Oxfordshire considering unitary status

11 May 16

Oxfordshire council is to consider options to become a unitary authority in a review that will examine whether reorganisation could help reduce costs and protect services.

The authority announced yesterday that it had appointed Grant Thornton to undertake a review of all options for local authority structures, including the status quo. Alternative options could include the creation of one or more new unitary councils in the county, which would be responsible for all local government services rather than the current split between the county and districts.

Announcing the review, county council leader Ian Hudspeth said that he was convinced that local government needs to change in Oxfordshire, and it was vital to make the right decision to protect council services for the future. 

“The key issue for me is not about structures but more about how we can join up services efficiently to provide the best possible services for the people of Oxfordshire,” he added.

“Council taxpayers will want to know the facts so they can make up their own minds, and that is what this independent review will provide. We will be publishing the findings as soon as we have them so we can involve everyone in that debate. After all, it is about our future.”

Grant Thornton has been asked to consider the best structure for local government in the county against five key points: service delivery and outcomes, cost savings and value for money, stronger leadership, economic growth and infrastructure, and local engagement and empowerment.

Guy Clifton, head of local government advisory at Grant Thornton said the firm hoped to help ensure a sustainable future for local government services for the communities and businesses of Oxfordshire.

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