Future Oxfordshire Partnership response to recommendations of the Partnership Scrutiny Panel made on

7 June 2022


The Future Oxfordshire Partnership is requested to provide a response to the recommendations of the Scrutiny Panel for decision at its meeting on 13 June 2022.




Consideration of Oxfordshire Plan 2050 consultation responses


The Panel in acknowledging the requirements to follow appropriate legislation and guidance (including the NPPF), in the analysis of consultation responses, was concerned that the analysis of Oxfordshire Plan 2050 responses fully take account of both quantitative and qualitative factors and that the contributions of community groups, individuals or developers and others all be considered equally on their merits. Moreover, that the Partnership is made aware of the risk of ‘regulatory capture’ in the consultation process.


1.    That the Future Oxfordshire Partnership in its presentation of consultation responses include both qualitative and quantitative data as ‘not everything that matters can be measured’. This includes:

a.    The total number of responses to a particular question.


b.    The number of members an organization represents.




c.    Verbatim quotes extracted from consultation feedback received.


d.    A summary of the analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data.








e.    Acknowledgement in the analysis that there may be variations of opinion within groups, and that points made by small numbers of respondents are not of lower value.




2.    That in order to make Oxfordshire Plan 2050 formal consultation documents more accessible to the general public, the Future Oxfordshire Partnership also ensure the provision of documents in formats which are abridged and/or expressed in as much non-technical terms as possible.


3.    That in order to reach as wide a cross section of society, the Future Oxfordshire Partnership also ensure the availability of non online mechanism for the public to engage with and respond to future Oxfordshire Plan 2050 consultations.





Whilst not a decision of the Future Oxfordshire Partnership (FOP), we nonetheless welcome the intention of the Oxfordshire LPAs to carry out a Regulation 18 (Part 3) consultation for the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 (the Plan).


The analysis of the responses- whether they be quantitative or qualitative- to the consultation will be comprehensive. All comments received will be logged, analysed, considered carefully, and carry equal weight regardless of their origin. This ensures that all opinions are given equal weight in the consultation. A summary of the consultation responses will also be published, so interested parties can have sight of the full range of views received.




In response to the points raised:





a)   Consideration will be given to providing detail on the total number of responses received under each policy or theme of the Plan in the consultation report.


b)  In the consultation report, an explanation of different types of consultees will be provided together with a brief description e.g., government bodies, community groups (and explain they made up of members and representative of etc). We will also set out in the consultation report how community groups have responded to the consultation.


c)   The selective use of verbatim quotes is not perceived as best practice or proper because it can suggest perceived bias.


d)   The analysis of the consultation responses must be both legally compliant and proportionate. The consultation report will include pie charts and tables summarising the number of responses by age, respondent type, geographic spread and degree of support or objection to the emerging policy approaches set out in the Regulation 18 (Part 3) version of the Plan. However, it will not provide any other detailed breakdown of the consultation results, as this goes beyond what is required and does not in our view add value. Instead, we believe it better to provide clear explanations as to how representations have shaped the Plan.  



e) We do not agree that because a point or comment is made by a small number of respondents, that it is necessarily of lesser value than wider made points. The value of the comment is intrinsic to the point made, not the number of people making it.  Nevertheless, by carefully noting and analysing all responses equally and then showing how such responses shape our thinking it will be clear how we have responded to the various views offered by respondents




We recognise that both the number and range of responses we receive to the Oxfordshire Plan Regulation 18 (Part 3) consultation will be crucial to its success and we are committed to ensuring its accessibility to all sections of our community.


So, whilst we believe that the on-line platform for consultation that worked well for the Regulation 18 (Part 1 and 2) consultations was a successful tool for ensuring that accessibility, we will also be considering how we can offer other consultation routes that complement and maximise this accessibility. We also recognise that the use of non-technical language, minimising the use of acronyms etc. will be a part of this ambition and will for example be ensuring that both the Plan and the supporting evidence base technical documents that support it will include non-technical summaries at the beginning explaining what they cover.









Review of Homes from Infrastructure (HfI) Programme


The Panel whilst acknowledging the need to review the HfI Programme within the limited confines of the terms of the Housing and Growth Deal, was extremely concerned with the proposals to remove funding from the creation of segregated cycling infrastructure on the Woodstock Road Corridor and Banbury Road Schemes. This is on the basis that reallocation of funding away from these schemes is to those schemes that are focused on improving road infrastructure for cars contrary to the County Council’s strategic priorities to address the climate emergency and promote active travel. The panel felt that reallocating the funding away from these schemes will negatively impact the councils’ reputation as a delivery partner for future transportation infrastructure funding in the context of climate change. It was noted that the Woodstock Road cycling infrastructure is essential to nearby proposed major developments in Oxford North.  


