Corporate Plan 2016-20 - Annual update 2019-20

This document provides an update on what was delivered against each of the areas of focus for 2019-20 identified in the previous Corporate Plan Annual Update 2018-19. It also includes projected outturn against the success measures set for 2019-20.


CORPORATE PRIORITY: A Vibrant and Sustainable Economy

Areas of Focus 2019–2020


Continue the successful delivery of Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal investment to provide affordable homes and transport improvements for residents.

Continued to work with the other Oxfordshire authorities to deliver the different stands of the Deal including affordable housing, infrastructure to support new homes and the new Oxfordshire 2050 Plan. This year we have also strengthened collaborative working across the Oxford to Cambridge Arc with aim of securing a pipeline of future investment to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Oxfordshire.

Continue initiatives with the aim of encouraging further take up of the Oxford Living Wage.

In one year, we have attracted 27 self-certified Oxford Living Wage employers, most notably the University of Oxford and Oxford Bus Company alongside a range of employers from the science and technology, business, education and charitable sectors. We have agreed new branding for Oxford Living Wage and held three engagement events to promote the OLW to local employers and run a successful in Living Wage Week and throughout the year.

Publish a refreshed Oxford Economic Growth Strategy that will set out a range of economic initiatives and interventions to safeguard the continued economic success of the city as well as ensuring this is delivered in an inclusive and sustainable manner.

Initiated a new Oxford Economic Strategy in September 2019, appointing a consultant team led by Hatch Regeneris. We have completed the draft Evidence Base and initial consultation, conducted two of four Economic Growth Steering Board meetings focused on the new strategy. It had been anticipated that a final version of the strategy would be available in late summer 2020. However, with the need for the strategy to now address post-COVID economic recovery, the original timeline is under review.

Publish the Oxford Local Plan 2036. The Planning Inspectorate will examine the plan in 2019 with a view to adoption in early 2020.

The Local Plan 2036 was published and is currently being examined by the Planning Inspectorate. A main modifications consultation was undertaken in Feb/March 2020 and adoption is anticipated in Summer 2020.

Progress Oxford Station redevelopment plans, working closely with Network Rail and partners. This will involve station works, bridge works, additional tracks, as well as the wider commercial development and transport interchange proposals.

Oxford City Council is working closely with the Department for Transport, Network Rail, Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) and a range of local partners to progress these plans. Officers have secured £10m match funding from OxLEP towards the expected £150m required to deliver the Oxford Station Phase 2 (west side track, entrance and replacement of Botley Bridge). An outline business case has been prepared to support Network Rail’s final business case to DfT. The Oxfordshire Rail Corridor Study has demonstrated a need to take forward feasibility work and business case development for the east side of Oxford Station (Phase 3) which would enable county and nationwide rail enhancements including Cowley Branch Line and a new station at Oxford (post 2025). A stage 1 development Study for Cowley Branch Line has been delivered and allows the scheme to progress to more detailed design and business case work (delivery post 2025). We have also positioned Oxford Station as a key project in the Oxfordshire Industrial Strategy.

Develop Blackbird Leys masterplan in consultation with local people for new shops and affordable homes.

A series of consultation events have been held on plans for Blackbird Leys regeneration, including 275 new homes a new community centre and retail facilities and new and improved public space.

Develop a Vision for Oxford’s City Centre to guide the Council’s policies and support our ambition that it is a world class, attractive and vibrant centre for culture, retail, commerce, learning and leisure.

The City Centre Vision and Action Plan project commenced in September 2019 with the appointment of a consultant team led by Hatch Regeneris. We have completed the draft Evidence Base and initial consultation, conducted two of four City Centre Task Force meetings focused on the new vision. However, work has now been widened to address post-COVID restart and recovery in the city centre, and anticipate having a final version in late summer 2020.

Take forward our capital investment programme to develop, for example, Seacourt Park & Ride and East Oxford Community Centre.

Seacourt Park & Ride extension is currently under construction, with the work is being delivered in partnership with Oxford Direct Services. The East Oxford Community Centre redevelopment plans have progressed following public consultation in 2019 which showed that the community wanted a fully redeveloped centre. However, it is currently paused along with many other capital investment projects, as the Council has prioritised its COVID response.

Work with traders in the Covered Market to increase footfall and awareness so it continues to be a sustainable and vibrant place to trade.

Oxford City Council has taken over marketing and social media the Covered Market to boost traders’ profile. Plans to invigorate the central area and extend opening hours with a bar and events are progressing well. Timelines will be reviewed as required in the post-COVID situation.

