CEO Quarterly Report

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					CEO Quarterly Report
Quarter 1: April to June 2009

CEO’s highlights
•   Having established a good working relationship with Huw Irranca-Davies as             •   Our first State of the Countryside conference, designed to help shape our
    our sponsoring minister – including his support of our 2009-12 corporate                  programme of research and analysis for the next report, was a great success
    plan, participation in a Rural Advocate visit on employment issues and his                with good attendance and lively debate. CRC is seen as a trusted body to
    support and announcement of our new ‘shared priorities’ with Defra – it was               lead on rural evidence.
    with regret that his portfolio changed at the reshuffle. Stuart Burgess met our
                                                                                          •   The Uplands Communities Inquiry has reached the end of its evidence-
    new Minister, Dan Norris, on his second day and that a more formal meeting
                                                                                              gathering stage. We are starting to develop and test out propositions with a
    with him is planned. We look forward to working with him.
                                                                                              wide range of stakeholders, including among others, Natural England,
•   Dan Norris also delivered the keynote address at our ‘inspiration’ summit, the            Environment Agency, Defra, Country Landowners Association and the
    second in a series of four resulting from the Rural Economies report delivered            National Parks.
    to the Prime Minister last year. The summit engaged 60 delegates from
                                                                                          •   We organised the three successful OECD missions to support their
    businesses and public and third sector and feedback has been outstanding.
                                                                                              investigation into rural policy in England and held a joint conference on
•   The profile of rural communities and economies has remained high, helped                  provision of rural services. Their draft report will be sent to Defra for
    by some timely interventions by ourselves:                                                consideration in the autumn.
    o Our evidence and recommendations on Digital Inclusion fed into Lord                 •   Corporately, we were delighted that Stuart Burgess’s tireless work on behalf
      Carter’s Digital Inclusion report, and launch of our own report, ‘Mind the              of rural communities was recognised in the award of the CBE in the Queen’s
      Gap’ has influenced the debate.                                                         Birthday Honours. The annual report and accounts 2008-09 were signed off
                                                                                              ahead of schedule. We were pleased to welcome four Commissioners; and it
    o We were able to brief MPs from all parties ahead of an Opposition debate
                                                                                              was with immense sadness that we learnt of former Commissioner Norman
      on rural economies, and were pleased that our evidence was widely cited
                                                                                              Glass’s death in June
      by MPs, and subsequently by stakeholders.
                                                                                          •   This is my first and last report as our new Chief Executive, Sarah McAdam
    o Our regular reports to the Secretary of State to inform the National
                                                                                              will be joining us in August. When I took over on 1 April, my strategy was to
      Economic Council have also received wide media coverage.
                                                                                              keep ‘full steam ahead’ and build the organisation’s confidence to be bold
•   Our profile has remained high with the help of some high-profile launches,                and ‘get out there’. I hope you will agree that this has been achieved. I
    notably the relaunch of Rural Proofing and events on the same day at the                  would like to thank Commissioners and staff for their support during this
    Royal Norfolk show and the House of Commons to launch the Financial                       time.
    Inclusion Guide, part of our work for the Department for Work and Pensions.

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Our priorities for Quarter 2 are equally ambitious:

   •   Extracting further value from our Digital Inclusion work and building on
       the many contacts made.
   •   Following up on the key recommendations on Financial Inclusion, notably
       in relation for banking and credit unions.
   •   Focusing on jobs and training – and more equitable access in rural areas
       to Job Centre Plus and other support mechanisms.
   •   Developing joint work with Defra on rural proofing Strategic Health
       Authorities.
   •   Instigating a one-year on review of Lord Darzi’s review of the National
       Health Service.
   •   Developing work on Major Life Events, notably in the areas of cancer and
       stroke.
   •   Stepping up our work on fuel poverty and the rural dimensions of the
       Warm Front and the Home Energy Saving Programme Schemes with the
       Department for Energy and Climate Change and Defra.
   •   Boosting rural proofing in government departments with the introduction
       of Rural Proofing Champions.
   •   Adding maximum value to the final two rural economies summits.
   •   Engaging with the Department for Schools on the funding formula for
       rural schools.
   •   Moving into the final stages of the Uplands Communities Inquiry with
       synthesis of information and testing propositions with stakeholders and
       communities.

We will focus on achieving the best for rural communities despite the changing
and uncertain political climate.




