There is a Rural Affairs Forum for each Government Office region outside London. Regional Rural Affairs Forums were established following the publication of the Rural White Paper in 2000. The Rural Strategy 2004 announced a strengthening of the link between Ministers and rural areas by developing a closer relationship with Rural Affairs Forums and their Chairs. Rural Affairs Forums now provide the prime communication mechanism between organisations and agencies that are responsible for the development and delivery of rural policy.
The East Midlands Rural Affairs Forum (EMRAF)
The East Midlands Rural Affairs Forum (EMRAF) provides a forum for sharing information on issues and initiatives affecting rural areas. EMRAFís role is to champion rural interests in the region by identifying issues of concern, giving views on new regional proposals and consultations and promoting the development of regional initiatives with the aim to improve the quality of life in the regionís rural areas.
Since itís launch in 2002, EMRAF has developed into a network of over 68 organisations from the public, private and voluntary sector. The Forum has an independent Chair, who meets with the Minster for Rural Affairs several times a year. The operation of the Forum is overseen by the Operations Group and the role of the co-ordination of EMRAF activities and delivery is facilitated by the Regional Director of Rural Community Action East Midlands.
The Regional Director delivers the activities of EMRAF and itís 4 Subgroups: Quality Services Accessible to All, A Thriving Rural Economy, Sustainable & Inclusive Communities Incorporating Housing and A High Quality Environment. A Communications Officer provides effective communication tools for EMRAF and its members and provides secretarial support to the Operations Group. The full forum meet 4 times a year (one of the meetings being the EMRAF Annual Conference) to endorse and initiate actions.