How we work

The Rural Services Network is the most comprehensive rural network in England. It comprises service providers, national organisations and community representatives.

We have over 220 main members and 11,000 community members.

This guide outlines how we work. It also acts as a guide to using the RSN Online website, which is the primary way we communicate with our members.

 

RSN STRUCTURE

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CONTENTS:

Sparse Service
    Rural 80 Authorities
    Rural 50 Authorities
    Significant Rural Authorities
    Unitary Councils
    Shire County Councils
    Shire District Councils


Individual Member Authority Service

    Financial Analysis
    Economic Performance Service
    Fairer Funding
    Performance

 

Locum Service

 

Practitioners Service

 

Private Sector Panel
    Input into Rural Services APPG Work
    Input into State of Rural Services Report and the Rural England Service Report
    Annual Forum
    RSN Research Concerning Private Sector Service Provisions in Rural Areas

 

Community Groups
    Consultation
    Funding Opportunity Service
    News Service
    Information

 

Rural Services Partnership
    Reports
    News Service
    Email Discussion Groups
    Comparison Web Pages

 

Rural Services Partnerships – Service Areas
    Police
    Fire and Rescue
    Health
    Housing
    Community
    National

 

All Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Services
    Rural Fair Share Group

 

Economic Development Service
    Free Advice Service
    Economic Barometer
    LEP Alert
    Annual Rural Practitioners Meeting
    Area Forums and Free Seminars

 

The Virtual Authority
    Rural Opportunities Bulletin
    Consultation Response
    E-Networks
    Grant Assistant Service

 

Finance and Fairer Funding
    Reports and Presentations
    RA Analysis: SPARSE Service Members
    RO Analysis: SPARSE Service Members

 

Policy and Performance: SPARSE Service Members
    Economy
    Housing
    Environment
    Quality of Life
    Authority Performance
    Financial Data
    
News and Information Service
    Rural Digest
    Hinterland
    Rural Words
    Rural Commentary
    Press Release Service
    Funding Opportunities

 

 Links
    DEFRA (RCPU)
    Rural Coalition
    Federation of Small Business
    Institute of Rural Health
    Coastal Communities Alliance
    Chartered Institute of Housing

 

Observatory
    Rural Dashboard
    Rural Business
    Rural Leisure
    Rural Services Provision
    Rural Housing & Environment
    Rural Extra

 

Business Liaison
    Rural Business Information Analysis and Consultation
    Rural Business Economic Research Policy

 

Rural England Service
    UK Rural Policy and Practitioners Group
    RSN Calls for Evidence
    Heart of the Village Research
    Library of Good Rural Practice
    Rural Policy Documents Commentary
    Annual State of Rural Services Report

 

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Sparse Service
The section of the main Network comprising over 100 English Local Authorities. County, Unitary and District Councils are involved. A leaflet with more detail can be viewed here.

RSN-Web

Rural 80 Authorities
Authorities classified by Government as having over 80% of their population living in rural areas.

Rural 50 Authorities
Authorities classified by Government as having between 50% to 80% of their population living in rural areas

Significant Rural Authorities
Authorities classified by Government as having between 25% to 50% of their population living in rural areas

Unitary Councils
Authorities providing both upper and lower tier services in an area

County Councils
Authorities providing upper tier services in areas where there are shire districts

District Councils
Authorities providing lower tier services in an area where there is a county council and that are responsible for council tax collection. Authorities may be labelled ‘district’, ‘borough’ or ‘city’ but not ‘parish’ or ‘town’

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Individual Member Authority Service
Each member authority has its own individual page on which work is undertaken and stored which provides individual analysis

RSN-IMAS

Financial Analysis
One of the services provided relates to annual individual budget item comparison with other member authorities

Economic Performance Service
One of the services provided relates to individual authority comparison in relation to economic development issues and situations

Fairer Funding
We compare the financial position relating to grant allocation between our member authorities and their urban equivalents

Performance
One of the services provided relates to individual authority comparison in relation to refuse, housing and place

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Locum Service
We run a comprehensive service to allow members to take advantage of both short term locum assistance and longer term help from practitioners at much less than normal commercial rates

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Practitioners Service
We feel well positioned to provide members with longer term quality back up at times of need.  Members will find the fees particularly competitive

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Private Sector Panel

The RSN Panel of service providers and organisations from particular areas of the private sector who assist the Network. The panel will meet annually and also use e conferencing

RSN-PSP

Input into Rural Services APPG Work
It is important the All Party Parliamentary Group receives view from all the parties providing service in rural areas

Input into State of Rural Services Report and the Rural England Service Report
This is an important input enabling the report to be balanced from the viewpoint of both public and private sectors

Annual Forum
The opportunity to examine laterally once a year private sector input into services

RSN Research Concerning Private Sector Service Provisions in Rural Areas
The private sector panel will be requested to provide input and thought from the commercial perspective

