Monday, 21 June 2021

Rotary Club of Henley Bridge meeting

DAVID BUCKLE, chief executive of South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils gave a talk to

DAVID BUCKLE, chief executive of South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils gave a talk to the club on March 25.

Mr Buckle, a town planner by training, who has worked in the public and private sectors, talked about three things: improving performance, the fire at the councils’ offices in Crowmarsh and the forthcoming elections.

He joined South Oxfordshire District Council in 1996 and became chief executive in 2000. When the council and Vale of White Horse agreed to share a senior management team in 2008, he became chief executive of both.

He said the performance of South Oxfordshire had improved since he had been in post and now it was one of the best-performing authorities in the country with a residents’ satisfaction rate of over 70 per cent.

One of the key areas of improvement was recycling performance, which was now the best in the country at 67 per cent.

Working with Vale of White Horse had improved services for both councils and helped to reduce costs.

When the fire at the offices in happened, he was on holiday skiing with his son.

He was woken at 6am to be told about the fire and when he asked how bad the situation was he was told to turn on the TV and watch BBC news.

He was very shocked at the news footage but having checked that there was nothing he could usefully do in the short term and that everything possible was in hand, he continued his holiday.

The council is waiting to hear just how badly the building has been damaged with the main consideration being the condition of the structural steel. If this has been irrevocably damaged the building will have to be demolished.

The survey results are expected in June or July after the elections and a decision will be made once all of the survey reports have been received.

Mr Buckle said it was a godsend that the two councils had been working so closely together because it had allowed a quarter of the South Oxfordshire staff to be accommodated in a council office in Abingdon with additional space in an office next door and new offices on the other side of Didcot.He explained the challenges for the council in the run-up to a general election, such as ensuring that as many people as possible are registered to vote and that those registered are able to cast their vote either by post or at polling stations.

There are three places that the votes for the parliamentary election will be counted â?? Abingdon, Henley and Thame. The result is likely to be published in the early hours of Friday, May 8. In addition to the general election, there are district council elections with the results being declared on the Friday and 80 town and parish council elections with the results announced on the Saturday.

A vote of thanks was given by Malcolm Leonard.

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