Top results for Rural Services Network survey

Press release
24 July 2012

For immediate release

The Rural Services Network news service scored top marks in a survey of members.

The RSN also scored highly when it came to good policy and practice ideas.

Almost 400 members of the Rural Services Network took the trouble to respond to a survey run in late June and early July.

The study aimed to find out which of its existing services were most valued and what service developments would be helpful in future.

The policy topics of most interest to RSN members are (in order):

* community action
* transport
* land use planning
* broadband

Economic development and housing also scored highly among principal authorities.

The Weekly Email News Digest is the most popular RSN service, with 86% of members rating it as either very or fairly useful.

Principal authorities also value the RSN's work to develop performance profiles and financial reports for each local authority in membership.

Other existing services which draw a particularly favourable response are the RSN's partnership work with Defra, articles on its website and its State of Rural Services report.

Almost all of the existing services are felt to be useful by a majority of members.

Many of the ideas suggested in the survey for future development have a considerable degree of support.

RSN members are especially keen to see increased provision of best practice case studies and for the organisation to input on more government consultation documents.

The RSN wishes to thanks all those who took part in the survey.

Thought will be given over the coming weeks to ways of taking on board the views expressed.


Media contact:

Graham Biggs
Chief Executive
Rural Services Network
T: 01588 674 922
M: 07966 790197


1) The Rural Services Network is a group of more than 200 organisations working together to improve the delivery of rural services across England. The two operating arms of the network are the Sparsity Partnership for Authorities Delivering Rural Services (SPARSE) and the Rural Services Partnership. Further information and a full list of members are available at

2) The Rural Services Network seeks to establish best practice across the spectrum of rural service provision. The network has representation across the complete range of rural services, including local authorities, public bodies, businesses, charities and voluntary groups. We are devoted to safeguarding and improving services in rural communities across England. We are the only national network specifically focusing on this vital aspect of rural life.

3) The Rural Services Network exists to ensure services delivered to the communities of predominantly rural England are as strong and as effective as possible. The term 'predominately rural' refers to counties and Local Authority districts with at least 50 percent of their population living in rural settlements (ie. rural towns, villages, hamlets and dispersed dwellings) as identified in the Office for National Statistics' rural definition, and including larger market towns as identified in the Defra classification of local authority districts. The rural definition and classification were devised by the Rural Evidence Research Centre (RERC) at Birkbeck College. Further information on these can be found at


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