The Council’s digital technology partnership Smart Oxford will provide co-working space with support and mentors for ten to twenty digital technology start-ups to deliver apps and solutions to support health and wellbeing.

Working with 30+ start-ups and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in the Smart Oxford programme, providing support and mentoring, and collaborating with OSEP’s eScalate Social Enterprise Hub network for any co-working space that they may need.





Success Measures


2019/2020 Targets


2019/2020 outcomes

Amount of employment space

permitted for development


15,000 sqm


6,231 sqm. This reflects a reduced pipeline of employment creating applications in year 3 and 4 of the Corporate Plan. Also, notable loss of employment space to other uses.

Number of jobs created or safeguarded in the city as a result of the Council’s investment and leadership




830, less immediate inward investment and job creation interest, possibly related to Brexit and slowing of economic growth.

Net annual increase in the number of businesses operating in the city




100, this figure is from the ONS and represents business growth across the city.



CORPORATE PRIORITY: Meeting Housing Needs


Areas of Focus 2019–2020


Work through OCHL and with Registered Providers to increase the delivery of affordable housing, including social rented homes, through Growth Deal funding, with work starting on over 600 units by March 2021.

A Strategic 10 Year Business Plan 2020-29 has been approved by Oxford City Housing Ltd (OCHL) shareholders, to deliver 1,891 mixed tenure homes (of which 768 social rent) in Oxford and the wider Growth area (though this is being reviewed against the post-COVID situation.) Discussions have also been initiated with Registered Providers and neighbouring District Councils over developing partnerships with OCHL to accelerate housing delivery.

Continue joint venture working with Grosvenor Developments Ltd to bring forward up to 885 new homes at Barton Park together with a new primary school and sports facilities.

The Barton Park development has progressed and delivered 68 affordable homes in total since handover of units started in January 2019. Construction of Barton Park Primary School is ongoing, and it will open in September 2020.


Complete the development of a 37-bedroom supported housing scheme in Cowley.

Matilda House, which provides 22 units of supported accommodation for people with complex needs and 15 units of Move On accommodation, opened in September 2019.

Continue our Trailblazer programme by securing additional appropriate accommodation and early intervention support for households who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The Oxfordshire Homelessness Prevention Trailblazer Programme ended in October 2019. Successful aspects of the programme have continued, with the ethos and learning approach developed now applied across the Council’s Housing Needs service. Aspire has raised funding to continue the community navigator service for a further three years; the embedded workers in Health have been funded until the end of March 2020 initially; a housing worker from the Council’s Options team is embedded at HMP Bullingdon; and the Homelessness Prevention Champions Network will continue to run as a legacy of the programme and supported by the District Councils.

Increase homelessness budget by £200,000 to £1.7 million a year for services for homeless people, and make leisure services available for free to homeless pathway clients.

A total of £1,744,197 was allocated for the delivery of services and support for rough sleepers and single homeless people in 2019/20. A scheme for homeless pathway clients to apply for free leisure services was in operation before the COVID lockdown.

Provide further support to achieve our aim that no one needs to sleep rough on our streets, including more winter provision and continuing our active role in the citywide partnership to tackle rough sleeping.

Oxford City Council has been successful in securing approximately £2M for 2018/19 and 2019/20 in funding from the government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI) and Rapid Rehousing Pathway (RRP) schemes to develop and expand services in the City, including a multi-agency service hub, additional capacity for the City’s outreach team and 41 units of accommodation, Navigator Posts to support long term rough sleepers and a new Engagement and Assessment Centre at Floyds Row. The annual intelligent-based estimate carried out in November, saw a 34% reduction in the number of rough sleepers in Oxford compared to last year. The Council is working closely with the County, Districts and the appointed countywide rough sleeping lead to develop a countywide strategy to prevention and tackling rough sleeping.

Continue enforcement against rogue landlords, utilising new legal powers to improve the management of the private rented sector and to protect and improve tenants’ lives.

15 Financial penalties were served totalling £98,389 using the new powers. In addition 448 statutory notices were served on landlords as part of the enforcement action taken to secure improvements to the private rented sector.

Renew the Private Sector Housing Policy to reflect the impact of the Additional Licensing Scheme for HMOs, and consider whether further property licensing would provide the step change in standards that is needed to

improve tenants’ lives.

Work is underway to engage with a wide range of stakeholders on a new draft Private Sector Housing Policy including consideration of potential impacts of increasing standards on cost of rent. 

Implement Premium Council Tax of 100 per cent additional tax for properties that have been empty for more than two years with effect from 1 April 2019 to encourage more empty properties back into use.

This was implemented on 1 April 2019. The government has also introduced an amendment to councils’ powers, which means that from April 2021 we will introduce a charge of 200% council tax for properties empty between 5-10 years, and 300% for properties empty over 10 years.




Success Measures


2019/2020 Targets


2019/2020 outcomes

Number of new homes granted permission


1,028 from 1st April 2019 to 4th March 2020 (NB: This includes permissions in principle for residential schemes which have been approved by planning committee subject to the completion of a legal agreement)


The percentage of HMOs licensed in the city



Limit the use of temporary accommodation to 2015 levels or less





CORPORATE PRIORITY: Strong and Active Communities


Areas of Focus 2019–2020


Open a new £4.9 million Sports Park on Horspath Road to feature floodlit 3G football pitches, grass football pitches, cricket and softball pitches, practice areas, a pavilion and changing rooms.

The sports park was successfully opened in 2019 and the lease for the management of the site has been assigned to Oxford United FC. We have been holding regular governance meetings with OUFC every two months to review how well the site is being used by the community and to continue to drive forward participation.

Help shape and support the launch and delivery of GoodGym Oxford, which organises jogging activities and links them with volunteering opportunities to help support communities and older people in particular.

GoodGym Oxford successfully launched in February 2019. A weekly GoodGym running group meets with an average of 15 runners attending a voluntary task together – tasks have included litter picking, gardening, furniture removal, painting and general tidying at various community centres, schools and green spaces. This activity has been suspended during COVID lockdown.

Review the provision and maintenance of Council-managed community centres and continue the modernisation of other community centres, focusing on increasing usage and satisfaction levels.

A five year maintenance plan has been developed for Council-owned community centres. Barton Neighbourhood centre £1 million improvement works were completed during the year including the new library and the centre was re-opened by Prince Harry.

Plans were agreed with the community association for the replacement of Bullingdon Community Centre and planning permission was granted for the new building, with ODS the main construction contractor. A significant amount of engagement and design work has been undertaken on the East Oxford Community centre and Housing project. However, these projects are currently paused along with much of the capital investment programme, as the Council has prioritised its COVID response.

Deliver a safe and clean public realm through engagement and enforcement activities and deal with the challenges of drug markets in the city through the Drugs Taskforce.

The Public Spaces Drug Task Force worked with the police and with local communities to reduce the dealing of drugs and their use in the public realm.  The “CLEAR, HOLD, BUILD” approach was delivered in a number of areas across the city.

Continue to build on ‘Investor in Volunteers’ accreditation and maximise the quality and relevance of our support to the community and voluntary sector.

A team is working on facilitating employee volunteering as part of the Council’s New Ways of Working programme. This will enable colleagues to learn more about the communities the organisation work with and support, so that there is a better understanding of the challenges faced by them. It is also an excellent opportunity to share skills with organisations and individuals in communities alongside building and strengthening networks and trust. This scheme will be reappraised to ensure it benefits from the experience gained in working with volunteers to deliver the Council’s COVID response to communities.

Raise funds to continue our community cohesion and integration work until 2020.

A second successful bid to the Controlling Migration Fund from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), has provided additional money to fund a range of new projects to support refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants. These include English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes; mentoring and volunteering opportunities; developing information resources on availability of support services; tackling rogue landlords who let illegal properties or “beds in sheds”; supporting migrant rough sleepers to access accommodation and support services; and research aimed at improving the community’s capacity to tackle exploitation of migrants and human trafficking.

Conclude and evaluate our £734,000 Building Better Opportunities project that aims to engage entrenched NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training).

Successfully bid this year to extend the amount of grant to £1.4 million up to June 2022 to work with organisations to facilitate enabling NEET’s back into the job market.

Work with partners on the implementation of countywide strategies including the Oxfordshire Health & Wellbeing Strategy and Older People’s Strategy to meet the needs of residents in the city.

We have worked within the key countywide partnerships to ensure plans are in place and action taken to health and wellbeing of Oxford residents. This included signing the Mental Health Concordat and delivering programmes under the Older People’s Strategy to broaden accessibility and take up of our services by older people and embed our work relating to older people in social prescribing networks. The Home Improvement Agency’s amended and improved Adaptations Policy enabled an accelerated and increased spend on adaptations to £1.4m enabling older people to remain safely in their homes. The policy was recognised nationally as good practice by Care and Repair England who encouraged other councils to follow our lead.




