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Review of methodological approaches and analyses undertaken in the Defra/NE agri-environment monitoring and evaluation programme. - LM0317

The Agri-environment Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) programme is an essential tool for reporting on the delivery of the many policies included in agri-environment schemes (AES) and the degree to which the schemes provide value for money. It is therefore appropriate to submit the programme to periodic external scrutiny to ensure that the evidence provided is fit for purpose. Specifically, there is a need to assess the degree to which the approaches used in M&E projects accurately demonstrate the impacts of agri-environment intervention and deliver the stated objectives of the project. The first stage of this review will assess the strengths and weaknesses of the methodological and analytical approaches of past M&E projects. A list of questions to be addressed in the review will be drawn up and agreed with Defra and NE. These will need to focus on the sampling strategies, counterfactuals and statistical analyses used within the M&E programme. A synthesis of the results and feedback from this assessment will then inform suggestions for how to improve the ability of projects to identify the impacts of AES. This will help to inform the development of future projects and ultimately improve the performance of AES.
The overarching aim of this review is to set out suggestions for a robust and coordinated monitoring and evaluation programme for agri-environment schemes and particularly the New Environmental Land Management Scheme (NELMS).

The specific objectives to achieve this are:

1.Coordinate a review of M&E project reports to assess the current strengths and weaknesses of the methodological approaches and analyses in terms of their ability to provide fit for purpose and relevant evidence that demonstrates the impacts of agri-environment intervention.

2.For each scheme objective or as a cross-cutting analysis, whichever is more appropriate, provide a synthesis of the review findings to include an indication of the extent to which projects successfully or otherwise demonstrate the impact of agri-environment intervention.

3.Use this synthesis to make evidence-based and pragmatic suggestions on how the methodologies and analyses within M&E projects can be improved and the circumstances where these improvements are most required and/or would add most value to the evidence.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2015

To: 2015

Cost: £24,750
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Miscellaneous Payments for peer review, Prof. Steve Ormerod