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Community Groups
A community section involving local bodies associated with the network free of charge because of their involvement with one of the main members

RSN-CG

Consultation
All community members are involved in consultation exercises to give local bodies the right to be heard

Funding Opportunity Service
Information will be despatched to local organisations giving them the chance to get assistance on these issues. Direct assistance is available under a special service

News Service
Community members receive weekly rural news and comment on that news

Information
All community members are given rural information and views on a regular basis

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Rural Services Partnerships
The section of the main network involving non-local authority service providers. Over 120 organisations are involved

RSN-RSP

Reports
Reports back from service groups to give the network insight and information about the key service issues from the rural perspective. We are particularly keen to seek out cross service opportunities

News Service
We provide a weekly news service for RSP members

Email Discussion Groups
We facilitate discussion groups across individual services and also look for opportunities to stage discussion targeted at across service initiatives

Comparison Web Pages
Over the coming years we plan to build individual pages for RSP members allowing easy service comparisons between individual service members

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Rural Services Partnerships – Service Areas
A not for dividend company limited by guarantee comprising some 120 service providers outside local government operation. The group also includes national organisations who have rural credentials and interests

Police
A group looking at issues and best practice relating to rural crime and tackling fear of crime in rural communities

Fire and Rescue
A group looking at issues, best practice and community interface in relation to rural fire fighting and rural fire and rescue service operation

Health
A group looking at the challenges and best experiences from health delivery in rural areas. This group is run jointly with the Institute of Rural Health

Housing
A group working with the Chartered Institute of Housing looking at rural housing issues. The group seeks to comprise the smaller local housing associations and also involves local authority housing officers

Community
The Rural Services Partnership comprises, as part of its operation, some 15 organisations from a local base.  These organisations have decided to step up their involvement to give a community perspective as full Rural Service Partnership members

National
There are some 20 organisations involved in the Rural Services Partnership who are nationally orientated. They give a really important perspective to its operation.  Many of these bodies are also involved in the UK Rural Policy & Practitioners Group

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Services
The RSN acts as the secretariat for this Westminster group of over 70 parliamentary members (Link to APPG members and minutes)

RSN-APPG

Rural Fair Share Group
The Parliamentary Grouping has been constituted to argue the case in relation to funding provided to rural service providers. It details with all public services

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Economic Development Service
A detailed service providing economic development assistance for all our members (link)

Economic-Development-Service

Free Advice Service
Our Advice Service gives members the opportunity to receive free advice on economic development queries they may have

Economic Barometer
The Economic Barometer is an information service which includes our annual Rural Insight Survey and Report which seeks to provide an annual economic review.
The service also includes the profiling service information: vulnerability index, notified vacancies and other key economic data. This information will be updated quarterly.
We will also provide weekly bulletins on issues relating to economic development (Hinterland) and monthly pre seminar briefings (Rural Words)

LEP Alert
This will involve a quarterly summary of key issues arising from the Defra rural LEP network

Annual Rural Practitioners Meeting
Each calendar year we will hold a key meeting in London to bring together all local authority rural practitioners. In this section you will find detail and outcomes from each of the annual rural practitioners meetings

Area Forums and Free Seminars
The RSN organises an annual seminar programme which is free of charge to members. The events are intended to help Councils and Rural Services Partnership Members overcome some of the issues and challenges that they face in delivering services in rural places

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The Virtual Authority
This service seeks to provide members with a detailed service to ensure they aware of funding opportunities and able to comment on relevant consultations as they occur

The Virtual Authority1

Rural Opportunities Bulletin
A monthly bulletin setting out the current funding opportunities and requests for consultation comment

Consultation Response
A service providing a base consultation response from the rural service perspective on all the key consultation exercises. The service allows authorities ease of response to these exercises by either using or amending the responses as they see fit

E-Networks
We are currently developing a range of e-networks to support officers from member authorities in their work. These will enable officers to share best practice and offer support to one another delivering services in rural areas. They will also provide them with the opportunity to generate ideas and innovate together

Community Project Advice
With DR Consultancy we are running a service giving free grant advice for full members and greatly subsidised grant advice for community members

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Finance and Fairer Funding
This is arguably our most important service.  Successive governments’ neglect of the obvious extra cost of running rural services is impacting continually on service delivery

Finance and Fairer Funding

Reports and Presentations
On Local Government Finance Issues

RA Analysis: SPARSE Service Members
A yearly analysis of revenue estimate forms enabling you to judge your authority’s position in comparison with other authorities

RO Analysis: SPARSE Service Members
A yearly analysis of revenue outturn forms enabling comparison with authorities and the position relating to groups of authorities

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Policy and Performance: SPARSE Service Members
A comprehensive performance service allowing comparison urban to rural, between rural classifications and between authorities