Success Measures


2019/2020 Targets


2019/2020 outcomes

Resident satisfaction with their area as a place to live


Not measured, next survey in 2020

The number of people taking part in our Youth Ambition Programme


Program delivery at the end of March 2020 showed just below target with 5,530 participants.


This outcome is mitigated due to the forced suspension (in mid-March 2020), of delivery sessions for young people due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Increase leisure centre participation target groups

3% increase

Data reported by our leisure provider (Fusion) in February 2020 indicated visits increased by 1.3% for an 11 month reporting period.


Fusion reported a positive month-on-month direction of travel between January and February 2020, expected to continue into March 2020. However on 20 March 2020 facilities across the physical activity landscape were required to close by the Government due to COVID-19. f




CORPORATE PRIORITY: Clean and Green Oxford


Areas of Focus 2019–2020


Detailed work in partnership with the County Council on implementation plans for the Zero Emission Zone 2020 and further public consultation on the final proposals.

Two further rounds of public consultation were undertaken which further refined details for the implementation of the first phase of the Zero Emission Zone in Oxford city centre in December 2020. With the impact of COVID-19 and following engagement with city centre businesses, the City Council and Oxfordshire County Council suspended the formal consultation on implementation of the Red Zone of the ZEZ, confirming they planned for it to resume in late 2020, with a view to implement the scheme in summer 2021.  

Continue to promote the uptake of low emission vehicles through the delivery of Electric Vehicle (EV) on-street charging and EV taxi charging infrastructure, and through the second

Oxford EV summit.

The Community Safety Service supported the LEV agenda by changing the Council’s taxi policy to ensure hackney vehicles are all electric by 2025 and the first Fast Charger for EV taxis was installed at Manzil way. A successful EV summit was held, and an EV on-street pilot phase completed and learning report published.

Continue to improve homes for tenants through a programme of energy efficiency and refurbishment work, provision of energy advice and information to residents, and regeneration of our estates.

We are continuing to assess the energy efficiency of our housing stock to understand what improvement works are required to improve energy rating of C or greater. Our Energy Advice Officers have continued to provide advice to our tenants and increase tenant resilience to fuel poverty. The Great Estates project to improve our estates and communities has continued to deliver improvements in Barton and Blackbird Leys, including bin stores and washing facilities as well as upgrades to parking schemes.

Develop a multi-agency enforcement approach to prohibiting landlords from renting out poor energy-rated properties.

The Council became the first in the UK to have powers delegated to it from a County Council to take action against landlords for not having an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when legally required. We used £150k of a successful bid for government funding to develop an enforcement approach with partner agencies and we contacted 13,465 properties suspected to be in the private rented sector to test an algorithm to identify privately rented stock. Legal action using energy legislation was commenced against 8 properties.

Take forward energy efficiency work to ensure all commercial leased properties achieve compliance to the minimum energy efficiency standard concentrating on heating and insulation.

A half a day event to promote compliance was held for commercial agents and landlords and was attended by 70 people and an agency agreement is being developed with the County Council to progress future enforcement activity in this area.

Convene a Citizens’ Assembly in Oxford to help consider additional carbon reduction measures to address the climate emergency.

Oxford was the first UK city to convene a Citizens’ Assembly on climate change in September and October 2019, with 42 residents setting out their views that the city should aim to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions sooner than the Government’s target of 2050.

Work with partners to develop longer term carbon targets for the city and consult on an Oxford City Council Sustainability Strategy which will help set a course to a 2050 zero carbon future for the city.

An initial response to the Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change set out 53 actions that are being taken forward to help cut carbon emissions across the city. The findings from the Citizens’ Assembly are also being used to shape the Council’s Sustainability Strategy.

Continue to work with the Environment Agency to deliver the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme (OFAS).

OFAS is progressing, but delayed due to Oxfordshire County Council bridge work.

Develop a programme to encourage a reduction in the use of single-use plastics within the Council among our suppliers.

ODS has carried out a waste audit of Oxford City Council sites and provided advice on how this waste may be reduced. ODS is on the steering group aiming to deliver these improvements. Within ODS our procurement includes commitments to packaging reductions and any plastic or cardboard waste from our material suppliers is recycled.

