Oxfordshire Voice and some of the key founding members of the organisation have been meeting recently to mark an important and symbolic event.
Richard Rosser and members of the OV team have been handing over copies of the inaugural OV Blue Paper to the head of Oxford City Council, Susan Brown,, County Council leader, Ian Hudspeth, the head of OxLep, Nigel Tipple and Bev Hindle from the Growth Board.
All four have supported the intentions and philosophy behind Oxfordshire Voice from the outset.
“Oxfordshire Voice fills in the missing part of the jigsaw,” according to Nigel Tipple. “The key to ensuring business and local authorities can work together efficiently and affectively is communication. That’s communication between these groups and communication with the outside world to make sure our colllective vision for the future is known and progress is clear for all to see.”
Oxfordshire and particularly the city of Oxford is in an almost unique position in the country in as much as it does have many ingredients needed to run a successful business already on hand. But, according to Susan Brown. there is so much more to be done and this is where Oxfordshire Voice comes in.
“The lack of space to build work and living accommodation is an issue in Oxfordshire and particularly in the city of Oxford,” explains Susan.
“For example, the city is surrounded by protected greenbelt areas which were designated as such back in the 1960s. We really have to look at reassigning much of this land. This is one of the solutions to the problem of space we have in Oxford. Working with Oxfordshire Voice allows the council to communicate effectively and efficiently with the business community and explain so much of what we are doing to improve working lives in the area.”
Providing adequate workspace, living space and affordable housing is a key goal of the county and city councils and one of the areas which Oxfordshire Voice has earmarked as key to the future business success of the region.
Ensuring we have an effective technology and transport infrastructure is also vital to the future. Making sure an available workforce not only in the United Kingdom but across the globe understands and appreciates the attraction of living and working in Oxfordshire is also key to its business future. This is also where the voice of Oxfordshire through Oxfordshire Voice comes in.
According to Bev Hindle, who leads the Growth Board for the county, there is often a disconnect between the short, medium and long term plans local authorities instigate and the way they are perceived by the business community.
“This is one of our biggest challenges,” added Bev. “Messaging that many initiatives take many years to come to fruition puts us in a difficult position at times. Getting the business community and local authorities together through Oxforshire Voice allows us an even more effective forum to tell our story and help our mission to explain and not be misunderstood.” According to Bev, OV’s ability to allow business and policy makers to collaborate is so important.
The OV Blue Paper is a litmus test on progress and documents how local authorities and businesses are progressing and working together for the good of our county.
The message is key…if you want to have your say, get involved with Oxfordshire Voice because the only way we are going to make things better for everyone is for more of us to come together to solve the problems.