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How good is your council? Districts release annual performance reviews

The district councils in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse receive seven per cent of your council tax, so it’s important you know how they’re doing and that you’re getting value for money.

Both councils are committed to transparency and to being accountable for their actions, and as part of that commitment they’ve published their first annual performance reports. 

Available on the councils’ websites, the reports show how the councils are doing against the priorities set out in their respective Corporate Plans.

The reports show that both councils are making good progress on those priorities, despite a number of challenging circumstances, including the significant ongoing impact of Covid-19, increasing inflation, and the commitment of resources to step in and support Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.

Both councils have priorities to tackle the Climate Emergency and so have adopted Climate Action Plans and are taking action to reduce their carbon emissions.

Vale of White Horse secured £361,000 of funding from the Government to fully refurbish the heating system at Faringdon Leisure Centre, while South Oxfordshire has completed its decarbonisation report for Thame Leisure Centre and has also undertaken work at the both the Abbey Sports and Henley Leisure Centres to reduce emissions.

Providing homes people need is also a priority for both councils and between them they have delivered nearly 600 new affordable homes, exceeding the targets for Vale (298 homes delivered with a target of 250) and South (288 homes delivered with a target of 280).

The reports also set out where the councils haven’t made as much progress as they’d like, with Vale of White Horse District Council highlighting the need to speed up progress on its Air Management Plan, while South Oxfordshire’s report sets out that it wants to do more to  deliver council-owned net-zero-homes.

Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Our annual performance report allows us to rightly be held to account by the public on how we are doing in delivering our priorities such as tackling the climate emergency, which we know is vital in achieving a carbon neutral future.

“While there are always some areas we could improve on, we have made good progress on our aims despite a difficult financial situation following Covid-19 and exacerbated by the rising cost of living.”

David Rouane, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We are committed to being open and transparent and publishing our annual report is part of that commitment.

“Looking back at the past year, I am proud of the tireless work in helping those in need, from those feeling the impacts of Covid-19, to refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine, to those hardest hit by the cost-of-living crisis.”

The performance reports were presented to the South and Vale cabinets on 23 and 24 June and respectively.

They can now be viewed by all by visiting the South and Vale websites.

The full list of priorities set out in the South Oxfordshire Corporate Plan are:

  • Protect and Restore our Natural World
  • Openness and accountability
  • Action on the climate emergency
  • Improved economic and community well-being
  • Homes and infrastructure that meet local needs
  • Investment that rebuilds our financial viability

The Vale’s are:

  • Providing the homes people need
  • Tackling the Climate Emergency
  • Building healthy communities
  • Building stable finances
  • Working in partnership
  • Working in an open and inclusive way