Previous research has suggested that standard indicators of deprivation used by central and local government in the UK are inadequately measuring perceived levels of disadvantage in rural areas. In particular, by not incorporating accessibility to, and provision of, services they neglect an important facet of deprivation. The dispersed nature of rural deprivation leads us to the conclusion that area-based indices may have less relevance in such contexts. The aims of this paper are two-fold; firstly, we review the types of indicators which have been suggested as being more relevant to rural areas, given access to appropriate information sources, and secondly, using a survey of public service provision in rural communities of Wales (1995-1996), we explore the development of such indicators. Finally, by comparing the status of communities as evidenced by these measures vis-a-vis those used currently for spatial targetting of resources, we make some preliminary conclusions as to the policy relevance of such indicators in the light of recent reviews, for example, in EU Structural Funding.