Agenda item

Agenda item

2019-20 Annual Update on the Oxford City Council Corporate Plan 2016-20

At a meeting in June, the date of which is to be confirmed, Cabinet will consider a report on the Annual Update on the Oxford City Council Corporate Plan 2016-20. This item provides an opportunity for the Committee to comment on the report and make such recommendations to the Cabinet as it wishes. Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of the Council and Mish Tullar, Corporate Policy, Partnership and Communications Manager have been invited to attend for this item.




Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of the Council, introduced the report and was pleased to see its account of good progress and many notable achievements over the previous 12 months. She drew particular attention to the Council’s attraction of 27 self-certified Oxford Living Wage employers (most notably the University of Oxford and the Oxford Bus Company, as two of the biggest local employers) and the Council’s Citizens’ Assembly on Climate change.

Mish Tullar, Corporate Policy, Partnership & Communications Manager, reminded the Committee that this was the final annual report about progress against the targets in the Corporate Plan 2016-20. Priorities for 2020-21 would be set out in the Council’s Business Plan for 2020-21 which was currently  being reviewed  in the light of Covid-19.

Progress in relation to the Oxford Living Wage (OLW) was welcome and it was suggested that there might be merit in setting a target for the number of employers to adopt the OLW. Cllr Brown noted that attention should be paid to the number of employees who benefit from the OLW as well as  to the number of employers. The question also raised a more fundamental question about the merit of targets in relation to which the Council might have influence but no direct control. Care would be taken to ensure that only indicators  over which the Council had  some reasonable measure of control would be included in the Corporate Strategy/Business Plan for 2020/21.  Irrespective of the presence or absence of a target, no opportunities are lost to point out to employers which have not adopted the OLW  the desirability of doing so.

The Committee noted that many significant achievements had been achieved over the last year as reflected in the report. At the same time it was important that the language used to report these achievements presented an honest appraisal did not give a false impression about the degree of success or merit. It was suggested, for example,  that while money had been allocated to addressing the challenge of rough sleeping,  not all of it had been spent. It was also noted that the quoted figure of a 5% reduction in the Council’s carbon footprint implied an absolute reduction of 5% when the target was for a 5% reduction against a projection of what the carbon footprint would have been had no mitigating action been taken.

Councillor Brown said that the report expressed performance against a very specific set of predetermined indicators.  The Corporate Policy, Partnership & Communications Manager agreed to pick up the point about the carbon reduction measure with relevant officers.  The Committee requested the inclusion in the report of a reference to the work of the Committee’s Climate Emergency Working Group which had taken place within the period covered by the report.

In relation to activities supported by the Oxfordshire Growth Deal which had not met their targets,   Cllr Brown acknowledged the significant challenges of delivering some of them in short measure as required. Nonetheless it was important not to lose sight of the fact that the city had benefited greatly from the deal.

In conclusion, the Committee recommended that:

The Council agrees to the following amendments to the Annual Update on the Corporate Plan 2016-20 for inclusion in the published version:

In Appendix 1 to the covering report:

1.       Add to the existing text relating to the Council’s achievements regarding ‘Convene a Citizens’ Assembly in Oxford to help consider additional carbon reduction measures to address the climate emergency’ the following text: ‘The Council’s Scrutiny function also established the Climate Emergency Review Group which, over seven meetings, developed 56 recommendations on how to realise the expressed ambition of Citizens’ Assembly members regarding the Climate Emergency, particularly in relation to the built environment.’

2.       After ‘Implementation of measures calculated to reduce the City Council’s carbon footprint by 5% each year’ add the words ‘below  what it would otherwise have been.’

Supporting documents: