Unitary council options study launched

Published: Tuesday, 19th April 2016

Seven District Councils yesterday (18/4) appointed leading advisors PwC to conduct an independent review of the best governance options to support an ambitious devolution deal for Oxfordshire.

​PwC will carry out a study to find the best option for the future structure of local government to serve the diverse population of Oxfordshire- an option that will strengthen local decision making, improve local services and save taxpayers’ money.

The evidence-based, independent assessment of all the options will see PwC meet key stakeholders and partners across the area to understand their issues and views.

The study has been jointly commissioned by Oxfordshire’s five district councils - Cherwell, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire District Councils, and Oxford City Council – and Cotswold and South Northamptonshire District Councils. By working jointly on the study cost have been kept below an average of £15,000 per council offering value for money to local tax payers.

The study will be completed by the end of June and will include extensive involvement of key local organisations. The councils plan to consult the public on the options over the summer.

Richard Parker, partner at PwC, said: “We are delighted to be working with the seven councils on this important piece of work.

“Our study will be independent and evidenced based, and we will be looking to engage widely with all key stakeholders and partners to ensure their views are carefully considered in our work.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-examine how best to serve the needs of the people in the area.”

Councillor Matthew Barber, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said on behalf of the Leaders of all the commissioning authorities: “I am pleased that PwC has been appointed and that the expertise and knowledge they bring will ensure a robust and independent study.

“We ask all our partners, including Oxfordshire County Council, to work with us and engage in the work, so that we can best serve the people of Oxfordshire.”

For more information about the Districts’ devolution proposals, please visit www.oxford.gov.uk/devolution.