RSN-PAP

Economy
Three detailed comparison exercises to establish the position of the local economy in each authority’s area

Housing
Assessment of authorities positions in relation to housing need, provision and homelessness

Environment
Comparison of local authority environmental measures

Quality of Life
Comparison of local authority measures covering quality of life issues such as crime, health and satisfaction with local services

Authority Performance
Comparison of key local authority measures covering previous national indicators for benefits, revenues collection, development control and waste management

Financial Data
Comparison of financial data authority to authority and authority to grouping

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News and Information Service
We provide the most comprehensive rural service in the country. We seek to provide rural news, views and detailed comment

RSN-NAIS

News - Rural Digest
A comprehensive news service, including - at the beginning of each week - an email newsletter detailing every significant rural news story

Hinterland
Towards the end of the week we issue a rural practitioners commentary of his perception of the rural scene

Analysis - Rural Words
A monthly detailed article on a current news topic.  The article will often relate to the current rural seminar being held in one of the regions

Opinion - Rural Commentary
A detailed commentary sought to be issued monthly providing a comprehensive report on the big rural issue.  It is intended this commentary will assist members to themselves make detailed comment on the issue involved

Press Release Service
We will provide members with a basic press release on the biggest rural issues.  The press releases are produced to allow, if wished, local comment by the appropriate councillor. The service is designed to allow members, should they wish, to issue position statements as rural issues arise

Monthly Opportunities Bulletin
A monthly bulletin setting out the grant opportunities available together with the areas where consultation responses are being requested. The bulletin also provides a commentary on a topic of current interest

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Links
To achieve a really comprehensive service we work in tandem with a series of organisations to achieve a solid representational platform for rural service issues and to provide members with a wall to wall rural service

RSN-LINKS

DEFRA (Rural Communities Policy Unit)
We have a bilateral agreement with Defra over information exchange, joint working and meetings relating to work programmes. For us this is a really vital working relationship

Rural Coalition
The Rural Coalition is a body who have monthly meetings seeking to provide consensus between the organisations having a rural interface. We present the rural service viewpoint at these important meetings

Federation of Small Businesses
We work with the Federation on business surveys to their rural panel; in joined up All Party Parliamentary work on rural economic issues and through meetings with their Rural Committee

Institute of Rural Health
We have a strong working relationship with the Institute who specialise in rural proofing research, professional development and training in health issues. The IRH runs a successful Rural Health week every September

Coastal Communities Alliance
We work with this important socio economic group seeking to give rural coastal issues higher profile

Chartered Institute of Housing
We have a special relationship with the Institute seeking to give issues relating to rural housing a strong profile

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Observatory
Compiling statistical information on rural services from a series of sources

Observatory1

Rural Dashboard
Indicators of the rural economic situation

Rural Business
Insights into rural business

Rural Leisure
Looking at rural leisure needs and provision

Rural Transport
Transport is a key element to successful rural communities. Analyses of statistical transport and travel data highlight the current position

Rural Housing & Environment
Data analysis of the rural position

Rural Living
Any other information useful in providing a picture of life in a rural community

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Business Liaison
We seek to establish a system which facilitates responses for ‘Calls for Evidence’ across a range of topics

RSN-BL

Rural Business Information Analysis and Consultation
Collective and individual analysis in members areas across England

Rural Business Economic Research Policy
Detailed assessment of economic positions

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Rural England Service
A valuable resource for RSN members, where they can find the key research and policy documents recently produced about Rural England

RSN-RES

UK Rural Policy and Practitioners Group
A grouping of over 20 organisations from across the United Kingdom which provides an information exchange comparing rural policy experience in different parts of the UK and collation of rural experience across the UK

RSN Calls for Evidence
Reports and findings from the RSN’s surveys and calls for evidence, which it has run to gather evidence from its members about issues of policy interest

Heart of the Village Research
Research and information on trends and initiatives in commercial or community run service provision at the village level

Library of Best Rural Practice
The place to find good rural practice ideas and lessons gathered from RSN members and with web links to other good practice material by other organisation

Rural Policy Documents Commentary
Links to the key Government policy and documents for rural areas and RSN comments on those policy developments

Annual State of Rural Services Report
An annual significant report from the RSN which maps developments and trends in rural public service provision across England

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News digest

Keep up to date with rural issues affecting your community by signing up to our newsletters

Site search


Performance - module

Performance Benchmarking
For our latest Rural Performance Benchmarking analysis click here 
 


Neil Parish MP

Call for rural fair share ffairfshareisharesharerural services areas
To see MPs call for a fair share for rural local authorities, click here.
 


also_1

Parliamentary Group
For the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Services, click here.
 


Our Events

Our Events
For Rural Services Network events and notable dates, click here.
 


Our Events

Rural studies archive
For our Commission for Rural Communities archive, click here.