To:                              Future Oxfordshire Partnership

Title of Report:        Updates to Terms of Reference and Memorandum of                                             Understanding

Date:                          13 June 2023

Report of:                 Andrew Down, Director

Status:                       Open

Executive Summary and Purpose:
 Recent changes to the programmes within the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal require some adjustments to the working of the Future Oxfordshire Partnership, and this report proposes corresponding amendments to the Terms of Reference.
 How this report contributes to the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision Outcomes:
 The proposed changes to governance documents will result in the Strategic Vision being explicitly mentioned in the Terms of Reference for the Future Oxfordshire Partnership. Future work programmes will be expected to contribute to the delivery of the outcomes in the Strategic Vision.
 Recommendations: That the Future Oxfordshire Partnership endorse its revised Terms of Reference and Memorandum of Understanding. These will take effect following approval by each local authority Cabinet.
 Appendix 1: Revised FOP Terms of Reference
 Appendix 2: Revised FOP Memorandum of Understanding



1.     The Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal is entering its final phases, and the governance documents for the Future Oxfordshire Partnership now need to be updated to reflect the current position. 


2.     The Terms of Reference were originally drafted in 2014 at the formation of what was then known as the Oxfordshire Growth Board, and were last subject to substantive change in 2020 following a review.  Since then there have been minor drafting changes reflecting the change of name to the Future Oxfordshire Partnership.


3.     The Memorandum of Understanding was introduced in 2018 as a requirement of the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal, and sets out operational aspects of decision making and responsibilities in relation to the deal.  As with the Terms of Reference, the last substantive change was made in 2020 and subsequent updates have replaced references to the Growth Board with the Future Oxfordshire Partnership.


4.     Three particular areas of change have arisen which are described in the following paragraphs.

Cessation of Oxfordshire Plan 2050

5.     Following the decision in August 2022 to cease work on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050, it is proposed to remove references to that work programme from the Terms of Reference.

Homes from Infrastructure Programme

6.     The final tranche of funding for the Homes from Infrastructure Programme, the last remaining major element of the Housing and Growth Deal, is subject to a number of governance and reporting requirements which were set out in a letter dated 5 December 2022 from the then Housing Minister. 


7.     These requirements and their implications were described in detail in a report presented to the 20 March 2023 meeting by the Director of Finance, Oxfordshire County Council, and are not repeated here.  Oxfordshire County Council has subsequently written to DLUHC and Homes England confirming acceptance of the final funding and agreement to the associated governance and reporting requirements.


8.     The changes which are proposed to the Terms of Reference are intended to reflect the new requirements from government which have now been agreed. 


9.     Corresponding changes are proposed to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which sets out responsibility for decision making on matters of funding and work programmes.  Although it is now a requirement that Oxfordshire County Council should be held accountable for delivery of the remaining programme, the MoU sets out some commitments to positive partnership behaviour and in particular to consultation with partners over any proposed changes to the programme of infrastructure delivery.

Adoption of the Strategic Vision

10.  Finally, an overhaul of the Terms of Reference provides an opportunity to include reference to Oxfordshire’s Strategic Vision for Long-Term Sustainable Development which was endorsed by the Future Oxfordshire Partnership at its meeting of 22 March 2021, and subsequently by each individual council.


11.  It was agreed that the Strategic Vision should be a basis for informing partners’ future work planning and strategy.  It is therefore appropriate to make reference to this document in the Terms of Reference for the partnership, without seeking to repeat details which are contained in the vision document itself.

Financial Implications

12.  There are no financial implications arising directly from the proposed amendments to the Terms of Reference.

Legal Implications

13.  There are no legal implications arising directly from the proposed amendments to the Terms of Reference.  At its March 2023 meeting the members of the Future Oxfordshire Partnership agreed to accept the final instalment of Housing and Growth Deal funding, and these amendments are required to capture the new governance and reporting obligations.

Other Implications

14.  The Future Oxfordshire Partnership’s Terms of Reference and Memorandum of Understanding are matters reserved for decision by each local authority’s Cabinet / Executive. 


15.  If endorsed by the Future Oxfordshire Partnership, indicative dates for these governance updates to be considered by individual partners’ cabinets are as follows:



Cabinet date

Cherwell District Council

3 July 2023

Oxford City Council

12 July 2023

Oxfordshire County Council

18 July 2023

South Oxfordshire District Council

22 June 2023

Vale of White Horse District Council

23 June 2023

West Oxfordshire District Council

12 July 2023



16.  The revised governance documents are required to set out how the councils will meet the requirements set out in DLUHC’s letter dated 5 December 2022, securing the final £30 million of funding for infrastructure to support the accelerated delivery of new homes. 


17.  Members are asked to endorse the changes and to recommend them for approval in each of the partner authorities.




Report Author: Andrew Down, Director, Future Oxfordshire Partnership
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