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Impact 1 Policy and delivery become more integrated and progressive, encouraging rural places to become more sustainable.
We will know we are succeeding when                        Progress to date - Quarter One                          What we will do in Quarter Two
Planning and Rural Housing                                 Planning and Rural Housing                              Planning and Rural Housing
• Homes and Communities Agency (HCA)                       • Five housing position papers have been                • Task and finish group to develop new CRC strategy
  demonstrate their commitment to and                        considered by the task and finish group, including      Housing.
  understanding of the need for sustainable                  one on delivery projections for HCA on affordable     • Work towards identifiable improvement in enabling
  affordable rural housing through their targets and         rural housing targets over the next three years.        function from CLG, in line with response to the
  funding structures.                                      • We responded to CLG’s Housing and Planning              HPDG consultation.
• Planning policy articulates a clearer focus on             Delivery Grant (HPDG) consultation, supporting        • Rural Coalition Prospectus to be launched, with the
  delivering sustainable rural development.                  smaller district authorities to work with parish        aim of achieving wide support for a shared view of
• At least one region begins to implement the                councils to deliver more affordable rural housing.      sustainable development.
  principles of the new approaches to rural planning       • Rural Coalition’s Planning Prospectus has been        Rural Transport
  by April 2010.                                             agreed by our round table partners.                   • Work to persuade DfT to incorporate CRC case
• Planning measures set out in the Integrated              Rural Transport                                           studies into Local Transport Planning Best Practice
  Regional Strategies have been rural proofed.             • Final transport research reports - “Rejuvenating        Handbook with a clear link back to CRC’s rural
Rural Transport                                              public transport in rural areas” and “Accessibility     transport papers.
• Department for Transport’s Local Transport Plan            planning case studies” completed in May 2009.         • Following the Rural Advocate visit, a joint ministerial
  and Good Practice Handbook includes greater              • Rural Advocate joint visit with the Commission for      roundtable on rural transport with CfIT is planned
  emphasis on rural transport.                               Integrated Transport (CfIT) to Cumbria on their         for the autumn.
Uplands Inquiry                                              ‘taxi plus’ scheme.                                   Uplands Inquiry
• Major stakeholders in our Upland Communities             Uplands Inquiry                                         • Produce first draft report; test recommendations
  Inquiry (Environment Agency, Natural England and         • Evidence-gathering stage of Inquiry complete.           with external stakeholders.
  Department for Environment, Food and Rural                 State of the countryside Uplands report produced      Climate Change
  Affairs) support the majority of our calls for action.     and launched on CRC web-site.                         • Set up a task and finish group to develop CRC
• Following the recommendations in our Upland              • Rural Advocate visit to Lancashire to complement         strategy and action plan.
  Communities Inquiry report, upland communities             the Inquiry’s various regional activities (April),    • Rural Advocate visit on climate change and coastal
  feel they have the necessary tools to implement            resulting from a meeting in December 08 with the         erosion (July).
  change at their local level by April 2011.                 Duke of Westminster. It was attended by 40            • Rural Experience on renewable energy with Co-op
Climate Change                                               people and evidence gathered will be used by the         in East Anglia (Sept.), this will include a seminar
• Local rural communities share ideas on climate             Inquiry.                                                 before the site visits.
  change mitigation and adaptation and more                Climate change
  communities understand how to measure their              • The CRC-commissioned research, Impacts of
  contribution to national targets.                          summer 2007 floods on rural communities, has
                                                             been published on our website.



