Cabinet response to recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee made on 17/06/2020 concerning the City Council COVID Recovery Programme report

Response provided by Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Partnerships and Economic Development, Susan Brown




1)    That the Council coordinates and / or develops an overarching digital strategy for the City and considers in joined-up fashion the multiple areas in which digital will play an increasingly important role in the Covid recovery response. Areas to include but not limited to: working from home, service user modal-shift, infrastructure requirements, the impacts of increasing digital shopping and working on the city centre, and enabling shop-local within an increasingly digital retail environment.


The response to COVID has meant a significant shift towards digitalisation across our services as people accessing and staff delivering our services have been doing so from home. The “delivering services differently” workstrand of our recovery programme will be looking to sustain and maximise opportunities to digitise many of our services. In terms of the impact of changes in the way that people are using and travelling within the city, the City Economic Strategy will provide the framework for understanding these trends and informing Countywide work to secure investment in digital infrastructure.

2)    That the Council investigates the potential of setting up a regional mutual bank


We will explore the practice and experience from elsewhere, particularly to see what impact (positive or negative) the COVID-19 pandemic has had on other regional mutuals. We will then need to assess whether to progress this further.

3)    That the Council encourages OxLEP to provide advice on how to set up or convert to social enterprise or cooperative business models to those for whom it would be appropriate


We will discuss with OxLEP how this might be done, building on their eScalate programme which supports social entrepreneurs, enterprising charities and other purposeful businesses committed to enabling positive social and environmental impact

4)    That the Council develops options on how it mobilises its leisure services, officers, and assets, and how it can work in partnerships with communities , health and other partners to target higher-need groups to get people active and improve their health. The Council is especially encouraged to consider how it might increase the use of outdoor facilities and spaces more


This will be taken forward as part of the work on future options for community services and development of the hubs and as part of the discussions with health partners in tackling Health Inequalities highlighted as part of the Health and Social Care workstrand we are aiming to take forward with partners. 

We are also launching a new programme called Go Active Outdoors that includes a range of activities in our parks and on the waterways.

5)    That the Council endorses the request of Scrutiny to the Council’s Health Overview Scrutiny Committee representatives that the HOSC undertake a review concerning the equalities impacts of the Covid epidemic.