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An Engagement and Participation Action Plan for Oxford

CEA is working for the Oxford Strategic Partnership to develop an Engagement and Participation Action Plan for Oxford. This is proving too be a very interesting piece of work. The new focus on Localism, Neighbourhood Planning, and the big changes to the health services and the benefit system mean that many agencies are keen to have better engagement processes in place.

Oxford’s Strategic Partnership is an interesting one that remains active after the government removed the statutory duty for every area to have one. The City and County councils are often in confict, and with two universities and the major employer that is the NHS in Oxford there is a clear need for a body to bring these and others together at a strategic level.

Oxford is also a significantly divided city. That’s not just ‘town and gown’ but also the split between the older richer centre and north and the recent rapid developments in the south-east around Blackbird Leys.  Oxford also has the most qualified workforce in the UK but alongside that has some of the worst-performing schools.  Its’ diversity is increasingly rapidly with students from around the world visiting for a few years alongside new migrants seeking to make a home here.  A recent profile of the city where CEA is based available here

The OSP has five priority areas:

  • Economic and Growth
  • Breaking the Cycle of Deprivation
  • Education Attainment
  • Community Safety
  • Low Carbon Oxford

It’s clear that active participation of people and communities will be important in delivering all these,a nd we’ve been interviewing all the key agencies in the Partnership. We will then run a workshop in mid-April and from that seek to produce a set of guiding principles and next steps that will help the OSP finalise an action plan. Once the work is complete we will be asking them if we can share the background research we have done – we’ve been looking at a lot of engagement strategies from around the UK.

There’s plenty of good practice around Oxford too. Anyone interested in local environmental action should check the Community Action Groups network that now links about 55 community energy / food /sustainability groups.






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