ODS, the local authority trading company wholly owned by Oxford City Council, has released its annual report.
Despite the pandemic's impact on turnover, the company achieved a turnover of £65.4 million in its second year of trading (2019/20), an increase of 9.1 per cent compared to the previous financial year.
ODS delivers a range of core services on behalf of Oxford City Council including waste collection, street cleaning, highways maintenance and building repairs. It provides the same to businesses, universities and many other organisations across the county.
ODS has seen income from external business revenue increase by almost 50 per cent during the period 2016/17 to 2019/20 and is proud to be providing services to support the continued growth of the local economy.
Simon Howick, Managing Director at ODS said: "The unique way we do business yields more than mere financial rewards. It is proven to have a positive impact on our customers, employees, suppliers, local communities and the environment. This year was no exception. Crucially, the money we make is reinvested in public services and is not lining shareholders' pockets in the traditional sense. We're supporting a vibrant city with employment and training opportunities, and, where possible, we keep our supply chain local."
He added: "Beyond this, we've continued to help Oxford meet its zero-carbon goals by adding more electric vehicles to our fleet and developing the urban infrastructure required as electric transport becomes an everyday option.
“ODS provides Oxford's residents and businesses with high-quality services delivered by local people who genuinely care about their community and the environment. Despite the tough environment, additional long-term sustainable revenue streams have been generated through external trading."
Councillor Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services at Oxford City Council said: "This year has been incredibly tough. Yet using the Oxford Model, where rather than choosing to outsource services we work in partnership with our wholly-owned companies, has given the city greater security and stability. ODS allows the Council to keep investing in Oxford, as money spent by the city remains in the area, funding jobs and ensuring the city stays a lively, beautiful place to live and work in."
Councillor Chapman added, "I want to thank the ODS team for their tireless provision of frontline services. These people kept Oxford going throughout the pandemic, and I know the city is grateful."
Highlights from 2020 include:
- 54,545 building services jobs completed
- 3,225,706 bins collected
- Sufficient energy generated from food waste to power 4,200 homes
- 52,000 tonnes of general waste collected and processed every day
- 1,841 repair jobs completed
- 2,673 potholes fixed
- 102 decent homes kitchens completed
- 1000 per cent of emergency gas repairs completed on time
- 100 per cent of 24 hour defects completed on time
- 98 per cent tenant satisfaction with repairs
- 2,614 emergency repair jobs completed on time
- 6 tonnes of food waste collected and processed every day
- 50,000 cubic meters of liquid fertiliser for Oxford farmland
- 6 parks with Green Flag status
ODS contributes significant value to Oxford with its public service ethos; employing locally, paying the Oxford Living Wage, maintaining strong terms of employment, focusing on developing a local supply chain, and investing in the development of its workforce.
Working through lockdown
During the first lockdown, ODS staff volunteered to support the Oxford Hub city-wide series of local response centres that were set up to provide support to vulnerable residents. ODS provided over 500 staff days and also re-deployed vehicles to deliver logistical capability. Despite the circumstances, ODS helped those in need in the community, highlighting its abilities as a critical service provider.
Looking forward, the company plans to increase revenue and drive efficiencies by consolidating its service depots into a single location, developing its service offer beyond the Oxford boundary, investing in electric vehicles and optimising operations through the use of technology, and working with stakeholders to deliver more construction projects.
Simon Howick continued: "Looking ahead, I see a positive future—the continuation of our doing good journey. We have learned from COVID-19 that we can run the business efficiently, even with staff working remotely. I believe we will continue to thrive and grow as a leading business that is recognised for doing good."