Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Reviews on delivering local development


 A LEED project for 2011-2012

A ‘signature’ project involving country reviews


Objective / Issues / Methods / Outputs / Contact



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.

However, the success of local development depends on a set of framework conditions, institutional capacities, intelligence, leadership interventions and development instruments which come together in the design and delivery of local development strategies. Mayors, elected officials and appointed officers heading various local agencies and public organisations can make a difference in the outcome of public policy and joint local initiatives, especially if they invest their time and energy in organising local development and leveraging private sector and civic sector capabilities and interests.

The purpose of the reviews and reports is to advise national and sub national governments on the effective delivery of local economic development. 


Issues to be addressed

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


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


Financing local development. The work will analyse new financial tools and instruments and assist national and local governments in preparing investment strategies.


Economic strategies. This will target sub-national governments and draw upon the cross-cutting themes of the LEED Programme.


Economic development catalysts. The work will review 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 reviews will examine the framework conditions and instruments for intervention to achieve successful local economic development in participating countries and localities. They will cover strategic themes encompassing finance and investment, building the knowledge base, delivery vehicles and economic strategies (including the local development impacts from global events). The reviews will identify the framework conditions, institutional capacities, intelligence, leadership interventions and development instruments which come together in the design and delivery of local development strategies.

The starting point for each thematic review will be a diagnostic analysis of local conditions to identify existing strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. This may be carried out through:

  • A questionnaire, which would enable policy makers at national and local levels to identify local policy approaches in their countries and to make a self-assessment of these policies against a set of good practice policy principles. The results will set out the framework within which policies in local case study areas operate and allow an assessment of the extent to which the local policy context is typical or distinct within the nation concerned.
  • A diagnostic report, which would set out the policy context, applied policies and policy development challenges in selected case study localities.

Study visits would take place with each review undertaken by a panel of experts (including LEED delegates and partners) to meet a wide range of local stakeholders.

An international roundtable, seminar or conference would conclude each reviews depending upon the national and local aims for the work.




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


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

The reviews will also provide analysis for work on Local Economic Leadership and Local Development Systems. After three decades of analysis by LEED we identify three key ingredients which are critical to effective local development. These are Strategy, System of Delivery, and Leadership. 

The lesson is that these three things must come together. Local development will not work with just one of them. The LEED approach of reviews and substantive reports is a proven method which suggests that working simultaneously to create and foster leadership, build strategy, and develop an effective system of delivery is an essential effort required to make a meaningful impact in the long-term.

Two upcoming LEED reports will explore the ‘fundamentals’ of local economic leadership, the challenges facing localities during recovery and make policy recommendations to build strong leadership at the local level and help localities identify and define effective local development systems.

The project is based on Voluntary Contributions of each participant country and the support of the European Commission.



For further information about the project please contact the OECD Secretariat.