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Impact 2 Services in rural areas improve, particularly for people experiencing disadvantage
We will know we are succeeding when             Progress in Quarter One                                           What we will do in Quarter Two
Financial Inclusion                                     Financial Inclusion                                       Financial Inclusion
• The practices advocated in the Financial Inclusion    • CRC credibility enhanced through strong sector          • We will begin delivery of agreed Action Plan with
  Guide are adopted by regional champions, local          engagement and robust evidence in the Financial           DWP with particular focus on expanding coverage
  authorities and delivery service agents.                Inclusion Guide, a State of the Countryside Update        of the Growth Fund support in rural areas.
• The proportion of growth fund loans awarded in          and a recession report.                                 • A meeting with DECC Secretary of State Ed
  rural areas increases to allow greater access to      • CRC profile on financial inclusion issues raised          Miliband is planned for the autumn.
  affordable credit.                                      alongside DWP partners, through Ministerial             Fuel Poverty
Fuel Poverty                                              endorsement and high profile launch event.              • Develop and promote the case for green energy
• The Warm Front policy is revised so that more         Fuel Poverty                                                use in rural areas first to mitigate fuel poverty the
  rural homes become eligible for its funding.          • Provided DECC with the rural consideration for a          Renewable Heat Incentive, duel fuel tariffs and
Digital Inclusion                                         proposal to increase tax on oil and oil based             delivery of the Government’s 2015 renewables
• The proposed Government target of 90% 2mb               products.                                                 targets.
  broadband coverage is spread proportionately          • Reported directly to David Kidney, Minister at          Digital Inclusion
  across all areas of England, rather than the            DECC, setting out our key considerations for            • We will develop and implement a joint action plan
  remaining 10% comprising sparse and remote              energy improvements in rural areas.                       with Defra. We will pursue a broad stakeholder
  areas.                                                Digital Inclusion                                           influencing strategy to ensure that Digital Britain
• At least four more communities adopt the              • ‘Mind the Gap’ report published, with                     initiatives such as the Digital Champions are rural
  community broadband approach by April 2010.             endorsement quotes from the Prime Minister and            proofed, including the Communications Consumer
Access to services                                        Lord Carter. A high profile launch event was held         Panel.
• More local authorities take account of rural issues     and joint working with other respected industry         Access to services
  when applying funding to rural schools and more         stakeholders (CBN & Samknows).                          • The Strategic Analysis team will be progressing
  schools offer the extended schools agenda.            • The Digital Britain report recognised rural               the network-based analysis of the Rural Service
• Strategic Health Authorities rural proof their          broadband issues highlighted by our evidence              Series, and the Rural Futures scenario on Ageing
  delivery plans.                                         and endorsed several CRC recommendations. The             will report during the latter part of 2009.
                                                          Communications Consumer Panel referred to our           • Investigate the impact of Post Office network
                                                          report and evidence in a policy briefing note.            closure and current outreach provision to provide
                                                        Access to services                                          evidence to support enhanced Post Office role.
                                                        • Business and Enterprise Committee’s Post Offices        • The Major Life Events Project to present at the
                                                          inquiry report endorsed and adopted several CRC           Stroke All Parliamentary Group.
                                                          recommendations, including a greater PO role in         • Evidence from the Major Life Events project to be
                                                          financial services, and Local Government to               given to the cancer inquiry panel.
                                                          promote Post Offices as community hubs.
                                                        • Rural Advocate visit to Berwick Upon Tweed,
                                                          to provide ‘real life examples’ for the next phase of
                                                          the Major Life Events project.

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Impact 3 Economic agencies are committed to overcoming rural economic disadvantage & releasing the economic potential of rural areas
We will know we are succeeding when                   Progress in Quarter One                                   What we will do in Quarter Two
Employment and skills                                 Employment and skills                                     Economic potential
•   Vulnerable rural people have improved access to   •   A Rural Advocate visit to Bolsover, Notts             •   RDAs, Innovation lead and officials from BIS and the
    Job Centre Plus and skills development support.       /Derbyshire border in May focused on                      Technology Strategy Board (the target audience
                                                          unemployment and skills, was joined by the then           for our call for action), have set out a draft
Economic potential
                                                          Rural Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies. He was                programme of work which we will discuss with
• Rural areas have equitable access to recession          particularly impressed with the regeneration              them in July.
  recovery funds announced in the 2009 Budget.            projects to help local families into work.
                                                                                                                •   A recession intelligence ‘one year on’ report will
•   The criteria for regeneration funding ensures     Economic potential                                            be published in the autumn together with an
    equitable access so that more rural places are                                                                  evaluation of the outcomes of our
                                                      •   A Summit on Inspiration and Leadership was held
    eligible to apply for funds.                                                                                    recommendations to the Secretary of State.
                                                          in June in association with South East England
                                                          Development Agency and East of England                •   Rural local authorities and representatives from
                                                          Development Agency. 60 people from a wide                 community, rural and economic agencies have
                                                          variety of public, private and third sector               contributed some excellent case examples of
                                                          organisations heard impressive championing of             Economic Wellbeing to a study being completed
                                                          rural in local government and from owners/                for CRC to illustrate, measure and encourage
                                                          managers of inspiring rural firms.                        greater use of this focus in regional and local
                                                                                                                    economic programmes. The report will be
                                                      •   The report’s call to strengthen innovation support
                                                                                                                    published in quarter 2 and will also be promoted
                                                          to rural firms has been taken up by the Rural
                                                                                                                    to encourage central government, in the longer
                                                          Development Agencies’ innovation lead, officials
                                                                                                                    term, to embrace economic wellbeing as a core
                                                          from the department of Business, Innovation &Skills
                                                                                                                    focus of economic policy.
                                                          and the Technology Strategy Board
                                                                                                                •   Rural Experience on market towns with
                                                      •   Recession reports received wide media coverage.
                                                                                                                    Government Office North West (Sept.).
                                                          One focused on market towns using work
                                                          undertaken with the Centre for Local Economic         •   A series of mini Rural Advocate visits on market
                                                          Strategies and Action for Market Towns.                   towns across the country (August).




