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Everyone’s different so tell us how council services can be easier to access

We come in all shapes and sizes, we look and sound different, and we all see things differently.

South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils value and embrace these differences – as these are the things that make each of us unique.

It doesn’t matter who they are, everyone will eventually need something from their councils. That’s why the district councils in South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse are asking people to share their views on how they can make it easier for people with different needs to access their services, support and information.

From 8 August, residents can help to create a new Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. Its purpose is to lay out how the councils will go further than just their legal requirements, which they already achieve, to help people access their services in the best way possible for their needs.

The councils want everyone to say what would help them most when they interact with them. Residents contact the councils about a wide variety of services, such as finding out about bin collections, council tax queries, housing or financial support and guidance on submitting a planning application.

Cllr Bethia Thomas, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “No matter what your needs are, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to get the help you need from the council. Everyone is different and we shouldn’t try and guess the best ways to help them – that’s why we want to hear from you. Please do tell us how we can help you get what you need from us – and in the best possible way for you.”

Cllr Maggie Filipova-Rivers, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “There is a lot of misunderstanding as to what Diversity and Inclusion means. Diversity isn’t an unimportant buzz word; it is the recognition that we all experience life differently. So, it’s crucial that we show our commitment to understanding how differences can make it harder for people to feel included and to access our services. We look forward to hearing and learning from members of our diverse communities on how we can continue to improve our practice.”

A short survey opens from 8 August until 11.59pm on Monday 19 September.

People can access the survey online at www.southandvale.gov.uk/DI and alternative formats and languages are also available by contacting haveyoursay@southandvale.gov.uk or calling 01235 422 425.