We understand that the five Oxfordshire District Councils and the County Council are jointly preparing a proposal which justifies the devolution of powers from central government, leading to access to significant development funding. The proposal includes the establishment of a combined authority led by an elected Mayor. We believe that it resembles the successful devolution proposal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Meanwhile the County Council is also promoting an alternative local government arrangement as the basis for a devolution proposal, which includes the abolition of the existing Councils and the establishment of a single ‘unitary’ Council, possibly with an elected Mayor.
OCS is delighted that both proposals attempt to give the vision and coherence to development planning and management we have been calling for in Oxfordshire ever since we published our Oxford Futures report in 2014.
In a lecture organised by the Society in July last year (follow the link for the report) Professor Robin Hambleton, author of ‘Leading the Inclusive City’ and reports for the Local Government Association, has suggested evaluation criteria that focus on governance. They complement the analyses of financial efficiency and we believe they provide a good basis for a gap analysis. Our plan is to undertake such an analysis to show how far the different proposals go towards satisfying the governance criteria and what the gaps look like. This is the proforma we intend to use. We would be delighted to hear the views of others.
Download the Devolution Gap Analysis proforma.