Local News

Let’s S.C.R.A.P Fly-tipping Campaign

Let’s S.C.R.A.P Fly-tipping Campaign


What is fly-tipping?


Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of items. Many incidents of fly-tipping can be prevented by following the S.C.R.A.P code.

S.C.R.A.P stands for:

S - Suspect

C - Check

R - Refuse

A - Ask

P – Paperwork

Everyone has a legal duty of care to ensure their household or business waste is disposed of correctly and we each have a role to play in preventing fly-tipping.

The rubbish you’ve passed onto someone else is still your legal responsibility until it’s correctly disposed of. This means you can be prosecuted even if your waste is fly-tipped by someone else who’s dealing with it on your behalf.

For example, if you hire an unlicensed individual or company and they were to fly-tip that waste, you could end up paying a fine or being taken to court.

What are some alternatives?

We have a handy search tool in Oxfordshire called the Waste Wizard which provides different ideas and places for an item you may no longer need.

Different choices it will provide include:

  • Passing them on to be reused, by selling or giving items away for free through charity shops or online exchange sites.
  • Using your local district council kerbside collection service (including bulky item collection).

More information can be found at:

S.C.R.A.P Fly-tipping: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/flytipping

Waste Wizard search tool: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/wastewizard

Towersey Parish Clerk - update

The Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils and the Oxfordshire branch of the Society of Local Council Clerks have been shocked and saddened to learn of the court case against Jo Wills, the Towersey Parish Clerk who was also Assistant Clerk at Chinnor Parish Council.


Parish and town council Clerks work in an area of trust and when this trust is broken, the implications for all involved can be huge.


This is, fortunately, an unusual and isolated case, from which everyone needs to learn. Training is available to Clerks and Councillors so they can be open, transparent and professional in their respective roles.

Update after sentencing on 30th June:

Towersey Parish Council Press release 30/06/2022

Joanne Wills was Parish Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer for Towersey Parish Council
and as such had governance and control of all financial matters. Over a number of years, she
abused her position of trust and carried out a cold, calculated and systematic series of
thefts. She stole money that belonged to the Parish of Towersey and heartlessly deceived
and betrayed the Councillors she worked with who relied on her as their trusted adviser,
friend, and ally.

Without the authority or knowledge of Towersey Parish Councillors, she utilised internet
banking, and then exploited a weakness in the banking system to authorise payments,
supposedly to legitimate accounts, but all of which went to one account belonging to her.
She then created fake invoices and falsified Minutes of Parish Council meetings to make it
appear that payment of those invoices had been approved. Her fraud was so convincing
that she passed all the yearly independent audits that were carried out.

Now that the police investigation has concluded and Joanne Wills has received a custodial
sentence of four years, Towersey Parish Council can move forward in a positive way. We
now have a new and more transparent Parish Clerk and have appointed a new internal
auditor. We look forward to focusing once more on the needs of the village of Towersey and
finally being able to provide the facilities and changes that will make our village a more
pleasant and safer environment for all its residents.

Oxfordshire - 20mph

We all want safer roads, cleaner air and less pollution – 20mph

So Oxfordshire County Council will help local communities who want to change the pace in their area to 20mph. Communities that want to reduce the speed of their roads from 30mph to 20mph will find it easier after an £8 million budget was agreed to accelerate the process across Oxfordshire.

On 8th February, Oxfordshire County Council approved its 2022/23 budget, which included funding for a three-year programme to support the implementation of 20mph roads across Oxfordshire. The money will pay for sign-only measures and the intention is to encourage more walking and cycling and create safer and more pleasant places for communities.


See how your community can reduce to 20 - www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/20mph

Old Marston Parish Council attain LCAS Foundation Award! Congratulations

We have learnt from Tim Cann, Clerk to Old Marston Parish Council that it has been accredited with the Foundation award from the NALC Local Council Award Scheme. Congratulations!

Tim Cann Clerk to Old Marston Parish Council obtained the Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA) in 2017. He has now encouraged and facilitated his council to attain the first level Foundation Award in the Local Council Award Scheme.


Tim Cann, the Clerk said " I would say that the most beneficial part of this award is the actual process in achieving the award.

Working through the various criteria enables the council, clerk/RFO to ‘audit’ itself.

From the core documents of Standing Orders and Financial Regulations to disciplinary & grievance procedures to publicity in advertising the councils’ activities.

The process makes you stop and think –

·        have we got that document?

·        Is it up to date?

·        What is the purpose of it?

·        Does it achieve that?"


OALC would like to think that ALL councils can obtain the Foundation level award.

This is what do you have to do to get this award…

The council confirms by resolution at a full council meeting that it recognises its duties in relation to bio-diversity and crime and disorder, and that it also has:

GOVERNANCE : demonstrating good governance in managing the business and finances of a council

·         Standing orders

·         Financial regulations

·         Its Code of Conduct and a link to councillors’ registers of interests

·         Its publication scheme

·         Its last annual return - AGAR

·         Transparent information about council payments

·         A calendar of all meetings including the annual meeting of electors

·         Minutes for at least one year of full council meetings and (if relevant) all committee and sub-committee meetings

·          Current agendas

·          The budget and precept information for the current or next financial year

·         Its complaints procedure

·         Its accessibility statement

·         Its privacy notice

·         A risk management policy

·         A register of assets

COMMUNITY : representing a council’s role in the community and how it engages with the community

·         Council contact details and councillor information in line with the Transparency Code

·         Its action plan for the current year

·         Evidence of consulting the community

·         Publicity advertising council activities

·         Evidence of participating in town and country planning

DEVELOPMENT: representing council improvement through the management and development of staff and councillors

·         Disciplinary and grievance procedures

·         A policy for training and development of staff and councillors Contracts for all members of staff

·         A record of all training undertaken by staff and councillors in the last year Up-to-date insurance policies that mitigate risks to public money

·         A clerk who has achieved 12 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points in the last year

The council notifies the NALC accreditation panel co-ordinator when the resolution has been agreed and provides a completed application form, including webpage addresses to where the information can be found online.

Superfast broad band agreed for some village halls

Neos Networks, one of the UK’s leading business connectivity providers, has been selected by Oxfordshire County Council to build full fibre broadband infrastructure to a range of public sector and local authority sites in the region, in a bid to improve connectivity and digital inclusion.  Neos will work with Openreach, Virgin Media Business and locally based Gigaclear, to connect a range of county council buildings, GP Practices, schools, libraries, fire stations, leisure centres, community centres, and museums. 

The project is funded with £5m from Oxfordshire County Council and £2m from the Government’s DCMS GigaHubs project, part of Project Gigabit.  This initiative will significantly improve connectivity for over 200 buildings which provide a public service, many of which are located in rural locations where fibre connectivity is both difficult and expensive to provision. Neos will manage the implementation with the first phase of the programme set to be delivered by March 2022. This marks the first majority council-funded project aimed at improving the service offering available at community centres and village halls whilst also offering a more cost-effective connectivity solution for public sector sites.

The project builds on Oxfordshire’s wider commitment to improve connectivity across the county through its Digital Infrastructure Programme, and will also enable Oxfordshire County Council to realise its ambitions for equipping community centres to become ‘community working hubs’ offering enhanced community services, health and social care support, and reducing the need for people to travel further afield to access these services.  This will in turn help the county council in meeting its objective for net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.  In addition, the new infrastructure will allow the council to move to lower cost fast broadband connections for its office buildings.

Cllr Glynis Phillips, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Oxfordshire County Council, commented:

“This is an exciting time for Oxfordshire. We are putting a lot of time and resource into ensuring that we are one of the best-connected counties in the UK. This project strengthens our commitment to our Digital Infrastructure strategy and to improving local access to services, reducing the need to travel.  We particularly look forward to finding ways to maximise the range of services that will be enabled in Oxfordshire’s vibrant community centres and village halls where collaboration with parish, district, and the county council will be key alongside our colleagues in the NHS”.

Twenty Four Village Halls will benefit, six more are being assessed and four more are awaiting a solution following more consultation.

The Digital Infrastructure Programme (link above) has a fascinating map coverage map showing individual properties access to superfast broadband across the county – see what your village is like…

Coverage map | Digital Infrastructure Programme (digitalinfrastructureoxfordshire.co.uk)

Oxfordshire EV Infrastructure Strategy

The Low Carbon Hub has been holding a series of virtual meetings on topical subjects, the latest (15th July) was on Electric Vehicles and Charging points.


There is an agreed and adopted Oxfordshire wide EV Infrastructure Strategy which can be read here -


Executive summary

All six of Oxfordshire’s councils have declared climate emergencies. Supporting a transition to zero emission road transport is a key component in Oxfordshire’s councils achieving their net zero carbon targets, and this has been reinforced by Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Councils’ commitment to delivering the UK’s first ZEZ in Oxford to reduce air pollution levels, tackle the climate emergency, and improve the health of residents, workers and visitors in Oxford and beyond.

Comprehensive, accessible and efficient charging infrastructure is essential in enabling the rapid adoption of electric vehicles, accelerated by the 2030 date for the end of petrol and diesel car sales in the UK.

In keeping with Oxfordshire’s status as a centre of innovation, the Councils are at the forefront of delivering new solutions and sustainable models for EV charging across the county. Drawing on partnerships with Oxford’s academic institutions and technology firms Oxfordshire is delivering projects at the cutting edge of zero emissions mobilities. The Energy Superhub Oxford project will see large scale battery storage technology supporting a super-rapid EV charging hub in Oxford, while Local Energy Oxfordshire is exploring how local renewable energy generation can support decentralisation of the grid, and how EVs can play a part in new energy systems. Oxfordshire’s V2GO project has examined the potential for EV fleets to support the grid through acting as energy storage units, and the ongoing Go Ultra Low Oxford and Park and Charge projects are examining new technologies and models to support EV drivers without access to off-road parking and charging.

This pipeline of projects across the county is delivering up to 432 charging points by June 2022 in partnership with Government and the private sector.

The Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy (OEVIS) sets out the policies and plans to realise our vision for EV charging in Oxfordshire, whereby:

  • Residents, businesses and visitors in Oxfordshire will be confident they can recharge EVs conveniently, and in a manner appropriate for their needs.
  • Oxfordshire’s EV charging provision will develop to meet the needs of users now and in the future, and in doing so support Oxfordshire’s transition to decarbonising transport and improving air quality.


There are a number of projects across the county ranging from EV car clubs to the installation of EV charging points at Village Halls (Kirtlington) , some have arisen through the transition towns initiative; enthusiasm is patchy often depending on individuals and often dependent on  community groups associated with the Community Action Group network https://cagoxfordshire.org.uk/ 

To be economic large scale introduction of charging points is unlikely to happen in sparse rural areas, concentration will tend to be in the towns. Although as 2030 and the phasing out of  petrol and diesel cars comes closer, the roll out of EV charging and its necessary infrastructure will have to be addressed. At present there are 280 EV points in 22 car parks across the county.


Oxfordshire CC Climate Action Framework

In October 2020 Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) approved its Climate Action Framework setting out how they’re going to tackle the Climate Emergency through:

  • becoming a carbon-neutral council by 2030
  • working in partnership to achieve a carbon-neutral Oxfordshire by 2050


OCC seek to transform their organisation, support schools, and work with suppliers and partners – building climate action into every decision.

Find out more about how they’re working to reduce carbon emissions in their own organisation and across the county at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/environment-and-planning/energy-and-climate-change/what-we-are-doing

Their vision is to shape a thriving Oxfordshire - achieving livable, healthy places. It is a vision for prosperity in an enhanced natural environment and within global carbon limits. Together with the leaders and chief executives of all local authorities across Oxfordshire, they have committed to tackling the Climate Emergency. With wider Oxfordshire partners they are signatories to Oxfordshire’s Energy Strategy, setting out a pathway to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, as an ambitious step on the road to net zero by 2050. 

Find out more about how OCC are working in partnership to reduce emissions across the county at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/environment-and-planning/energy-and-climate-change/climate-action-oxfordshire


OCC wish to further develop partnerships with Parish Councils in building capacity of local communities to take climate action by:

  • Supporting Community Action Groups to expand, diversify and collaborate with civil society organisations
  • Pursuing localised zero-carbon investment options
  • Delivering digital connectivity, low-carbon transport and active travel schemes that support a zero-carbon ambition


Additionally, the following schemes are currently available to local communities through OCC partnerships:

  • Oxfutures offers free energy audits for businesses to identify energy-saving opportunities, to reduce energy bills and cut carbon emissions
  • Rural communities energy fund supports rural communities wanting to set up renewable energy projects in their area
  • The UK government’s Green Homes Grant offers homeowners and landlords vouchers which cover two-thirds of the cost of undertaking certain energy efficiency retrofit improvements, up to £5,000.

To discuss opportunities to work with OCC in delivering their climate agenda, email climate.action@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Cotswold’s AONB becomes Cotswolds National Landscape

Cotswold’s AONB becomes Cotswolds National Landscape

As a result of Julian Glover’s Landscapes Review published in 2019, from the second week in September, the Cotswold’s AONB will now be known as the Cotswolds National Landscape.

The Landscapes Review proposed that National Parks and AONBs should be brought together, as “one family of national landscapes”; it suggested that the title ‘AONB’ should be replaced – with easier-to-understand ‘National Landscape’.

The new logo retains the Cotswold Lion sheep, changes the wording and the colour of it.

More information about the Cotswolds National Landscape here https://www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/

Climate Emergency - Fast Forward Oxfordshire FoE

Oxfordshire Friends of the Earth has produced a booklet, Fast Forward Oxfordshire, copies can be down loaded here https://www.oxfoe.co.uk/fastforward/ The Fast Forward relates to how to get to zero carbon by 2040. Their policy goals are set out below, although when they use the term ‘Oxfordshire Councils must’ the booklet appears to be referring to principal authorities not town and parish councils.

  1. Homes and settlements

We need to ensure all existing homes are well insulated to at least ‘EPC C’ level by 2035 at the latest, and to have eradicated fuel poverty by the same date. Sooner than that, all new buildings need to be zero carbon and this must be a planning condition.

Oxfordshire Councils must:

  • Require zero carbon standards for all new homes and other buildings in Local Plans from now (see also Energy section).
  • Ensure that all homes have good access to safe and attractive open spaces, such as gardens, play spaces and parks, in line with national targets.
  • Establish and lead local partnerships to coordinate area-wide home retrofitting programmes to reduce energy use and tackle fuel poverty in existing homes, starting with the most deprived areas first.


National government must:

  • Revise the National Policy Planning Framework to require zero carbon and water-neutral
  • Ensure that Land Value Uplift income from developments is ploughed back into new infrastructure to create genuinely sustainable homes and settlements.
  • Develop financial support and revenue funding to enable local partnerships to deliver mass energy retrofits of existing housing as part of a wider publicly funded national green infrastructure programme or ‘Green New Deal’.


  1. Transport

We need a transport system that works for everyone – that delivers better public health, a zero carbon economy and fair access to services for both urban and rural communities.

Oxfordshire councils must:

  • Prioritise investment in integrated cycling, walking, and public transport systems, including electric buses and taxis; a county-wide rapid transit network; electric car and bike charging points; and a network of good cycle routes within and between all larger towns.
  • Act (with government support) to reduce car use through measures such as road pricing / congestion charging, workplace parking levies and constraining road space, supported by re-regulating bus services.


National government must fund upgrade of rail infrastructure to include increased capacity and electrification between Didcot and Oxford, completion of the East–West Rail link to Cambridge (incorporating electrification), re-opening of the Cowley line, and new stations to service new growth / employment areas.


  1. Work

We need to create and maintain high quality green jobs for unskilled, semi-skilled and knowledge workers as part of the transition to a fair zero carbon future.

Oxfordshire councils must:

  • Focus the county industrial strategy and related plans on building a ‘circular economy’ aimed at minimising environmental impacts and improving wellbeing rather than just maximising economic growth, and on creating high quality green jobs that benefit all workers alike.
  • Develop local procurement plans as an incentive for rapid carbon reduction by focusing their purchase of goods and services on local businesses that meet agreed carbon reduction targets and / or have a clear social / environmental purpose such as cooperatives.
  • Create (with partners) a local Green Infrastructure Bank to provide investment finance for economic projects with ambitious carbon reduction targets.


National government must develop a ‘Green New Deal’ strategy to decarbonise the economy and eradicate inequality via public investment in clean energy, warm homes and affordable public transport that creates decent jobs and benefits for all.


  1. Energy

A clean fossil-free energy system will be an essential part of the transition to a zero-carbon economy. Some progress has been made in recent years, but faster action is needed. Fossil fuel power generation should be phased out by 2030.


Oxfordshire councils must:

  • Identify areas suitable for renewable energy and require the integration of renewable energy generation in all new developments.
  • Develop and implement an energy demand reduction strategy with countywide targets. This should include a mass home retrofitting programme to reduce energy use in existing houses including energy efficiency improvements, solar PV and behavioural programmes, starting with the most deprived areas first.


National government must:

  • Develop a clear Clean Energy Strategy that includes a reversal of the decision to prevent new onshore wind, support for community energy generation, and phasing out of fossil fuel extraction.
  • Phase out oil-fired boilers (still used in much of rural UK) and invest in replacing them with heat pumps or biomass boilers.


  1. Food

Changing what we eat and how it is produced will help achieve our zero-carbon target. Eating more locally grown food, fruit, vegetables, grains and pulses, and less meat, will also benefit our health, our economy and our countryside.

Oxfordshire councils should:

  • Ensure that all schools, hospitals, care homes and other institutions deliver meals that accord with the ‘Eatwell’ and WWFLivewell’ guidelines on healthy eating and that the majority of options on menus are healthy and plant-based, with less and better meat.
  • Retain existing land holdings and make these available where suitable for community-supported agriculture and food businesses.
  • Require food growing provision (such as roof gardens, community orchards and edible landscaping, including nut and fruit trees) to be incorporated into all new developments; and support moves to retrofit existing developments with such provision.

National government must:

  • Apply Value Added Tax to meat and high fat/sugar foods, as it already does to other luxury foods.
  • Design and implement a transition plan to sustainable, agro-ecological farming (see Nature section).