Invest £250,000 for new cycle infrastructure, supporting matched funding with other public bodies.

Works continues to identify suitable schemes.





Success Measures

2019/2020 Targets

2019/2020 outcomes

Amount of non-recyclable waste produced in the city per households decreases each year




Satisfaction with our street cleaning services


72%. However ODS was winner of the 2019 APSE best service team award for street cleaning and street scene services. 

Implementation of measures to reduce City Council’s carbon footprint by 5% each year





CORPORATE PRIORITY: Efficient and Effective Council


Areas of Focus 2019–2020


Delivery of the updated ODS business plan, which will increase capital investment and boost the rate of growth and income generated for the Council.

A plan has been drafted, designed to deliver the increased dividend requirement for the shareholder, Oxford City Council. However this is being reviewed to address the post-COVID situation.


Continue to work to increase the diversity of the Council’s workforce to better reflect the communities we serve and ensure we are seen as an employer of choice.

A range of activities were undertaken over the year including mandatory training for all staff and managers; an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Week of Action to promote better understanding, and act as a catalyst for change which over 360 staff attended; 2 small scale work experience pilots; 2 recruitment roadshows held in local community centres, a CV writing workshop and a cohort of 4 Mental Health First Aid Instructors and over 40 Mental Health First Aiders. This has helped to drive an increase in the percentage of job applications from members of the BAME community and the % of BAME staff in our workforce has risen from 11.95% at 31 March 2018 to 12.96% at 31 March 2019.

Maintain our awards, including Customer Service Excellence, Payroll Assurance Scheme and Investors in People (IIP) accreditation.

We passed the Customer Service Excellence accreditation again for the fourth year in a row with an improved score.  Areas where the Council scored exceptionally highly and were recognised for best practice included: effective use of data to understand customer needs; developing roles to engage more effectively with customer groups; improving services by analysing customer experiences; effective consultation; developing innovative approaches to support local communities and a clear corporate commitment to customer service. The Payroll Assurance Scheme and IIP accreditation remain in place.

Deliver a new Customer and Digital Technology Strategy to further improve our customer experience, self-service opportunities and automation of our processes.

The Customer Experience Strategy was approved by Cabinet. Its main principles include: providing a great, holistic responsive customer experience from every part of the Council; developing the necessary skills, capabilities and behaviours throughout the workforce; better equipping colleagues with tools to respond to customer needs, flexibly and securely; modernising business systems and operating processes, making them easier to use and automated where appropriate; and enabling efficiencies through rationalisation of systems, streamlining of processes, and tools for flexible working and collaboration.

Implement a new system to make it easier for residents to make payments through a range of digital and non-digital channels.

The project has been delayed due to dependencies with the implementation of other ICT software. The new go live date for the software is being reviewed in view of the impact of COVID-19 on our operations.

Formation of a Social Housing Provider Data Hub to proactively tackle tenancy fraud and abuse.

Fraud preventative work was undertaken with a number of housing associations on commercial terms and there are ongoing discussions to continue with this work and extend into other areas.

Invest £34,000 to create a mobile accessibility app to make it easier for people with a disability to access city venues.

300 spaces and places have now been surveyed. The AccessAble Web and App guide is now live.


Development of a new Oxford City Council Corporate Strategy to set out our plans and objectives for delivering high-quality services for the people of Oxford for the period beyond 2020.

A new Oxford City Council Strategy 2020-24 was adopted by the Council following an extensive stakeholder engagement and public consultation. It sets out four key priorities – enabling an inclusive economy, building more affordable housing, supporting thriving communities and pursuing a zero carbon Oxford.

Using the Local Government Association equalities framework, the City Council will review its performance in meeting the needs of its diverse communities and in particular those groups with protected characteristics under the Equalities Act 2010, and draw up an action plan for improvements where needed.

Over the past year, Oxford City Council has undertaken an Equalities Review to identify key priorities in delivering our corporate commitment to tackling equality and to deliver our responsibilities under the Equalities Act, resulting in the development of an action plan.


Success Measures


2019/2020 Targets


2019/2020 outcomes

Level of staff engagement based on best companies staff survey results


Measured every 3 years – next survey scheduled in 2020

The percentage of customer satisfied at first contact




Delivery of the Council’s cost savings and

income targets


Savings and income targets were made in full


For the cabinet report Oxford City Council has continued to deliver efficiency savings during 2019/20 to a value of £0.951 million in addition to £1.648 million achieved in the previous 3 years.