Oxford City Council’s response to coronavirus

Published: Tuesday, 17th March 2020

Oxford City Council is working to maintain its services to residents and businesses across the city, while adjusting its operations and working practices in line with Government and public health guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19)

We maintain robust business continuity plans to ensure we can continue to provide essential services and support for local communities in crisis scenarios, including staff absence through sickness.

While we are continuing to deliver most services as normal at the moment, we are making contingency arrangements to prioritise services including support for vulnerable people in the community, safeguarding, homeless services, benefit payments, waste collection and street cleaning and emergency home repairs. Plans for these services involve the prioritisation of work and the redeployment of workforce as necessary. Our focus remains on following public health guidance and making preparations to ensure that the delivery of all essential services remains as close to normal as possible.

Oxford City Council is working closely with partner agencies including Oxfordshire County Council, which is responsible for social care, and the NHS primary care network of GPs, police and voluntary and community groups to ensure there is an effective and joined up response to the challenges posed by increasing self-isolation of the most vulnerable people in our community.

This is a fast changing situation and we will keep things under review in the light of any changes to government advice, always seeking to strike an appropriate balance of interests between the needs of residents, businesses and employees.

The Council is also seeking to help businesses in Oxford. We will be quickly facilitating access to Government grants and rate relief as soon as the details are confirmed. We are surveying businesses in the city to get a clearer understanding of their immediate pressures and possible solutions – and using that information to seek additional financial support from Government.

With the introduction of new guidance on ‘social distancing’ and large gatherings the Council is anticipating the cancellation of a number of events, and is awaiting detailed guidance from Government on holding of council meetings for decision-making.

Our emergency planning is advanced and a great deal of time and preparation has been put into making these plans the best that we can make them. We don’t know yet how far they will be tested. The essence of good emergency planning is to constantly review the business continuity planning as the situation develops and we will publish regular information updates.

E-billing

If you  haven’t already done so, this is a good time to sign up for Council Tax and Business Rates e-billing and to receive invoices electronically as it will help the Council with printing and posting. Visit our Pay It online page.