  1. Nature

By 2040 we need people and nature to be thriving together. People will feel healthier and happier. Oxfordshire’s next generation will understand that the natural world is the foundation of our wellbeing and prosperity: that we depend on it, and it depends on us.

Oxfordshire councils must:

  • Include in local Plans a local nature and ecosystem restoration plan (Nature Recovery Network) to reverse and restore habitats and species, and ecosystem quality.
  • Commit to doubling tree cover on council owned land and update local planning strategies to support doubling of tree cover across the local authority area.
  • Require all new developments to provide 100% biodiversity net gain.

National government must:

  • Enact a new Environment Act to support Nature Recovery Networks, put space for nature at the heart of our farming and planning systems and double tree cover (linked to a new Agriculture Act that will place a greater emphasis on farmers to be rewarded for improving the natural assets of their land).

Collaborative Housing

Community First Oxfordshire is hosting, together with a number of partner organisations (Oxfordshire Community Land Trust, Community Impact Bucks, Oxfordshire Community Foundation and Connecting Communities Berkshire) a community led housing support service.

The partners who make up Collaborative Housing provide information, advice and technical support to those who wish to deliver community-led housing projects. The partnership is new, funded by Government and is still developing. The aim is that local experts from across the Thames Valley will offer packages tailored to your needs. Collaborative Housing aims to take you from initial concept to homes on the ground. Collaborative Housing will be working with existing and new Community Land Trusts, cooperative and cohousing groups in both towns and villages to deliver small scale affordable housing developments. It’s a different kind of approach to housing development, grassroots led and collaborative.

  • Forming a group Including community-led housing delivery routes, organisational and legal entity structures, group processes and decision-making methods, community engagement, group visioning, governance and accountability.
  • Evidencing and consultation Including Housing Needs Surveys, research and data analysis and consultation strategy
  • Finding a site Including identifying sites and negotiating acquisition of land and property
  • Funding Including sourcing housing development funding, obtaining initial pro bono professional support, support for budgeting and financial planning, guiding grant proposals
  • Project planning Including signposting to specialist legal and professional services, preparing viable business plans and financial appraisal, signposting to design/architectural expertise, advice on project management, identifying and managing risks and negotiating with the Local Authority
  • Development Including advice on development finance, managing development projects and construction, selecting partners and consultants, preparing feasibility studies, design and building options, pre-planning / planning application development, managing contracts and negotiating with developers
  • Ongoing management Including advice on managing finance, managing buildings, group processes, regulatory requirements, allocations and membership.

For more information go to either Community First Oxfordshire www.communityfirstoxon.org or Collaborative Housing https://collaborativehousing.org.uk/contact.html


Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment – supporting nature’s recovery and reducing Oxfordshire’

Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment – supporting nature’s recovery and reducing Oxfordshire’s carbon footprint through natural climate solutions

 TOE applauds and encourages the excellent intentions already stated by Parish Councils throughout Oxfordshire, to consider how they can help reduce their community’s impact on climate change in their own small part of the county. The work already underway to make homes more energy efficient, to explore shared energy schemes, cycle ways and low energy transport schemes will all help towards achieving our joint goal to reduce our carbon footprint.

 TOE also urges Parish Councils to consider how they can support and enable a range of environmental projects that will result in greater levels of biodiversity and richer habitats which  help to restore nature, and reduce carbon emissions.

Each individual in the UK emits approximately 10 tonnes of carbon per year, from activities such as energy use, travel, food etc.

 Tree planting, hedgerows, orchards, grasslands and better managed soils all act as a vast carbon sink, absorbing the carbon in our atmosphere and helping to reduce greenhouse gases.

 TOE is raising funds to support a wide range of projects that will lock up carbon in Oxfordshire.  We are establishing a fund where individuals or organisations can donate through our website to offset their carbon by directly supporting habitat improvement projects which will sequester carbon. We can only support as many projects as our funds allow, so the more we raise, the more projects we can support.

 By working together, we can turn this around.



This is a FREE service for town and parish councils!

Oxfordshire County Council Gypsy and Traveller service is based at Bicester Fire Station, the service manages the six County Council owned Gypsy sites at Standlake, Benson, Wheatley, East Challow, Sandford on Thames and Redbridge Hollow, with 88 plots in total.

The service also deals with unauthorised encampments on land that is owned by parish and town councils, also District Councils and the County Council.

More information is on their website here https://www2.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/public-site/gypsies-and-travellers




Pete Gammond

Service Manager

07867 538 029






Ewa Fras

Traveller Site Officer

07554 115 677






Andy Rymer

Traveller Support Officer

07551 680 637


Working days - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.


Our office number       01865 815569.

