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Community placed at heart of decision making with new policy

A new initiative will put community at the centre of decision-making when South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils buy goods and services.

The councils have pledged their commitment to Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership’s (OIEP) charter.

It means when the councils agree contracts, they will assess what support the supplier can offer the local community, as well as the value for money of the contract.

The council will look wherever possible to buy goods and services from local organisations, including SMEs, social enterprises, and cooperatives.

Councillor Neil Fawcett, Vale of White Horse District Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “These pledges show we are committed to creating a more equal and sustainable community that benefits everyone.

“We hope being part of the charter will create more opportunities and benefit everyone.”

Councillor Robin Bennett, South Oxfordshire District Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, and Deputy Leader, said: “By looking to buy from local organisations first, we aim to reduce our carbon footprint while better supporting suppliers in the area to bid for council contracts and boosting the local economy.

“We’ll also be supporting our staff to volunteer at local community projects, which we hope will enable them to build new skills and links with their communities, benefitting all involved.

“We’d like to encourage our many fantastic local businesses of all sizes to follow suit and make their own pledges.”

The councils will be ensuring they meet their pledges by monitoring our progress through our quarterly reports, which are available for the public to see.

The pledges align with the Vale’s priority of building stable finances and South Oxfordshire’s priority of improving economic and community wellbeing, by helping implement an ethical buying policy, engaging with purposeful organisations, and deriving additional social benefit from the money spent.

The Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership is working to tackle some of our region’s biggest problems to create a fairer environment where everyone can contribute and share in our success.

The OIEP’s work supports the delivery of Oxfordshire’s Strategic Vision for Long-Term Sustainable Development, which all of Oxfordshire’s six councils have adopted.