Your Oxfordshire

The latest news, activities and events across Your Oxfordshire
15/03/17

Council agrees to submit Better Oxfordshire proposals to government
Over the last few months we’ve been speaking to people online and across the county to explain our proposals to make services better, more local and cost less to run. Though many people have shown that they support the plans, lots of you are also concerned that any new council would need to be more local.

As a result we’ve made some significant changes to the proposal, previously known as ‘OneOxfordshire’, including:

Increased the number of ‘area boards’ which would have responsibility for local services
Made special arrangements for Oxford to reflect its unique needs in the county
Yesterday (Tuesday) the county council’s cabinet agreed to submit the Better Oxfordshire proposals for a new council for the whole county to government.

So what happens next?

Some preparatory work can start immediately. Recommendations agreed by the cabinet include setting up a joint committee to develop the area board model, with all the councils invited to take part.

We also want to set up a City Convention so that residents and organisations in Oxford can take part in designing a new model of governance for the city.

Ultimately the decision is with the Secretary of State for Local Government, who is expected to consult stakeholders (residents and organisations) before he decides.

As always, you can find out more at www.betteroxfordshire.org -and join in the discussion on Facebook.

Your pictures of Spring in Oxfordshire

Well, we said it last edition and we’re more convinced than ever that spring is here! So we’ve set up a gallery with the best photos you’ve sent in from across the county, do tweet us @OxfordshireCC if you’ve got some you’d like to share!

That said March can be pretty chilly (so do keep an eye out for anyone you know who might struggle to get out of the house – in fact you might want to book them a Safe and Well visit from a friendly Fire Officer).

So let’s enjoy the colour coming back to the county and hope for warmer days!

Family Information Service Activities

Combe Mill in steam – Sunday 19th March 2017
COMBE MILL in STEAM Sun 19th March 2017 Themed:

Science and Engineering at Combe Mill Working industrial museum with its late 19th Century Steam Beam Engine. Line Shafting , working restored Waterwheel and dual Blacksmiths Forge. in its day served the Blenheim Palace Estate.
Cogges Opening Weekend 2017
Saturday 18th – Sunday 19th March

Opening weekend offers you a taste of the very best of Cogges, from seasonal food to family activities, feeding the animals to cooking demonstration in the manor house. So wrap up warm, grab your wellies, and come to Cogges to celebrate spring: Saturday 18th March Cooking…

Whats going on around the County

Potted Histories Family Fun day!

Oxfordshire Museum Service and Bicester Local History Society have joined together to offer a family fun day at Bicester Library on Saturday 18th March 2017.

Come and try a range of activities for all the family to enjoy! From handling real museum objects; dressing up; creating fictional characters from Bicester’s past for our time capsule; or listening to entertaining short talks on the town’s past by members of Bicester Local History Society; there’s something for everyone!

The event celebrates the opening of a new pop up exhibition in Bicester Library, showcasing real artefacts from Bicester that are cared for at the Oxfordshire County Council’s Museums Service Resource Centre. Drop in on the 18th March and discover how fascinating your local history really is!

The event and exhibition are part of a project funded by Arts Council England, delivered in partnership with Oxford University Museums Partnership.
Oxfordshire Travel Choices

Roadworks
Get the latest on essential work to keep Oxfordshire moving – direct from the teams on site, and stay up to date ahead of any changes.
Major projects are taking place at

Harwell Link Road

Bicester Transport Improvements

Access to Headington

Flooding toolkit

The Flood Toolkit website brings together all the information you need to take action against the potential menace posed by flooding. In the toolkit you will find advice and guides to help you whether you are a resident, community group or business.

Live well Oxfordshire

Live Well Oxfordshire is a fantastic resource which tells you about a range of support services across Oxfordshire for adults (18+), families and carers. It has information to help you to find your own way to meet any needs for support and care and for you, or a loved one, to lead the lives that you want. Find out more

Could you join our on call firefighters team?

Are you over 18 and live or work within five minutes of our recruiting fire stations? We’re recruiting more on-call firefighters to keep our local communities safe. Challenge yourself to protect the people and places around you. Apply now and start your training in June

Local elections are on your doorstep

Are you registered to vote? There are elections in Oxfordshire on the 4th of May 2017 and if you’re not already on the electoral roll, you need to register to vote by midnight on Thursday 13 April. Luckily it’s very easy, and you can do so here.

Copyright © 2017 Oxfordshire County Council, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Oxfordshire County Council
County Hall
New Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX11ND
United Kingdom

Your Oxfordshire

We think so. Today we published our ‘One Oxfordshire’ draft proposal to abolish all six councils in Oxfordshire and replace them with ONE new council for the whole county, saving £100m in the first five years.

That would save £20m each year – enough to fix over 300,000 potholes or provide 1 million hours of home care.

