SPARSE Rural represents Local Authorities Delivering Rural Services in England.
Provision of public services to rural communities inevitably costs more per head of population because of rurality. This presents these rural areas with particular difficulties at this time of cuts and austerity.
SPARSE Rural also provides a wide range of services to its Member Authorities which includes performance and financial benchmarking analysis, a comprehensive observatory of rural information, e-newsletters providing information on rural issues and a Neighbourhood Planning evidence base for their parishes.
SPARSE Rural has two sister groups: The Rural Services Partnership and the Rural Assembly.
The Rural Services Partnership has towards 100 members. It is open for all major public service providers serving the most rural areas who are not based in Local Government.
The Rural Assembly brings together SPARSE Rural members and other local authorities which are not necessarily predominantly rural in character.
In addition to SPARSE Rural members, there are some 25 members of this group.
There are also groups for Finance; Economic Development; Housing; Transport; Crime and Health.
There is a Community Group of organisations with a rural interest in each member’s area. These include rural parish councils, rural schools, and business groups. This group comprises over 16,500 organisations.
Together, SPARSE Rural, the Rural Services Partnership, the Rural Assembly and this Community Group form the Rural Services Network, which is one of the largest rural partnerships in Europe dealing with rural services and their governance.