4.    That the Future Oxfordshire Partnership be strongly requested not to endorse the proposal to the Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet for the removal of further funding from two schemes currently within the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal Homes from Infrastructure programme – Woodstock Road Corridor and Banbury Road Corridor.


5.    That the Future Oxfordshire Partnership be requested not to endorse the proposal to Oxfordshire County Council for the re-allocation of the remaining funding from Woodstock Road Corridor and Banbury Road Corridor across a number of car-orientated infrastructure schemes in the Housing from Infrastructure programme which are projecting cost pressures.


6.    That the Future Oxfordshire Partnership acknowledge that BSIP funding does not change the urgent demand and need for segregated cycling infrastructure on the Woodstock and Banbury road corridors.


7.    That if the proposed changes are regrettably agreed by Oxfordshire County Council, the Future Oxfordshire Partnership support accelerated efforts to identify and secure alternative funding for the Woodstock Road Corridor and Banbury Road Corridor schemes.


8.    That if the proposed changes are regrettably agreed by Oxfordshire County Council, the Future Oxfordshire Partnership urgently support the provision of temporary segregated cycle lanes on the Woodstock Road e.g., through an e-Traffic Regulation Orders.


9.    That the Future Oxfordshire Partnership lobby HM Government to increase funding for the Homes from Infrastructure Programme given the unprecedented impact of inflationary cost pressures on all capital projects.






FOP do not agree that the difficult decision to remove the Housing and Growth Deal (the Deal) funding from the active travel schemes at Woodstock and Banbury Road should be seen as the councils moving away from their commitments to active and/or low carbon travel or addressing the climate change emergency. As was made clear at the last FOP meeting in June, active travel options stay at the core of our thinking for the future travel in and around Oxford and will be embedded in the developing Central Oxfordshire Transport Strategy that will set out a holistic plan for travel in the centre of the county.


The decisions to reallocate the Deal funding from these schemes instead reflects the constrained criteria for scheme funding that the Housing and Growth Deal requires, and that Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) have to consider when making such decisions, these being accelerated housing and scheme deliverability within the relatively short time window that the Deal applies. Sadly, when examined against these criteria the schemes could not demonstrate a continued case for funding.


Nevertheless, the schemes remain central to our thinking for travel into and around Oxford and OCC and partners will continue to seek alternative funding arrangements to bring them forward.






FOP endorsed the recommended changes to the Homes from Infrastructure programme at its June 2022 meeting.










FOP do not agree that the difficult decisions to reallocate Deal funds to alternative projects are to car-oriented schemes. As highlighted earlier the criteria for funding from the Deal is accelerating already planned housing to address the housing crisis, together with deliverability within the agreed Deal period. These are the only criteria alongside value for money that govern reallocation decisions. It should be noted however that, of the schemes recommended to receive additional Deal funding, the Banbury Tramway Improvements, NOC Cassington and NOC Kidlington schemes are all active travel and modal shifting supporting schemes.




FOP supports the need for safe cycling provision in the Woodstock Road and Banbury Road corridors. 






FOP will of course continue to support all efforts to secure necessary investment in Oxfordshire’s infrastructure









OCC, as the transport and infrastructure authority alongside Oxford Council and other partners  will consider this as part of the developing Central Oxfordshire Travel Strategy








Unfortunately, it has been confirmed by government that no additional funding is available for this programme.

Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership Update


The Panel strongly welcomed the establishment of the OIEP and proposed Inclusive Economy Charter, but asked that in the finalisation of the draft Charter, the following matters be considered for inclusion by the Future Oxfordshire Partnership:


10. The need to ensure due emphasis within the opening statement of the Charter relate to inequalities within the whole county of Oxfordshire and not only within the city of Oxford.


11. The importance of the development of technical skills through apprenticeships, including in manufacturing and engineering.


12. Recognition within the text of the Charter of the contribution of all employer types to addressing inequality, including a specific mention of:


a.    the positive contribution of social enterprise and co-operative employers.

b.    Women and minority owned businesses.   











The Future Oxfordshire Partnership notes and supports the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership’s decision to incorporate Countywide examples of inequalities as well as City examples in the opening statement of the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership Charter.



The Future Oxfordshire Partnership notes and supports the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership’s decision to refer this recommendation to its Employers and Educational Attainment Working Groups for their consideration in proposal development and also as potential examples of the Pledges as part of the Charter.


The Future Oxfordshire Partnership notes that the Charter recognises the contribution of all employer types and the work of the Social Value and Procurement Working Group and its activity, pledge examples make direct links to community wealth building, cooperative models and social value/enterprise.


The Charter also recognises barriers to inclusion for all groups and does not seek to highlight some protected characteristics over others in order not to seem exclusive, however the emphasis on support to women entrepreneurs and minority owned businesses is referred to the working group leads of the Inclusive Employers Working Group and subgroups for consideration in proposal development and also as potential examples of the Pledges as part of the Charter.