Local communities reap multi million pound rewards from new ground-breaking organisation

Local communities reap multi million pound rewards from new ground-breaking organisation

A new ground-breaking, social enterprise-inspired organisation set up by the City Council to deliver outstanding public services has contributed over £37m to the economy of Oxford and Oxfordshire in its first year, says new report.

ODS, a new, social enterprise-inspired model of public service delivery, wholly owned by Oxford City Council, made a substantial contribution to the Oxfordshire economy in its first year of operation, according to the findings of a new, independent Economic Impact Assessment report.

Commissioned to evaluate how the new model has performed in its first year of operation and its broader impact on the local economy, the report reveals that ODS contributed £37.6m to the Oxfordshire economy and supported 1,131 jobs across the county.

Cllr Nigel Chapman, Oxford City Council's Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services said: “This shows that the City Council's decision to establish ODS on social enterprise principles is paying off. It is forging new revenue streams for the City Council, which in turn creates new jobs, encourages wider spending with local businesses in the area and returns a dividend to the City Council to fund local services directly.”

“The Council has created an "Oxford model" that has allowed us to retain and increase investment in communities at a time when many other local authorities are being forced to reduce their expenditure after outsourcing services. I hope more organisations will invite ODS to work for them and support the business model we have pioneered, which delivers high quality results and community value at the same time.”

The report also highlights that the organisation allocated £19.5m of its total £26.4m annual goods and services expenditure to Oxfordshire businesses, with £14.7m spent with Oxford suppliers. This equates to 74p in every pound of goods and services expenditure being spent with suppliers in Oxfordshire, and 56p in every pound with suppliers in Oxford.

According to the report, ODS now provides almost 700 jobs in Oxford, with just over a half, 51 per cent, of employees living in the city and a further 44 per cent living in surrounding Oxfordshire towns and villages, making the organisation one the largest employer of skilled trade workers in Oxford.

The organisation’s £22.5m annual spend on wages and salaries is estimated to create disposable income of £13.8m, £6m of which is believed to have been spent in Oxford, with a further £3.8m being spent elsewhere in the county. The organisation provides the Oxford Living Wage for all its employees and encourages its suppliers do the same. 

The report proves this new Oxford business model is doing good for the community in many different ways and to help the public understand this, a new identity for the organisation has been created that transforms the three waves of Oxford City Council logo into the wings of an angel.

The report also highlights a positive commitment to the continuing professional development of ODS staff with nearly 3,000 training courses undertaken and an investment of some £200k on external training for staff in 2018/19. The organisation has also employed 38 apprentices.

Emphasising ODS’s positive environmental impact, the report cites eight national and local awards won for the quality of services delivered to create a clean, green Oxford. Of particular pride to ODS is its APSE Transport and Operations and Vehicle Management Best Performer Award made in recognition of the 15 per cent of zero or reduced emissions vehicles that now make up ODS’s 350 vehicle fleet.

Where it is not yet possible to replace some types of service vehicles with reduced emissions models, such as heavy good vehicles, ODS has instead concentrated on reducing HGV fleet mileage and in doing so has managed CO2 reductions of an estimated 6.7 tonnes.

“Our first Economic Impact Assessment highlights that a great deal has been achieved in our inaugural year, and we can confidently say we are a ‘doing good’ business. ODS contributes to Oxford City Council’s revenues but also, through its commercial operations, is doing good across the wider region”, said Simon Howick, Managing Director of ODS.

““But”, he added, “there is still some way to go. The more revenue we can generate, the more Oxford City Council can plough back into our communities. That’s why we’ve created a new look for the organisation, to help businesses and householders in Oxford and the surrounding county understand that we’re a successful new type of business; one which, as the Economic Impact Assessment Report has shown, is doing good for the whole area.”

Highlights from the Economic Impact Assessment Report and the ODS Annual Report 2018/2019 are available from the ODS website: www.odsgroup.co.uk/About-ODS