Policy & Research - Overview

Policy and Research

The Policy and Research team in Rural Community Network works with policy makers and rural communities to build up the evidence around the key issues impacting on rural communities and to ensure that the issues that matter to rural people are taken into account by decision makers.

Policies can be developed ‘top down’ with, for example, government assuming that they know what people want or they can be developed with citizens and local communities with government recognising that people are experts in their own lives and have the right to have a voice in the decisions that shape the quality of their lives.

RCN’s approach to research and policy can be broken down into four areas:

Who decides?

  • Supporting those who have least voice in rural communities develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to participate as equals in the decisions that impact on their lives.

What is decided?

  • The decisions of policy makers take into account the issues, needs of rural dwellers and are based on the best available evidence.

How decisions are made?

  • Ensuring that those who make decisions, such as politicians and public servants, hear, listen and take account of the issues being named in rural communities.

How decisions are made?

  • Ensuring that those who make decisions, such as politicians and public servants, hear, listen and take account of the issues being named in rural communities.

How decisions are enforced, implemented and evaluated?

  • Ensuring accountability so that decisions made are followed through.

Rural dwellers face a number of different challenges impacting on the quality of people’s lives and the sustainability of rural communities. These include: the rationalisation and centralisation of local and central government services; housing; planning; fuel and child poverty; mental health; transport; and education. RCN’s research and policy work is driven by the commitment to ensuring that in tackling these issues ‘nothing about us is done without us.’