Impact 4 The distinctive rural dimension is embedded in decision-making at appropriate levels

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We will know we are succeeding when                     Progress in Quarter One                                    What we will do in Quarter Two
Rural Proofing                                          Rural Proofing                                             Rural Proofing
•   Three priority departments have established their   •   Successful launch of the new rural proofing toolkit    •   Develop and start implementing a strategic
    detailed rural proofing action plans.                   that will help decision makers better implement            marketing plan to promote the rural proofing
                                                            rural proofing, comprising case studies, examples          toolkit to a wider range of decision makers,
Rural Voice
                                                            and a compelling narrative. A major national               building on the success of the conference launch.
• Four Participatory Budgeting pilots have                  conference to launch the toolkit attracted
                                                                                                                   •   The team of rural proofing champions will be
  demonstrated how rural communities can influence          Ministerial support from Jim Knight (schools) and
                                                                                                                       established to begin implementation of the shared
  spending decisions in their area.                         Huw Irranca-Davies, and excellent feedback from
                                                                                                                       project with Defra to embed rural proofing in
Watchdog                                                    over 140 delegates, of whom 50 have signed up to
                                                                                                                       government departments. We will secure
                                                            receive regular good practice bulletins to help
• We have reported on government departments’                                                                          departmental support and begin to map out the
                                                            support them in their rural proofing work.
  successes in incorporating rural in their policy                                                                     deliverables. We will agree the project scope and
  delivery.                                             •   A major new project with Defra agreed to help              plans for joint work with ONE North East and agree
                                                            build their rural proofing capacity. Additional            a set of project milestones.
                                                            resources will be seconded into three central
                                                                                                                   •   We will also be receiving interim results from our
                                                            departments and one regional organisation.
                                                                                                                       project with the Sustainable Development
                                                        •   Secured support from Audit Commission to brief             Commission in monitoring support for rural
                                                            Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) lead                   proofing, linked to departmental sustainable
                                                            officers on the significance of rural in the new CAA       development action plans.
                                                            regime.
                                                                                                                   Rural Voice
                                                        Rural Voice
                                                                                                                   •   We will publish headline results of our project to
                                                        •   The strategic analysis team has gained National            promote participatory budgeting at parish level (ie
                                                            Statistic status for updating the new district and         more local voice and direct control over parish
                                                            unitary structure with a rural and urban                   precepts).
                                                            classification.
                                                                                                                   Watchdog
                                                                                                                   •   We will be seeking Commission approval for a
                                                                                                                       new approach to our Rural Proofing watchdog
                                                                                                                       responsibilities.




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Evidence, Engaging and Communicating

•   The CRC Whitehall Team has held briefings and           Rural Networks - RDPE Network: and UK NRN               Media Coverage
    meetings with parliamentarians and their                Delivery milestones achieved during Q1 were
                                                                                                                    •   Excellent results even with three weeks lost to
    researchers to ensure that the rural case is made
                                                            •   Two Action Plans developed and agreed with              ‘purdah’ prior to the elections in May, at 247 articles,
    clearly within both Houses of Parliament.
                                                                RDPE Programme Monitoring Committee, UKNRN              compared with 175 in quarter one 2008.
•   To develop rural evidence we are working with the           Steering Committee, RDPE Programme                      Approaching a third of our coverage in the quarter
    UK Data Archive to ensure that rural data in publicly       Monitoring Committee and Defra. This sets out           related directly to our uplands inquiry and digital
    funded social science research is made more                 key Network priorities and activities.                  inclusion report. Online coverage and social media
    widely available. We have established an ESRC                                                                       continue to play an increasingly important role in
                                                            •   Two new websites have gone live. These are key
    CASE studentship. A previous CASE studentship                                                                       communication of our messages.
                                                                networking mechanisms which will evolve to
    has resulted in a PhD that will feed into the current
                                                                meet stakeholder needs.                             Volume and Circulation Trends
    development of our affordable housing and
    planning policy. We have regularly participated in      •   Information exchange activities completed for
    advisory groups to projects commissioned under              RDPE include: March Leader event follow-up;
    Defra’s rural research programme.                           process for responding to general enquiries;
                                                                Regional Networking protocols in development
•   To promote rural evidence we will be building on
                                                                with five regions. Signposting activity completed
    the State of the countryside conference to scope the
                                                                at England, UK and EU levels.
    2010 report and form closer working relationships
    with other relevant bodies who can use rural            •   Information exchange and stakeholder
    evidence to influence decision-makers. We are               relationship development for RDPE network with:
    contributing to scoping the RELU programme                  EU - Networks in Sweden, Netherlands and
    fourth call for proposals on Adapting Rural Living          Ireland and with European Network for Rural
    and Land Use to Environmental Change and to the             Development.
    Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution             Key activities to be delivered in Q2 are:
    study on the Environmental Impacts of Demographic
    Change, emphasising the rural dimension.                •   Joint Northern Rural Network Leader approach
                                                                event, and
•   We are leading in producing evidence on rural
    disadvantage by undertaking the rural Minimum           •   Joint Rural Services network and RDPE integration
    Income Standard project.                                    seminar.
In Quarter 2 we will be producing the Rural Futures
scenario on Ageing