We want to hear from residents about what you think of the proposal. Oxfordshire currently has six councils – one county council and five district and city councils. We believe the current system is complicated, wasteful and no longer financially sustainable. Without change, important local services could be reduced and some may be cut altogether.

We think all six councils should be abolished and be replaced by ONE new council for the whole of Oxfordshire. It would save over £100m in the first five years – money that could be used to improve local services and keep council tax down.

This is called a ‘unitary’ council. It would be simpler, offer better services, respond better to local priorities and be lower cost. This is what we mean by ONE Oxfordshire. SIMPLER

  • One website, one phone number, one contact for all your council services
  • Other public services such as the NHS and police could work better with one council rather than several
  • Joined-up planning for jobs, homes and transport is better for residents and the local economy
  • One council taking decisions in the best interests of the whole of Oxfordshire

BETTER SERVICES

  • One council is responsible for all the environmental services such as street cleaning and road maintenance in your area
  • Joining up social services, housing and benefits makes it easier to support people who need extra help
  • One council for Oxfordshire can keep vulnerable children and adults safer

MORE LOCAL

  • One local councillor representing your community who is accountable for all council services in your local area Parishes and town councils have more influence over decisions for their own communities
  • Your councillor takes local decisions as members of ‘area boards’ covering existing district/city areas

LOWER COST

  • No duplication – abolishing six councils to create one, brand new council costs less to run with fewer councillors and senior managers
  • One council saves £20m each year, which can be used to deliver better services and protect them from future cuts
  • Keeps council tax down
We want to know what Oxfordshire residents and businesses think about the draft proposal before we send it to the government for consideration.

You can read the proposal and have your say on the One Oxfordshire website or drop in to one of our library events around the county.

Read our Facebook page Follow us on Twitter Watch us on YouTube Copyright © 2017 Oxfordshire County Council, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oxfordshire County Council

County Hall
New Road

Oxford, Oxfordshire OX11ND

Who pays for social care?

Most people agree the UK needs to do better at providing social care. Some think it is just a case of increasing the money to pay for it by more than it has been increased in recent years. Others say there needs to be reform of the way public sector care is organised and provided. Underlying the debate are two major issues which need discussion.

The first is how much should the state pay and how much should the individual pay? The tripartisan approach for many years has been to say healthcare should be free, but living costs are down to the individual. If the individual has little capital or private pension income, then the state will pay the living costs as well.

Some say the state should take care of more of the living costs of more people. This would require substantial tax rises to meet the bills. It would mean that instead of selling the old person’s home when they move into residential care to pay the living cost bills, the money from the estate would be preserved and pass to the children. People ask why is it fair that someone who has saved and been careful all their active lives has to pay their own living costs, whereas someone who has lived beyond their means will be paid for?

Others say the current system is fine in this respect. If someone is well off, why shouldn’t they use their own assets and income to pay for their living costs? If someone cannot afford a reasonable standard of accommodation and food, don’t we have a duty to be good neighbours and to help pay? This is a cheaper solution for taxpayers.

The second issue is internal to government. At the moment central government pays for and runs the NHS, whilst local government pays for and runs much of the social service provision. It is true local government relies heavily on national government grants paid for out of national taxes, but local taxes have a part to play in financing social care.

Many people like the idea of devolution of power over policy and spending to Councils from Whitehall, yet when problems emerge in a local service the cry often goes up for government intervention. Quite often it is easier to blame the government for alleged underfunding, than to blame individual Councils for poor or unduly expensive provision.

The public is generally not much exercised over who runs the service. They want a good outcome. The main problem with Councils running care and the NHS running health treatments comes at the borders. An elderly person who has been treated in a hospital often needs improved care services in order to be able to return home.

Some Councils are reluctant to commit in a timely and sufficient way to the need to provide social care. The elderly person then remains in a very expensive hospital bed. This costs the state more overall. Someone no longer needing treatment occupies a bed needed for someone who does require treatment. It is often against the wishes and interests of the patient, who wants to get home.

Any thoughts on what reforms are needed?

Local & Neighbourhood Plans debate.

On Tuesday there was an important debate in the House of Commons about housebuilding and local plans.

Several MP’s made the point that local and neighbourhood plans can be outflanked by developers using the appeal system.

Where a Council has concentrated development on a few sites to maximise the development gain payments and to ensure proper infrastructure provision, the developer can go slow on the build rate. This can lead an Inspector to grant permission for more homes in a place where the local community and Council did not want to build.

The truth is that having an up to date Local Plan and supporting Neighbourhood Plans does not fully protect areas where a community does not seek more building. The best defence a Council has comes through working closely with developers that do have planning permission to try to keep the build rate at the required level.

The Minister for Housing and Planning (Gavin Barwell) promised to tackle this problem by relaxing the rule over the 5 year supply of land.

Full Hansard entry of Tuesday 13/12/2016 Neighbourhood Planning Bill debate HERE.