchmark country policies on LEED themes; identify gaps, strengths and good practices; and make recommendations in the form of an action plan. In 2013-14 these reviews analyse the contribution of labour market policy and training to quality job creation locally; how to boost entrepreneurship and enterprise creation in both the private sector and the social economy; and ways to deliver smarter local economic development.


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