Initial findings of Oxfordshire Growth Board review

The initial findings from a review into how the Oxfordshire Growth Board operates will be presented at a public meeting on 28 January. The board recently commissioned a review to identify improvements in its operations and a report will be discussed at the board’s next formal meeting, which takes place in Didcot.

At the Board’s request, a series of engagement activities have taken place since September 2019, seeking to gauge public, stakeholder and councillor views on the Board’s work. Over 250 contributions were received across various workshops, meetings and an online survey.

The consultation showed clear support for the Board’s purpose in providing a collaborative space for council leaders and partners to discuss, coordinate and plan to help improve Oxfordshire’s future. The recent successes of the Board in securing substantial Government investment for much-needed infrastructure, coupled with the opportunities that future collaboration may bring, demonstrates a clear need to continue. However, a series of challenges were identified that suggest the Board could arrange itself more effectively to be more engaging, communicative and inclusive.

Many of the areas identified for improvement related to strengthening communication. Responses also highlighted the importance of planning for a sustainable and socially inclusive future for Oxfordshire, and how this might be better incorporated into the Board’s role. Embedding opportunities for the Board to engage with the public in planning for the future was also a key finding from the review. The initial recommendations emerging from this work seek to respond to these issues.

Cllr Sue Cooper, Chair of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation. It is really important for groups like the growth board to take an open and critical look at themselves from time to time. We’re pleased to have received feedback from a wide range of people and organisations to help us ensure we are operating in the best way. This represents a good opportunity to reset and refocus our partnership work here in Oxfordshire. Whatever direction the board takes, I hope that we can be more communicative and engaged with the local people in the work we do on behalf of Oxfordshire’s communities.”

The Growth Board will be asked at its meeting this month to reflect on the outcome of the review and consultation summary and agree if and how it wishes to take these recommendations forward. While some recommendations can be implemented in the short term, more developmental work and operational changes are expected to be needed in some areas before changes can be implemented.

The public meeting is taking place at 2pm at Dicot Civic Hall on 28 January.

You can read a summary of the review responses here.

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