Rural Impacts of Public Sector Analysis for DEFRA

In 2005 we worked with DEFRA on an analysis of the rural impacts of public sector interventions to tackle social exclusion.

Defra commissioned the Community Development Foundation (CDF), in association with Resources for Change to conduct research into the rural impacts of social exclusion interventions. The aim of the research was to assess the impacts of different national government interventions to tackle social exclusion in rural areas, and to identify the policy implications for the design of future interventions.

Initially a shortlist of 20 interventions was drawn up; relevant evaluative literature was sought via the Web, programme staff and other research organisations. However, it soon became clear that this methodology had serious limitations, due to the sparsity of content in the literature relating to rural perspectives.

Further investigation was pursued through interviews of senior policy staff in 5 of the original 20 programmes, (Job Centre Plus, Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, Pension Credit, Supporting People and SureStart), to gather their impressions of the rural perspective for their programmes. A workshop to analyse the findings was held with Defra and CRC staff.

This research brought into question much more than was originally expected, some difficult issues were raised. However, it seems to have provided supporting evidence for some current thinking within Defra, particularly about rural proofing. The findings could prove a catalyst to further influence work with other Government departments and programmes.

To find out more about this project and others like it, please contact Irene Evison.