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News and information for county council stakeholders
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January 2018

Welcome to our latest newsletter


We hope you enjoyed reading last month's edition of `Oxfordshire Matters`, the county council's newsletter for our stakeholders.

In this edition:
  • Dealing with Carillion's collapse
  • Council meeting to be asked to approve 5.99% council tax rise
  • New funding boosts support for asylum-seeking children
  • Residents asked to talk rubbish as new waste strategy drawn up
  • Options unveiled to improve getting around Oxford
  • Major transport projects latest
Cllr Lorraine Lindsay-Gale with David Heycock from the Fire and Rescue Service, with packed lunches on standby for transporting to schools following Carillion's collapse

Dealing with Carillion's collapse


News of Carillion's collapse on 15 January drew a rapid response from the county council, fearful that school children receiving school meals supplied through the company may potentially go hungry.

Firefighters were placed on standby to deliver bought in packed lunches to send to schools if required.

In the event they were not needed and were duly donated to two charities for onward distribution to vulnerable clients.

The county council had been one of the largest local authority clients of Carillion until unrelated changes in the council's property and estate requirements led to the early termination of contracts in July 2017; for maintenance of council buildings, property services, and building work such as school extensions. The council had signed a 10-year deal in 2012.

This effectively left facilities management contracts, including catering and cleaning in schools and cleaning in council buildings. These were due to end on 31 March 2018 and all remaining arrangements at the end of this June.

However, this week that has all been brought forward, to complete termination as from 1 February 2018, with all catering and cleaning staff employed through the council's contract with Carillion to transfer to county council employment from that date.

For more information on the council's response please see here, our update including FAQs, and the announcement terminating the contract on 1 February.

Council meeting asked to approve 5.99% council tax rise

Councillors will vote on a proposal to raise the council tax for 2018/19 by 5.99% when the county council sets its budget on 13 February. This follows the Government’s announcement in December allowing councils to raise council tax by an additional 1% and would be used to fund more support for children at risk of abuse and neglect. The increase would be set just below 6%, at which point the government requires councils to hold a referendum. More details here

New funding boosts support for asylum-seeking children

Extra funding to support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASCs) living in Oxfordshire has been received by the county council.

A Government grant worth £335,000 has been awarded to help strengthen the support services available to UASCs over the next two years. It is part of a wider national funding announcement of £29million.

The council has the same responsibilities for looking after UASCs arriving in the county as it does for all other children and young people in care. Young asylum-seekers are among the most vulnerable groups in society – often with no connections or family in the UK, little spoken English and having made long and traumatic journeys.

The new money is not for covering the cost of care placements themselves, but for additional support to help UASCs adjust to living in the county, and integrate with local communities.

This includes:
  • Training for professionals across services working with children, to improve understanding of the needs of UASCs and the support professionals are able to provide
  • Working with school and college staff to help UASCs make a successful transition into education. This will include supporting schools and colleges to work together to share knowledge and expertise.
  • Improving access to counselling and therapy for UASCs, as well as positive leisure activities to help them meet new people and improve their language skills
The council currently looks after 52 UASCs. These young people have predominantly travelled from Afghanistan, Albania and Eritrea.
Rubbish that can't be recycled being processed at Ardley energy recovery facility rather than being sent to landfill

Residents asked to talk rubbish as new waste strategy drawn up


New ideas are being sought for how the county’s waste is managed. Residents are literally being asked to talk rubbish and recycling, and tell councils how they can help people recycle more and create less waste. The consultation ends on 18 February.

Recycling rates in Oxfordshire are among the highest in the country but have started to drop. Around 60% of Oxfordshire’s waste that goes into non-recyclable waste bins could be recycled.
 
Residents can help develop Oxfordshire’s Waste Strategy by completing the online survey at:
https://consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk/consult.ti/wastestrategy2018/consultationHome

Options unveiled to improve getting around Oxford


Changes could be made to the way vehicles and transport move around Oxford to decrease congestion and enhance the spaces between the city’s famed historic buildings, referred to as public realm.
 
A Movement and Public Realm Strategy is being produced for the county council and Oxford City Council with help from transport consultants Phil Jones Associates. It will inform both Oxford’s Local Plan to 2036 and update the current Oxford Transport Strategy.
You can read more here and if interested comment on the options at oxfordstudy@philjonesassociates.co.uk  

Oxfordshire County Council consultations


The county council believes it is important to consult its stakeholder groups and residents when planning, managing and delivering its services.

To view all of Oxfordshire County Council’s current consultations, the results of consultations that have closed; consultations by the city and district councils, the clinical commissioning group and central government please visit: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/public-site/consultation

Major transport projects latest


Harwell Link Road construction continues to progress well and is currently two months ahead and is forecast to open in early February subject to electrical connections. 

Access to Headington Phase 3. The programme is being staggered to manage the traffic impact on the highway network with works are also being coordinated with third-parties to minimise the impacts on road users. This will include weekend working and phasing works outside the John Radcliffe Hospital during half-term.

Connections to Oxford Station will start final phase of works in January and be completed at the end of March.

Science Vale Cycle Network improvements have completed the vegetation clearance with positive responses received (as pictured above). Lighting improvements to Milton Road will commence February/March.

Further updates on all road schemes can be found at www.roadworks.org including progress, road closures, diversions and expected completion dates. Just type in the location you are interested in. You can also set up email alerts.
 
Furthermore, you can sign up for news on major projects currently in construction and travel choices available from here.
Thank you for reading. New readers can register here to receive this monthly newsletter.

If you have any comments or suggestions on how we can improve it, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at stakeholders@oxfordshire.gov.uk
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