RSN Executive Meeting - 17 September 2012


Cllr Roger Begy (Chairman), Cllr Robert Heseltine, Cllr Cecilia Motley, Cllr Gordon Nicholson, Cllr Betty Harvey, Cllr Mac Cotterill, Cllr Derrick Haley, John Birtwistle (Transport), Barbara Shaw (Voluntary Sector), Stuart Horne (Business), David Inman, Dan Bates.

Cllr Julian German, Cllr Nick Worth, Cllr Hilary Carrick, Graham Biggs (Chief Executive).

To download the agenda, click here.

To download these minutes, click here.

1.    Notes of the Previous Meeting (see Attachment 1)

a.    LEP’s
Decided not sufficient interest at the moment to justify going forward at this stage.

b.    Rural Services Partnership Police
Pursuing through Community Safety Partnership.

c.    Rural Unitary Group
Chair to discuss with Mike Jones of CCN in next couple of weeks and report back to main meeting.  Still seemed potential to proceed with something he thought.

d.    Countryside Round Table – re: Fuel Poverty
Graham Biggs to give update at the next meeting.

e.    CCRI
Possibility of joint bid with CCRI re: academic and community partnership.  Array of papers tabled which CCRI were looking at.  They included ambitions in respect of dedicated rural services, panel involvement, rural challenge work and a far more pro-active network.

f.    National Trust
Attempts to establish an agreement or concordat on joint working.  Thoughts seemed to be well received to date.

g.    RCPU Rural Paper
Now issued.  Regarded as a useful compendium of policy positions.

h.    Parliamentary Rural Fair Share Group
Seemed to be progressing quite well.

i.    Rural Bus Services
Bus Operator Grant would seem from October 2013 to be paid to the LTA’s (but without ring fencing).  A note from John Birtwistle was being prepared.  There was uncertainty over index linking.

j.    Updating of Website
Progressing satisfactorily.  Dave Large on a contract for service to supplement web site team.

k.    Communications Strategy
Hoped to commence monthly statements later this month.


2.    Group Priorities
A detailed blue sky session took place.  The following positions were arrived at:


a.    There was a feeling that the website and the art work needed a core purpose statement.  Johann would be asked to look at this.

b.    The ability of the group to reduce work load of members should be emphasised.

c.    The importance of networking at those difficult times needed to be emphasised more.

d.    It was felt the group needed to arrive at one name instead of having so many working titles.  (January 2013 Executive to discuss in detail).

e.    It was felt the group were short on identifying their successes.  A detailed compendium needed to be established.

f.    The things you couldn’t do if you weren’t in the organisation needed to be listed.

g.    There was voiced concern about a perceived lack of dissemination of material.  It was felt greater emphasis should be brought from the media side of the organisation on Twitter, Linkedin and conferencing of the Group’s message was to be got across and its full potential realised.

h.    There should be a conscious effort by the Executive to name 2 or 3 campaigns each year so that members were more aware what they were signing up to.  Attempts should be made by the AGM to identify these.


3.    A Private Sector Session (see Attachment 2)
A report which had been prepared was considered in detail.  The report and concepts were agreed in principal.  However it was felt that consideration should be given to approach a more limited number of sectors with clearer message identification.  The essential message needed to be one associated with the current “growth” agenda.  i.e:

Shops in villages – attempting to involve Spar, Londis, Booker
Pubs in villages – attempting to involve LVA’s

It was recommended Cooperative Futures would be approached.

There was a need to identify in each case the specific benefit to the firms in being involved (without this it was considered support was unlikely to be forthcoming in these difficult times).

Once again the catalogue of successes was considered to be important.

The Director would develop the proposal as per these minutes in conjunction with John Birtwistle and Stuart Horne to seek to encompass a Private Sector and a package development perspective.

4.    Budget Report (see Attachment 3)
The Director presented the current position for 2012/13 and the first draft proposal for 2013/14.  A second draft would be circulated by email for Director’s consideration.  If agreed it would go forward to the AGM.

5.    RSP Accounts (see Attachment 4)
The RSP Directors present received and approved the 2011/12 audited accounts.  It was agreed that Richard Kirlew from the Church in Wales should become a Director.

6.    Fairer Funding Campaign (see Attachment 5 and Attachment 6 and Attachment 7)
Further information had now been issued by DCLG showing:


a.    Revised damping in the way now proposed by employing figures across District service and County service full blocks from all types of authority;

b.    Showing the proposed cuts for 2012/14.


This showed a budget reduction of up to 18% for some authorities but this for most member authorities was reduced by the increased allowance for rural services.  The lowest reduction (Eden) was at 8%.

It was likely the final position would now be announced in the 2nd or 3rd week of December after the 5th of December Autumn Statement.

The position in respect of the Business Rates proposals were outlined.  Rural areas were not expected to benefit.  There was concern that Districts could suffer up to 40% of losses and yet achieve only 8% of any gains.

The Executive needed, at their January meeting, to consider the research the group would be undertaking.  It was not felt the Governments intended 7 year freeze would prove practicable.

Concern was voiced that with Bob Neill being reshuffled there was no longer a Ministerial figurehead in relation to Local Government.  It was decided to press the LGA to make representations.  The Executive agreed the Chapter 5 and template responses as drafted but gave the Chief Executive authority to amend as necessary following the release of new data at SWG.

7.    The Rural Health Conference
The intended conference was discussed.  The importance of it kick starting a Rural Health section was detailed.  Those involved in Shadow Health and Wellbeing Boards detailed their experiences.  The number of organisations involved was a clear problem, the process was like wading through treacle and the vocabulary was difficult.

There was concern about funding and the need for it to be properly recycled was detailed.  The CAB were worried that LA’s would think the funding the CAB had previously received from the PCTs was duplication with attempts to cut it.

Health Watch groups were likely to be different in every County and there would be a need to spot common rural patterns.

The special problems of people retiring to rural areas and their health and social needs were accelerating as people lived longer.  These problems were massively under recognised by Government.


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