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Corporate management
                                                                                                              CRC Cumulative Expenditure to end June 2009
•   The annual report and accounts 2008/9 were
    audited and signed off by the NAO. Their
                                                                 Total Working Days Lost
    Management letter reflected the significant
    improvements made by the Finance team.               70
                                                                      Total Working Days Lost 58
    By giving the accounts ‘unqualified’ status the      60
    NAO demonstrated their confidence in our             50                      46
                                                                   42
    accounting procedures and our
                                                         40
    preparedness for their final audit visit in May.
                                                         30
•   Year-end appraisals for all staff have been
                                                         20
    completed within the deadline and new
    performance markings have been adopted.              10

•   Performance evaluations have been                     0
    moderated by the panel of Programme                           April         May            June
    Managers and Directors and this will enable
    the performance-related August pay award                   Days lost as % of total
    to be delivered on time.
                                                                  working days
•   HR have conducted reviews of Health &                         Days lost as % of total working days
    Safety and Diversity & Equality policies             4.5                                                                                Actual   Budget    Variance
                                                                                               3.82
    within the CRC.                                        4                                                                                £’000     £’000     £’000
                                                         3.5                     3.27
                                                                   2.89                                        Year to date performance     1,567     1,820      252
•   Staff turnover was very low with only two              3
    members of staff leaving and four arriving           2.5
    during the first quarter, a turnover rate of 3%.       2
                                                                                                              There was an underspend in staff costs due to higher than
                                                         1.5
                                                                                                              planned vacancies which has been made available to
                                                           1
Freedom of Information                                   0.5                                                  programmes and a small number of projects have faced
                                                           0                                                  delays resulting in slippage into quarter 2. There have also
•   A total of 21 requests were made under the                                                                been differences between profiled budget and actual costs
    Freedom of Information Act. All have been                      April         May           June
                                                                                                              which will be resolved in year. This has led to a cumulative
    closed within the timeframe allowed or are                                                                underspend of £252k at the end of June, however, the
    scheduled to do so.                                Staff sickness was very low when account is taken of   forecast outturn for 09/10 remains £6.4m.
                                                       two people on long term sick leave for periods
                                                       during the quarter.



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Publications

CRC 90         Unitary authority good practice summary leaflet
CRC 91         Uplands inquiry leaflet
CRC 92         HR leaflet - Working at the CRC
CRC 93         Steps forward from the participation inquiry: strengthening the role of rural councillors - one year on
CRC 94         DVD - Inquiry into the future for England's uplands communities
CRC 01-B       Who we are and what we do
CRC 95         Locality reporting against the National indicator set
CRC 97         Rural Proofing Toolkit
CRC 98         Guidance note: service delegations to Parish and Town Councils
CRC 99         Clustering by Parish and Town councils
CRC WEB 39     LAA Project / spatial disaggregation of the National indicator Set
CRC WEB 40     State of the countryside update : Uplands
CRC 100        Annual Review and Accounts
CRC 101        DVD – Money Matters
CRC 102        DVD Rural Insights – a look at life in rural England
CRC 104        Mind the gap: Digital England- a rural perspective
CRC 105        Rural Money Matters: a support guide to rural financial inclusion
n/a            Promotional postcard: Rural Money Matters: a support guide to rural financial inclusion
CRC WEB 41     State of the countryside update: Financial inclusion




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