Council praised following major review
A comprehensive report into how West Oxfordshire District Council functions has led to praise for its successful operations across many service areas.
The Corporate Peer Challenge offers glowing praise for the authority, particularly for its strong financial position, ambitious approach to taking on major projects and the team work of both officers and politicians.
The establishment of the local authority company Publica, of which the District Council is part, was also highlighted as an “exciting” and “ground breaking” model for local government.
It added: “The Council has shown itself to be ahead of the curve in respect of the innovative approach to service delivery and organisational design through the Publica delivery vehicle.”
The Corporate Peer Challenge is run by the Local Government Association and involved a team of leaders and top executives from local authorities across the country visiting the Council’s Witney offices.
They were given access to all departments and met managers and staff.
The Council was seen as being “clearly in a strong budgetary position that would be the envy of many” and its involvement in major projects such as the Oxfordshire Cotswolds Garden Village was also praised as was its recent delivery of a Local Plan which the report says provided a “well-crafted framework” for its growth ambitions.
The report stressed the need to continue to engage staff in the transformation of operations into a new model under Publica and similarly ensure residents are fully engaged in major projects affecting their communities.
Cllr James Mills, Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “The Challenge represented a root and branch review of how we operate and I am delighted to see that we are being seen as an authority that sets out to deliver its services in the best and most efficient way possible.
“It has been an exciting period of change for the Council as we embrace and help develop the Publica model which is clearly setting an example of innovation and best practice in the local authority sector.
“There has also been some very useful feedback on how we can continue to improve the model and ensure West Oxfordshire continues to be a fantastic place in which to live and work.”
David Neudegg, Managing Partner for Publica said, “Feedback from the Peer Challenge highlights how well Publica is working for West Oxfordshire District Council and this gives us a great deal of encouragement as it is helping the Council tackle the modern day financial challenges facing all local authorities.
“We are pleased to see our model recognised by the Review group.”
The full report can be viewed on the Council's website.