For action: To receive an update on work underway to map out activity aligned to the agreed outcomes of the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision; opportunity for discussion and input.
The Partnership considered a paper updating them on the progress made to identify new opportunities for joint working and outlining next steps. Beth Wilks, Future Oxfordshire Partnership Manager, gave a detailed presentation (available here) highlighting the main areas of the report, including the general alignment between the Strategic Vision outcomes and the priorities outlined in the corporate plans of Oxfordshire’s local authorities and the Local Enterprise Partnership. Plans for future stakeholder engagement on proposed areas for joint working were also outlined.
During discussion, the Chair commented that the report – and presentation – demonstrated the positive coordinating effect that the Partnership could have on the activities of its constituent members and stakeholders. It was, therefore, crucial that the priorities and outcomes contained within the Vision were compatible with the corporate plans of the individual local authorities and OxLEP. The Chair also stressed the importance of implementing recommendation three relating to the wider socialisation of the Strategic Vision.
Councillor Emily Smith stated that it was reassuring to see that the Vision was aligned to the individual corporate plans. She also agreed with the Chair that its further socialisation was very important. It would, nevertheless, be necessary to prioritise and filter the areas in which the Partnership could and would operate so as to avoid duplicating existing activity. The identification of potential gaps in activity, deciding whether those gaps could best be addressed at a county or district level and coordinating workstreams would all be very important in helping to realise the ambitions of the Strategic Vision.
Councillor Andy Graham raised the importance of reviewing the delivery of the activities within the Vision and queried how this might be achieved. The Partnership was informed that as the Housing and Growth Deal concluded there had been an increasing focus on the nature of future activities. Undertaking this assessment had confirmed that a great deal of forward programming and review processes were already in place. It was, nevertheless, agreed that further information on the monitoring and delivery could be provided in writing to the Partnership.
Councillor Liz Leffman raised the possibility that HM Government could require Oxfordshire’s authorities to submit something broadly equating to a ‘County Deal’ at some point in the future. She, therefore, suggested that some consideration needed to be given to what these asks might be. As a consequence, the various partners – as part of the strategic process – needed to think carefully about what collectively could/should be achieved and how they could work together to deliver them. It was important that Oxfordshire was not rushed into a deal which did not reflect its Strategic Vision priorities. As part of this work, it would also be necessary to engage with a wider pool of partners (e.g. the health sector) as part of the wider shaping of place.
Councillor David Rouane commented that while it was correct that the Housing and Growth Deal was coming to end, a significant amount of it had yet to be delivered and, therefore, it was important to also remain focussed on that.
RESOLVED: That the Future Oxfordshire Partnership:
1. Note the progress made to identify opportunities for joint working aligned to the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision, which also supports delivery of individual organisation corporate plans.
2. Endorse and encourage participation in proposed engagement sessions, to support in identifying opportunities for joint working aligned to the outcomes of the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision.
3. Support wider socialisation of the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision with partners and a broader group of stakeholders, to raise awareness of the Vision, and encourage buy in and support for its delivery.