Three changes in cabinet shuffle at County Council
Roles in highways, adult social care and community services and safety handed out
by Andy Mitchell, Local Democracy Reporter
Leader Liz Leffman has announced three changes to Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet after a year of achieving “far more than we might have imagined”.
Councillor Neil Fawcett (Lib Dem, Abingdon South) is the only member to leave the top team, doing so of his own volition, with Councillor Andrew Gant (Lib Dem, Wolvercote & Summertown) drafted in at the end of a first year in power for the Fair Deal Alliance – the coalition of Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green Party councillors that took charge after the 2021 elections.
Cllr Gant, the county’s cycling champion, takes on responsibility for highway management with Councillor Tim Bearder (Lib Dem, Wheatley) relinquishing that post to become the cabinet member for adult social care.
Cllr Bearder replaces Councillor Jenny Hannaby (Lib Dem, Grove & Wantage) who moves on to community services and safety, the post vacated by Cllr Fawcett.
Cllr Leffman (Lib Dem, Charlbury & Wychwood) said the moves had been “prompted” by Cllr Fawcett’s decision, adding: “I would like to thank him very much for his work over the past 12 months, he has been a vital member of the team.
“He has been responsible for bringing forward our libraries and heritage strategy amongst other things, working very closely with the Fire and Rescue Service who I know very much appreciate his support.”
The move that ruffled the most feathers, particularly on social media, was Cllr Bearder’s shift away from highways. He attracted waves of criticism over his stance on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), although his party, including Cllr Leffman, has maintained unflinching support.
Announcing Cllr Bearder’s new post, Cllr Leffman said: “It is a very important portfolio for us.
“It is the largest budget we have in this council and a very responsible role, involving the lives of some of the county’s most vulnerable residents.
“We are facing big pressures with adult social care over the next 12 months, partly because of inflation but also because of the changes the government is making to the way adult social care is delivered.
“I am very happy to welcome Councillor Bearder into this role. We have heard how he has rolled out the 20 miles-per-hour scheme and I hope he will apply the same sort of pressure to adult social care, making sure that we run an exemplary service in this county.”
Cllr Leffman added: “It has been an amazing year. We have done a great deal together, we have actually achieved far more than we might have imagined at the beginning of the year.
“We have lots more to do. I look forward to another year with our cabinet members and being able to come back to this chamber in a year’s time and report that we have managed to implement a large number of the things we stipulated as priorities of this council.”
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam