Scottish government has published a review of the Scottish National Rural Network and Scotland Rural Development Programme communication plan and it provides a fairly withering assessment of the communications around the current SRDP.
The report says that due to the early problems with the current programme “The overall vision of the SRDP was lost in the implementation challenges which resulted in communications revolving around an approach focused on scheme and support delivery, rather than in trying to deliver the SRDP and Scottish Government policy objectives for rural Scotland”.
“The Scottish National Rural Network was established with a limited budget, limited ambition and modest scope, compared to many other Member States. The SNRN has kept good records of web-hits, events and user satisfaction. User satisfaction with the SNRN was high. However, for many rural stakeholders, SNRN was ‘not on their radar’. SNRN was seen as more associated with rural community development and the LEADER constituency, rather than rural business development and was only modestly connected to land-based businesses. SNRN has not succeeded in engaging a wider constituency of RDP beneficiaries and rural actors and remains very community focused”.
“In summary, the internal and external communications associated with the 2007- 2013 SRDP have been extensive but their effectiveness has been significantly compromised by flaws in both their design and delivery. There was a widespread perception that the early transformational vision for the 2007-13 SRDP had been jettisoned in favour of ensuring faster delivery of schemes, after early implementation ‘hiccups’. From mid-programme onwards, a pragmatic approach to communications prevailed to enhance delivery rather than improve SRDP effectiveness and outcomes”.
The SNRN has operated with a limited budget to reach effectively rural community interests but it has been limited by the available resource to engage in wider activities such as has occurred in other Member States. The new NRN should lead to a network of networks which adds value by improving their links, synergies and complementarity strengthening networking and reducing duplication of effort”.
The report can be found here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0043/00439469.pdf