Update to Oxford City Council services

Published: Tuesday, 24th March 2020

Update to Oxford City Council services

Following the introduction of strict new Government guidelines on social distancing measures and the closure of non-essential businesses and premises, Oxford City Council will be changing a number of its services.

The changes from today (24 March 2020) until further notice are as follows:

Council reception closed

The Council’s reception and public enquiries desk at St Aldate’s Chambers will be closed to members of the public.

The City Council is aiming to continue to provide effective customer services during this time.  Members of the public can access council services by visiting our website www.oxford.gov.uk, or by calling 01865 249811.

Phone lines are open from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays.

Parks remain open

The Council’s parks will remain open in line with Government guidance to enable individuals and households to exercise once a day. However, we expect all members of the public to observe the social distancing requirements keeping at least two metres apart from others and no groups of more than two people together, other than family members. All communal spaces within the parks such as children’s play areas, football pitches and tennis courts will be closed off.

Waste collections continue

Waste and recycling collections from homes will continue as usual, however garden waste collections will now be suspended. Waste collections from businesses will continue, however, volumes of commercial waste are expected to reduce very significantly.

Public toilets closures

The majority of public toilets across the city will be closed, including those in parks. However, three public toilets in the city centre will remain open for the time being - these are at Market Street, Gloucester Green and Speedwell Street.

Emergency home visits only

Routine inspections and home visits for private sector tenants are being suspended – officers will instead seek to resolve the matter over the phone in conjunction with the tenant’s landlord and/or agent. However, officers will attend in the event of an emergency such as no heating, flooding, risk of collapse etc, if it is necessary to resolve the issue. We will need to establish the health and vulnerability of the occupiers before visiting.

Cash and cheque payments suspended

In line with many other organisations, the Council is no longer accepting cash or cheque payments either in person or in the post. Those who need to make payments should do this online on the Council website: https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20098/pay_it_online. Alternatively, payments can still be made at a PayPoint or Post Office while these remain open to the public. Anyone who has concerns or is unsure what to do is asked to call the Council’s contact centre on 01865 249811.

Council tax, business rates and other payments

The City Council is issuing the following advice for customers who owe the council money and may be worrying about making payments.

  • Those who need to pay council tax or business rates should contact the recovery team on 01865 252856.
  • Council tenants, Council garage tenants or leaseholders should contact our Incomes Team on 01865 252880.
  • Commercial Rent or Sundry Income customers should contact Incomes on 01865 252863
  • Expanded - Hardship Fund for Council Tax

Other Council services

In line with the Government guidance, from today most Council services delivered by ODS will be suspended, except those below, which will still continue:

  • Street cleaning of main shopping areas
  • Emptying of public litter and dog waste bins
  • Emergency repairs in Council housing, including: gas safety and compliance, heating, electrical safety and compliance, serious structural (including roof leaks), running water / plumbing / toilets
  • Highways repairs
  • Work on major Construction sites
  • Maintenance of cemeteries and trees
  • Drain jetting

More information about ODS’ services and response to coronavirus can be found at www.odsgroup.co.uk/covid19

“I applaud the generosity of spirit so many Oxford residents are showing in looking out for their neighbours, and the businesses who have kindly helped other others despite the difficulties they themselves are facing. We will do what we can to help support residents and businesses get through this together.

“During these challenging times, our operational approach will continue to be driven by Government guidance and public health best practice. We need to focus our attention of preventing the spread of coronavirus, and follow the guidance from the Government around social distancing.

“We will be continuing with essential and key services where possible, however the way that we deliver these services needs to be adjusted in order to continue under the latest Government guidance.  As that guidance changes we will keep service levels under review and restart some elements as this becomes practical.”
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council

Latest information and guidance about coronavirus is available at https://www.oxford.gov.uk/coronavirus.