Our office email:         Travellers@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Postal address:          Oxfordshire Gypsy and Traveller Services, 1st Floor, Bicester Fire Station, Queens Avenue, Bicester. OXON. OX26 2NR.

We are here to help and will also give advice, we have no control or influence over the private sites within the County but do visit them all twice a year.

Minerals and Waste Local Plan - Oxfordshire County Council


New Minerals and Waste Local Plan

A new framework of minerals and waste policies and proposals is being prepared by the County Council

They are preparing the new Oxfordshire Minerals and Waste Local Plan to provide up to date minerals and waste planning polices and proposals for the period to 2031. The new Local Plan is in two parts: Part 1 – Core Strategy; Part 2 – Site Allocations. It will replace the existing Minerals and Waste Local Plan which was adopted in 1996.

The Minerals and Waste Local Plan: Part 1 – Core Strategy was adopted on 12 September 2017 and they have now commenced work on Part 2 – Site Allocations (Sites Plan).

The Core Strategy sets out the vision, objectives, spatial planning strategy and policies for meeting development requirements for the supply of minerals and the management of waste in Oxfordshire over the period to 2031, and the Sites Plan sets out those mineral and waste sites needed to deliver the Core Strategy.

To view the Core Strategy and associated documents please visit the Core Strategy page.

How to be a flood resilient community - OCC

An online “toolkit” has been launched by Oxfordshire County Council which provides a “one-stop-shop” for flooding information and advice.

The new website, which can be found at http://www.oxfordshirefloodtoolkit.com brings together all you need to take action against the potential menace posed by flooding.


First of its kind in Oxfordshire

 It is the first resource of its kind in Oxfordshire and builds on the success of the approach in Northamptonshire. The site is also supported financially by Oxford City Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council, West Oxfordshire District Council and Thames Water.


How to guides – useful templates for parish councils

Visitors can browse through information helpfully organised under headings such as “Am I at Risk?” and learn how best to help themselves through a series of “How to” guides.

For parish councils go to the How to guides…. Tab and click on it, from the three choices on the drop down menu select ‘How to become a flood resilient community’. If you click on the How to …. Create a Community Emergency Plan you will find a useful template. If you click on How to … work with landowners in your community you will find template letters the council can adapt and send to riparian owners to encourage them to clear ditches and watercourses.

The toolkit also explains the different types of flooding with bespoke guides on how to deal with them and, for those responsible for things such as drains and streams running across their land, instructions on how to carry out preventative maintenance.

Interactive illustrations give visual inspiration for ways people can protect their properties and highlight some of the areas that would not instantly spring to mind, such as the garage, air bricks and cable holes.


Preventing the worst effects of flooding

County Councillor Rodney Rose, Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Knowledge and preparation is the key to preventing the worst effects of flooding.

The county council is the lead local flood authority for Oxfordshire which means that we have taken the idea of the flood toolkit seriously, and we are delighted with the support we have had from our partners.

“There is much that can be done to plan for and deal with flooding so that it affects you as little as possible. Doing your research acting now is far more effective and preferable to clearing up afterwards.

“Even just doing one or two of the things shown on the site such as signing up to a flood alert could make a big difference, but I would suggest people sit down and take some time to go through the toolkit and see just how much they could do to help themselves.

“The county council and partner agencies are playing their part to reduce the impact of flooding through developing and maintaining new and existing infrastructure. But that is only part of the picture – self-help is also needed.”


Find funding and teach the children

Other useful features on the toolkit site include links that could help secure funding for flood related projects and an educational pack for schools.

If you have any questions or queries Chris Brown, Oxfordshire Strategic Flood Risk Management Officer is happy to talk to you, his contact details are:

Mobile: 07775 025 240

email: chris.brown@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Oxfordshire County Council, Environment and Economy,

County Hall,  New Road,

Oxford,  Oxfordshire OX1 1ND

Community Transport

With the disapperance of bus subsidies from the county council, communities are investigating alternatives. Oxfordshire County Council Comet Bus has been very successful.

The Community Transport Association  is a charity which exists to support its members and to act as the lead UK body for voluntary and community transport. In developing local solutions to national concerns, operators of community transport can respond to both individual and collective needs and drive forward social regeneration in their communities.

If you operate a minibus, a volunteer car scheme, a shopmobility project or a wheels to work project CTA can provide you with advice and support to ensure your transport is operated safely and legally.

The CTA website has useful information on it. 

Community First Oxfordshire also assists communities with community transport schemes more information here

The Community Information Network

The Community Information Network is a free local information service for older people in Oxfordshire, run by Age UK Oxfordshire (Charity No. 1091529) in partnership with Volunteer Link-Up and supported by Oxfordshire County Council.

