Agenda item

Agenda item

Corporate Strategy 20-24

At its meeting on 19 December, Cabinet will consider a report on the Corporate Strategy 2020 - 2024. This item provides an opportunity for the Committee to comment on the report and make such recommendations to the Cabinet as it wishes. The report will be introduced by Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of the Council; and Mish Tullar, Corporate Policy, Partnership and Communications Manager.This report will be published as a supplement to the agenda.



The report was introduced by Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of the Council. The draft Strategy had already been informed by prior informal consultation and Members had had an opportunity to contribute to the draft. It had been agreed that this strategy should be slimmer than its predecessor so that people can swiftly see and understand the key elements, via its 4 aims and 5 themes. Central to the strategy’s implementation will be the business plans which flow from it.       


Mish Tullar, Head of Corporate Policy, Partnerships and Communications, said this draft had been prepared with significantly more preliminary input than its predecessor; all Council employees had been given the opportunity to contribute as had the Oxford Strategic Partnership for example. The draft would be ‘roadshowed’ with the Council’s statutory consultees. The business plan approach was new, with each plan being renewed annually.


In discussion the following points were made and responded to among others. 


·         The aim of an “Efficient and Effective Council” present in the previous version but not in the draft as one of the 4 explicit aims  did not mean that there was no continuing aspiration for the Council to be just that.

·         Pursuing a  zero-carbon Oxford was  one of the 4 aims it but did not appear in the  themes. In practice the aim  would cut across everything and, given  the intention of preparing a slimmer and more accessible strategy on this occasion, unnecessary repetition was being avoided.

·         The references to fostering an inclusive economy were very welcome. It was agreed that there would be merit, also, in encouraging our partners to adopt similar behaviours.

·         It was agreed that it would be good to see some of the positive outcomes from the Citizens’ Assembly woven into the strategy. It only hadn’t been possible to do so at this stage because of the timing of production of the Citizens’ Assembly report.

·         Consideration should be given to the appropriateness of the use of the word ‘customer’ where it appears and where ‘resident’ or ‘citizen’ might sometimes be a better fit.

·         The prioritisation of a tackling inequality was welcome, equality however means different things to different people and it would be helpful to be clear what it embraced.

·         The statement that “all new building by Oxford City  Council is progressing towards near or net-zero carbon standards” was challenged by one member of the Committee.

·         No explicit mention had been made of the “Oxford Model” (ie development of in-house companies). It was agreed that it would be desirable to include reference to  this.

·         The City Council had a good record for engaging citizens with its policy making  and reference should be made to this in the strategy.


In conclusion the Committee made the following recommendations to Cabinet.




That Council makes the following amendments to its draft Corporate Strategy:


i)     Clarify to readers the difference between and reasons for changing from the existing reporting system to the use of bespoke business plans;

ii)    Increase the emphasis on the drive to reduce inequalities which underpins the actions within the strategy;

iii)   Review the suitability of references to residents, customers and citizens within their specific contexts;

iv)   Add the following outcome to the Partner section of the Inclusive Economy Outcomes table: ‘More local organisations adopt practices which support an inclusive economy and recognise the social value implications of their business decisions.’;

v)    Reference the Council’s success in engaging its residents in policy-making and its commitment to continuing to do so; and

vi)   Include reference to the ‘Oxford model’


Supporting documents: