Our overall approach - Empowering communities | Oxfordshire County Council

Our overall approach - Empowering communities

Our proposal to change the way we deliver services by working with communities.

pins in map

Reductions in funding for local government coupled with rising demand for services mean that we have to change the way we deliver public services, with a shift towards enabling people and communities to take ownership of local priorities. We will continue to provide community leadership and foster partnership working, whilst recognising that the days when the council could deliver all services to all people have gone.

One size does not fit all

In order to achieve our vision for a thriving Oxfordshire we want to work with communities to enable them to take on delivery of some local open access services. Our approach recognises that one size does not fit all, so the focus is on talking to town and parish councils, community groups and voluntary organisations at an early stage to shape the new ways of delivery.

In September 2015 we launched the initial conversation with communities under the Oxfordshire Together programme. We were keen to hear first-hand from communities how this new approach might work for their local area and how the council might support them during the transition of open access services. Since then many communities have come forward to express an interest in delivering community solutions and we continue to work closely with any community group or parish council keen to take more ownership of their local community.

The Oxfordshire Together programme builds on our recent work to reduce some of our non-essential service delivery down to a minimum service level standard. There has been an increasing demand and willingness by local communities to enhance these open access services by getting involved themselves, finding alternative sources of funding or methods of delivery and on occasions taking the service delivery on more directly.

The Local Government Act 1972 – section 136 allows principal local authorities to pay grants to local councils in respect of concurrent functions, while Section 101 allows one local authority to arrange for its functions to be discharged by another. This is being further supported by section 20 of the Local Government Act 2000, which permits the joint exercise of functions.

Benefits for communities

This is an opportunity for communities to redesign the way public services are planned and delivered, find radical new solutions to not only deliver better value for money, but also better local services more tailored to local needs.

Delivering more locally has many benefits for communities, including:

  • Improved quality of service
    Communities are likely to ‘go the extra mile’ to deliver a high quality of service.
  • Increased service provision according to local priorities
    Enhancing the current service provision through reduced costs.
  • A more responsive service
    Local service delivery has the ability to respond more quickly to problems and resolve complaints.
  • Increased satisfaction
    Improved quality and responsiveness will mean communities are more satisfied with the service they receive.
  • Generation of local employment opportunities
    This area has the potential to help create local employment for local residents, particularly for those who may have been out of employment for a while or for adults with learning disabilities.  Funding may be available at a national level to help create local employment/enterprise schemes.
  • Increased pride in the local area
    Communities will feel that they have greater control over local delivery and will more likely to become involved in service delivery.
  • More local decision making
    Communities will have more control over how the local budget is allocated.
  • Opportunity to trade services
    Where open access services are delivered locally they could be offered out to local groups/businesses to generate additional income.
  • Ownership of the local environment
    Service provision can be tailored to take into account environmental needs. 

Read more about how we propose to work together with our communities (pdf format, 528Kb).

Last reviewed
09 August 2017
PrintPrint Give us feedback on this pageFeedback form, opens in new window.
Access key details Skip to main content Home News Sitemap Search Website help Complaints Terms and conditions Website feedback