The CIN is delighted to be able to introduce the Community Information Network Directory – a new online search tool to enable people to find out about the fantastic variety of opportunities that are available to older people and carers in Oxfordshire.

The Directory is free and simple to use and features a wide variety of activities, support and opportunities to help people to live life to the full. There are over 1,700 items listed so far, from exercise classes to IT classes and singing groups, lunch clubs, WIs, mobile libraries and many more. If you know about an opportunity that isn’t currently listed, there is also the ability to submit a new item.

To browse the Directory, click on the Community Information Network Directory link or you can access it via Age UK Oxfordshire’s website at www.ageuk.org.uk/oxfordshire.

If you know of a person who is unable to go online to use the Directory, they can simply call the Community Information Network on 0345 450 1276 and we can make a search on their behalf.

Open Spaces Society - tool-kit to save open spaces

Toolkit For Saving Open Spaces


Golden Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight

As part of our campaign to save England’s much-loved open spaces, we have published an open spaces tool-kit for communities to protect their green spaces, and have called on planning authorities to respond positively to requests to save local spaces.

Our tool-kit consists of three handbooks:

How to win local green space through neighbourhood plans;
Community assets and protecting open space and
Local Green Space Designation

Parish Transport Representative - Is there one in your parish?

Community First Oxfordshire and Oxfordshire County Council established a network of Parish Transport Representatives (PTRs) in 1986 to give communities in wards, towns and villages a means of voicing their needs and concerns about local transport in their patches. 

The administration of the PTR network is undertaken by the County Council and PTR meetings are held three times a year.   The meetings provide an opportunity for officers to keep PTRs up to date on issues of which they need to be aware in fulfilling their roles.  The meetings also provide an opportunity for officers to gain feedback from PTRs in relation to general issues of policy and practice.

There are PTRs in approx. 188 parishes and towns, leaving a large number of parishes, towns and wards without a PTR, which means that it is unlikely that transport issues are being represented in your community. One of the roles of the PTR is to publicise existing local public transport services and support any community transport scheme in their area or even to initiate suitable community transport services in the wake of changing public transport provision.

If you are aware that your community does not have a PTR then it would be great if you could step up to be that person or help to drum up a volunteer that can take the role on for the community.

If you would like further information on the role of the PTR then please get in touch with CFO by emailing emily.lewis-edwards@communityfirstoxon.org or call 01865 883488

Safeguarding children is everybody’s responsibility

Safeguarding children means taking steps to promote their welfare and to protect them from harm such as abuse and neglect. It is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that children are kept safe. Oxfordshire communities are a key resource for raising awareness of safeguarding and protecting children and young people. The more informed local members of the community are on safeguarding issues, the more they can help the prevention agenda and help to identify when there are possible risks to our children.


Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (OSCB)

Children can only be kept safe properly if services and organisations work together. Local Safeguarding Children Boards were established by the Children Act 2004 to help make sure this happens.

Known locally as the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (OSCB), the Board is the means by which organisations come together to agree on how they will cooperate with one another to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Its remit is to scrutinise and monitor this co-operation, and to ensure that local agencies co-operate and work well to achieve this.

Contact the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Board https://www.oscb.org.uk for more information, oscb@oxfordshire.gov.uk or 01865 815834


Expectations for your organisation

Your local parish council should consider, if appropriate, having in place:-

  • A Safeguarding Children Policy and procedure for raising a concern or making a referral to children’s social care;
  • A basic level of understanding by members of signs of abuse and neglect, and know how to contact their designated safeguarding lead within the district council.


How to report a concern about a child

Oxfordshire County Council, Thames Valley Police and other partners have recently opened a new Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). This is the main ‘front door’ for children’s social care, and is made up of professionals from social care, the police, health, early intervention and others.

To make a new referral or report a new safeguarding concern, contact the MASH on 0845 050 7666. Referrals to the MASH can also be made using the MASH Enquiry Online Referral Form.

For children who are already open to social care:


No Names Consultation

If you are a safeguarding lead and you are unsure whether you should make a referral, or you just want some advice, you can call the assessment team numbers above and ask for a No Names Consultation. A social worker will be able to advise you if you need to make a referral or not, based on the information you give them, without having to divulge a name. If you are advised to make a referral, the social worker will talk you through the process.


Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

The sexual exploitation of children and young people has been identified throughout the UK, in both rural and urban areas, and in all parts of the world. It affects boys and young men, as well as girls and young women. It can have a serious long term impact on every aspect of their lives, health and education. It damages the lives of their families and carers, and can lead to family break ups.

  • Sexual exploitation is where a young person under 18 receives ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, gifts, money) as a result of performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities.
  • Child sexual exploitation can occur through use of technology, for example the persuasion to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones with no immediate payment or gain.
  • In all cases the person exploiting the young person has power over them by virtue of age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources.
  • Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative relationship being characterised in the main by the child or young person’s limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability.

