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County Councillor Report Sep 21


County Councillor’s Report


Cllr Robin Bennett


Berinsfield & Garsington Division


4th September 2021


robin.bennett@oxfordshire.gov.uk    07979 646815



Engagement for the new OCC strategic plan and 2022-3 budget

As a result of the change of administration to the cross-party Oxfordshire Fair Deal Alliance, over the next month the County Council are carrying out an intensive period of various public and stakeholder engagement activities to support the development of the council’s new strategic plan to support the new administration’s policies, and  consequently the 2022/23 budget priorities. There are five strands of activity:

i) a residents’ satisfaction survey being sent to over 4,800 randomly selected households across the county -it is entirely voluntary, but we would love to hear their views

ii) discussion groups for adults;

iii) discussion groups for children and young people;

iv) stakeholder workshops; and

v) councillor engagement.


Most of the public and stakeholder engagement takes place in October, with some strands continuing into November. Consultation on the council’s budget proposals will start in early December to coincide with the publication of budget and business planning papers.


The Future Oxfordshire Partnership

The Oxfordshire Growth Board has formally changed its name to The Future Oxfordshire Partnership, something many of us have long been campaigning for – names matter – and the new name also indicates a change in priorities. Following a public review in 2020, the Partnership - a joint committee of the six councils of Oxfordshire together with key strategic partners - adopted a new purpose, which is to:

• Coordinate local efforts to manage economic, housing, and infrastructure development in a way that is inclusive and maximises local social and environmental benefits

• Support the development of local planning policy that meets the UK Government’s stated aim of net-zero carbon by 2050, and contributes towards biodiversity gain whilst embracing the changes needed for a low carbon world

• Seek to secure funding in the pursuit of these aims and oversee the delivery of related work programmes delegated to it by the Joint Committee’s constituent local authority members.


Civil parking enforcement

Following extensive preparation and commitment at County and District level, civil parking enforcement will officially commence on 1st November 2021 in South Oxfordshire, Vale of the White Horse and Cherwell districts. This means parking offences in those areas previously enforced by the police become the responsibility of Oxfordshire County Council -

these parking violations will become civil offences. In Oxfordshire, enforcement will apply for on-street parking (roads and highways).  The changes will result in increased, more consistent enforcement of waiting and loading restrictions, double parking offences and dropped kerb obstructions. There is already civil parking enforcement in Oxford City and West Oxfordshire. 


Plans to make 20mph the new 30mph in Oxfordshire 

Communities could soon find it easier to make their streets safer and more pleasant by reducing speed limits from 30mph to 20mph. Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet will decide this month whether to endorse plans to make it simpler to lower speeds to 20mph as part of its aspiration to see limits lowered on most urban areas and village streets in places where it is suitable and supported by residents. My colleagues and I believe this is an important step on the road to improving health and wellbeing, and that combined with other measures it can create healthy, dynamic community spaces. There is huge local interest and desire to deliver 20mph within the county and the proposed policy and approach should make it easier and more cost effective to implement than the current elaborate and costly process.


Start saving, breathing better and moving more this ‘Stoptober’

People from Oxfordshire who smoke are being encouraged to give Stoptober a go and start breathing better, moving more and saving money. In the past 10 years, our free local stop smoking service has helped over 26,000 people make the change. The service gives people top tips on how to manage cravings and tricks to stay smokefree. Around one in 10 adults in Oxfordshire smoke. It is estimated that giving up a 10-a-day habit could save on average £36 a week, or £1,800 a year. For those ready to quit, there are known techniques that will increase the chances of stopping for good. Residents can find out more by contacting the local stop smoking service Stop for Life Oxon online or by texting STOPOXFORD to 60777. More information about how to quit smoking is also available on the NHS website.







Covid-19 Vaccinations for younger people

Twelve to 15 year olds are now being offered one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Healthy school-aged children aged 12 - 15 will primarily receive their COVID-19 vaccination in their school, with alternative provision for those who are home schooled, in secure services or specialist mental health settings. Parental, guardian or carer consent will be sought by vaccination healthcare staff prior to vaccination in line with existing school vaccination programmes. A government leaflet is available, which explains the vaccination programme for children and young people.


Sixteen to 17 year olds in England are being offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to give them protection now they are back at school and college. Some young people in this age group who are registered with a GP practice in Oxfordshire are being contacted via text, phone, or letter to invite them to get their first jab at a local GP-led vaccination site (LVS). Not all LVSs are offering the vaccine to 16 - 17 year olds. However, anyone aged 16 or over can ‘grab a jab’ at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, without an appointment. Information is available on the NHS Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s website.


More than 100,000 primary and secondary school children in Oxfordshire will also be offered the opportunity to be immunised against influenza this autumn, with an expanded health protection campaign.


If you are aged 18 or over, you can book a vaccination on the national booking service (people do not need to wait to be invited). The timing for the second dose is eight weeks for all. The latest vaccination figures are updated daily at the NHS England website.


People wishing to rebook their second appointment are able to check availability first on the national booking service before cancelling and rescheduling their existing second dose appointment. 


You can book a vaccination on the national booking service (you do not need to wait to be invited) if any of the following apply:

  • you’re aged 18 or over
  • you’re at high risk from COVID-19 (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • you have a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
  • you have a learning disability
  • you’re a frontline health or social care worker
  • you’re a main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19. 


Symptom-free testing

There are a range of options to access twice-weekly lateral flow tests. These include: ordering a home test kit online; collecting home test kits from pharmacies; or collecting a home test kit from one of the county council’s libraries.


Symptomatic testing 

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate and book a PCR test as soon as possible. More information is available on the county council’s symptom testing pages.

A reminder of the county’s symptomatic test sites:

  • Oxford Parkway (OX2 8HA)
  • Osney Lane, Oxford (OX1 1NY)
  • Woodford Way car park, Witney (OX28 6JS)
  • Oxford Brookes University (OX3 0BP).