Our approach to working together | Oxfordshire County Council

Our approach to working together

A new way of delivering public services with town and parish councils.

Oxfordshire countryside

To enable our proposal to achieve the desired economies of scale, it would be preferential for town and parish councils (or clusters of councils) to undertake delivery of services at a local level.

Glossary of terms


A group of town and/or parish councils that come together to share the provision of services within scope of this document.

Cluster lead

A group within a cluster that delivers the provision of services for the surrounding town and parish councils.

Service lead

A group that delivers the service for surrounding areas or an individual town or parish council.

Cluster model

The clustering of parishes and towns enables a more cost effective approach for the following reasons:

  • It is the best way for us to effectively coordinate the arrangements;
  • Clusters enable towns and parishes to share resources;
  • Clusters can enable larger town councils/parishes to deliver services to smaller parishes who do not have the resources to manage service delivery;
  • Clusters empower parishes to identify the most suitable form of service delivery for their local area;
  • Clusters enable sharing of effort; one parish may lead on some service provision while another may lead on others;
  • Clusters will ensure that smaller parishes still benefit from these arrangements;
  • Cluster models could fit very well with the introduction of local social enterprise schemes.

We are not seeking to determine how clusters of town and parish councils can deliver services. We would like to see town and parish councils form clusters which will decide the best form of service delivery for that area.

The individual model

We are happy to consult with individual town or parish councils that would like to deliver services for their area only. These requests will need to be considered on an individual basis depending on the viability and sustainability of the model.

Example delivery models

Clusters could choose from options including:

  • a larger town council delivering services within the town and in neighbouring parishes using their own employees
  • a parish council delivering services through a community interest company which is training and employing local people for this purpose
  • a parish council commissioning commercial subcontractors.

Use of volunteers

Another way to deliver some of the proposed services is through volunteers. This could be done on an individual basis if one person had a key interest in providing a particular service or it could be undertaken by a group of volunteers overseen by a central co-ordinator. Training may be required to enable the individual/s to perform some tasks in a safe manner.

Alternative delivery methods

Alternative delivery methods such as local social enterprise schemes or local community schemes that potentially support adults with learning disabilities, unemployed local residents or persons with disabilities are encouraged by the county council. This would enable local residents to learn new skills through a training programme to assist with the delivery of services such as urban grass cutting or sign /small street furniture cleaning. There is funding available from both national and local organisations to assist with set up and on-going costs. We will assist where we can to help parish and town councils set up such schemes that will benefit the area that the services are being delivered in.

Last reviewed
12 July 2017
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