Sue Robb of 4Children talks to Julie Laughton and Alison Britton from the Department for Education about the role of childminders in delivering the 30 hours free entitlement.
New Oxford Direct Services Ltd enterprise launched
Oxford City Council has announced the transformation of its direct services operations into a wholly-owned social enterprise called Oxford Direct Services Ltd (ODS).
ODS will have responsibility to deliver the council’s statutory services that are currently provided to residents and business, including waste and recycling, street cleaning, car park operations, parks maintenance and road repairs. Additionally, the ODS will cover additional services such as garden waste collection, pest control, vehicle MOTs and building services.
The council’s direct services has helped contribute to extra funding for the authority, which has helped offset government cuts in recent years. However, by establishing it as a social enterprise, the council can continue to extend its commercial operations and generate additional income but steer away from previously imposed limits on council departments. ODS aims to return £10.4 million back to the council over the next four years.
Gordon Mitchell, chief executive of the council said: "The city council’s Direct Services team has long served the people of Oxford by providing high quality, reliable services. Not only that, it has been successful in the commercial world and in doing so has brought income to the council. Now, as a social enterprise, owned entirely by the city council, ODS is set to expand its operations, benefiting all of its customers, including residents of Oxford.
"ODS is the ‘People’s Company’, with 100 per cent of its returns coming back to the city of Oxford, benefiting the community as a whole rather than private shareholders. That money will help offset the impact of the removal of government grant funding we receive, allowing us to maintain – and improve - council services."
The new company will be wholly owned by Oxford City Council, and will remain fully accountable to the council and its elected representatives.