Signs that may indicate child sexual exploitation;

  • Going missing from school/home/care placement
  • Associating with older people/adults
  • Isolation from family/friends/peer group
  • Physical symptoms including bruising/sexually transmitted infections
  • Substance misuse
  • Mental health problems
  • Unexplained possessions, goods and or money

Oxfordshire has a multi-agency strategy in place to protect young people from CSE.  If you are concerned about a child and think they may be involved in, or at risk of, sexual exploitation, please contact the Kingfisher Team on 01865 335276. They offer confidential support and advice on sexual exploitation. The team is made up of police, the NHS and Members of Oxfordshire County Councils; Childrens Social Services.


Find out more

Community members can become more involved through:

  • Multi-agency training – free face to face courses where you can meet other professionals working with children;
  • Short online courses - these can be found at http://www.oscb.org.uk/training.html, including Safeguarding Everyone and Safeguarding Children from Abuse by Sexual Exploitation;
  • Letting local groups working with children know that they can link in to Area Safeguarding Groups and sign up for the OSCB’s Newsletter.

Please visit our website for information about safeguarding training, policies and procedures, and to find useful resources and information to help protect children and young people: www.oscb.org.uk.

Oxfordshire County Council have developed a template Parish Council Safeguarding Policy it is in the Members Area of this website in the OALC Briefings, other guidance etc section

Employment advice service for OALC members

Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils has an  employment advice service available for member councils. Queries regarding staff issues within the council such as terms and conditions, employment rights, sickness absence, annual leave, maternity etc can be answered by our Employment Advisor.

This service, which is available free of charge to all members councils, is provided by Chris Moses, Personnel Advice and Solutions Ltd.

Chris writes a monthly employment briefing which goes in the Members Update and is placed in the Members Area of the website too.

In addition a consultancy service for more complex issues relating to employment disputes, restructuring, organisational change, recruitment and selection will be available through OALC at competitive rates.

Chris Moses holds a Masters Degree in Employment Law, with Distinction, from Leicester University. He is also a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has over twenty years front line HR experience. 

His website is here


Five year Management Plan for the Chilterns AONB

The Chilterns AONB Management Plan 2019 – 2024: Caring for the Chilterns forever and for everyone was produced by the Chilterns Conservation Board following a review of the 2014 – 2019 Plan and wide public consultation. It contains a comprehensive summary of the key issues facing the AONB and the management policies and actions needed to conserve this special place.

The delivery of the actions highlighted in the Management Plan is not the responsibility of the Conservation Board alone. The involvement of a wide range of organisations is essential in achieving the Plan’s aims over the next five years.

More details here

Fix my Street

The County Councils 'Fix my Street' is the best way of reporting pot holes on line.

People can take photographs of potholes and upload them online with location details.

The council's contractor pledges to fix potholes within 28 days, 24 hours in an emergency or four hours for the most severe category once reports have been verified.

Go tohttp://fixmystreet.oxfordshire.gov.uk/

Model Parish Council Resilience Plan

Oxfordshire County Council has produced Community Emergency Planning guidance, together with a plan template and an example for guidance. More information here

Simple community emergency plans are designed to achieve the following:

  • Identification of safe places to use as a refuge for people displaced from their homes in the short term (hours) and how to open them at short notice at any time. These are known as ‘Survivor Reception Centre’s’ by emergency services and it would help if this terminology could be used in your plan.
  • Identification of people that can and are willing to help in an emergency.
  • Identification of equipment that might be useful for self-help in an emergency.
  • Identification of vulnerable or potentially vulnerable people in the community.
  • A list of useful contacts for use in a crisis.

A number of communities have already produced their own plans for specific emergencies; flood plans developed with the Environment Agency being the most notable example.

In most cases the information compiled in the development of these plans would be useful in a number of different emergency scenarios and we recommend that you consider the production of a general emergency plan.

Where communities have particular vulnerabilities, for example, flooding or are cut off in snow, additional information may be useful in the form of an annex to the plan.

Next steps

Community emergency planning guidance

Oxfordshire County Council follows the UK Government guidance, toolkit and templates for Community Emergency Plans, which can be found on gov.uk.

Cotswold AONB Conservation Board: Guidance on Roadside Management for Parish Councils

An abridged version of the Board’s position statement on The Management of Roadside Verges has been developed specifically for use by parish councils and other groups managing rural roadside verges in and around villages in the AONB.

Click here to view the guide on the AONB website, along with rest of the Board’s full position statements.

The enewsletter of the Cotswold AONB can be viewed here