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Agenda item 5 - North Yorkshire Rural Commission and Rural Task Force

Chief Executives' Group - North Yorkshire and York

4 November 2021

North Yorkshire Rural Commission & Rural Task Force

1. Purpose of report: To update the Group on the work of the North Yorkshire Rural Commission and the establishment of the North Yorkshire Rural Task Force.

2. The North Yorkshire Rural Commission was established as an independent task and finish group in autumn 2019 by North Yorkshire County Council to re-examine the evidence base, draw conclusions and make recommendations to the County Council and others about actions that would help the most rural communities in North Yorkshire to grow and to prosper.

3. The Commission was made up of eight commissioners:

3.1.The Very Reverend John Dobson DL – Chair
3.2.Martin Booth
3.3.Chris Clark
3.4.Heather Hancock (resigned autumn 2020)
3.5.Jean MacQuarrie
3.6.Professor Sally Shortall
3.7.Dr Debbie Trebilco
3.8.Sir William Worsley Bt DL

4. The Commission was an independent group, self-governing, impartial and non-political. It was not part of or aligned to the County Council or any other partner organisation. The Commission provided updates to a reference group made up of the leaders of the eight local authorities in the county, the chairs of the two national park authorities and the chair of the local enterprise partnership.

5. The Commission was supported in its work by a secretariat of County Council officers, which helped organise the various meetings and manage the communications and media that was generated from the work of the Commission. The secretariat also supported the Commission to bring together and organise the evidence base and to help with collation of the extensive information analysed by the Commissioners.

6. The Commission met twenty times, taking evidence from over seventy participants. Commissioners met twice with the reference group, once with the county’s MPs and twice with Defra officials. Three visits were made to rural communities and 27 written submissions were considered.

7. The Commission published its report in July 2021. The executive summary is attached as appendix 2 and the full report and additional information is available at www.northyorks.gov.uk/north-yorkshire-rural-commission.

8. The report examined seven key themes: rural economy; energy transition; digital connectivity; farming and land management; rural schools, education and training; rural housing; rural transport; plus cross cutting issues.

9. The Commissioners set out a vision for rural North Yorkshire “Beautiful, connected and embracing the future”.

10.The Commissioners set out their belief that a thriving rural community is one in which people of all ages and backgrounds can find a home and play a part in community life.

11.The Commissioners also called for partners to work together ensure positive changes are made to enable rural and remote North Yorkshire to become a leader in the green economy, have beautiful living spaces, to be digitally connected, farm sustainably and have vibrant services.

12.The report made 57 recommendations to 17 organisations, including 26 to the County Council.

13.The report received very significant and positive press coverage. Copies were circulated widely, including to all organisations identified in the recommendations and all who had given evidence to the Commission. Almost all have responded positively to the vision, identification of the challenges and the proposed direction of travel, although some have reservations about or do not agree with some of the detailed recommendations.

14.The Commission recommended that the County Council should establish an Advisory Task Force, chaired by the County Council Chief Executive, to advise how to take forward the recommendations of the Rural Commission.

15.The County Council Executive agreed to establish a Rural Task Force to ensure that the vision and challenges identified by the Rural Commission are taken forward to enable rural and remote North Yorkshire to become a leader in the green economy, have beautiful living spaces, to be digitally connected, farm sustainably and have vibrant services. The County Council Executive also asked for a report, in autumn 2022, on progress following the report of the Rural Commission.

16.Draft terms of reference for the Rural Task Force are attached as appendix 1. Invitations have been sent to potential members and it is hoped that the first meeting will be held in November 2022.

Neil Irving

28 October 2021

Appendices: 1 – Draft terms of reference for the Rural Task Force 2 – Rural Commission Executive Summary 

 

Appendix 1 – Draft terms of reference for the Rural Task Force

Background – The North Yorkshire Rural Commission recommended that the County Council should establish an Advisory Task Force, chaired by the County Council Chief Executive, to advise how to take forward the recommendations of the Rural Commission. See the full report of the Commission.  

Name – North Yorkshire Rural Task Force

Purpose – To be a strategic forum for key partners to work together to ensure that the vision and challenges identified by the Rural Commission are considered and taken forward to enable rural and remote North Yorkshire to become a leader in the green economy, have beautiful living spaces, to be digitally connected, farm sustainably and have vibrant services.

Way of working – The Task Force will normally meet quarterly. Partners will share progress on the actions they are taking with regard to the recommendations made by the Rural Commission. Partners will also support, advise and encourage each other in this. The Task Force will contribute to a report on progress following the report of the Rural Commission, to be taken to the County Council Executive in autumn 2022. The terms of reference will be reviewed in autumn 2022.

Membership

  • Chief Executive, NYCC (chair)
  • Chief Executive/Director from two district councils
  • Director/Assistant Director of NYCC Children and Young People’s Services
  • Director/Assistant Director of NYCC Business and Environmental Services
  • Chief Executive/Director from the two national park authorities
  • Chief Operating Officer of the local enterprise partnership
  • Principal of an agricultural college
  • Chief Executive of Yorkshire Agricultural Society
  • NFU representative
  • Community First Yorkshire representative