Organisations plan ahead to prepare for Brexit

Agencies across Oxfordshire have been working together to prepare for when the UK leaves the EU at the end of March.

Although there is national uncertainty about the short-term impact of Brexit, Oxfordshire will be well prepared. Short-term risks to public safety and normal daily life have been assessed as ‘low’ by emergency planners in Oxfordshire.

Read the Government's advice to people and businesses about leaving the EU

Public bodies in Oxfordshire are working closely together, including councils, the emergency services and NHS. Potential risks are being monitored and information shared.

Chief Fire Officer Simon Furlong said: “Proportionate planning is underway to manage risks and take opportunities identified, including public services, utilities and transport. There are already plans in place to cover most of possible types of short-term disruption that have been identified.

“The biggest risk of disruption is to transport and the supply chain, for instance managing lorry traffic to or from the south coast ports. The Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum already has plans to manage the impact of major disruption to strategic roads in the area which are being reviewed in the context of Brexit.

“Potential risks to vulnerable people have been identified and are being mitigated, for instance by working with care providers to ensure plans are in place to respond disruption to staffing availability or the supply chain.

“Oxfordshire has a strong local economy that means it is relatively well placed to deal with any immediate economic change from leaving the EU. That said, we recognise concerns expressed by local employers about issues such as supply chain and staffing. We have contacted the government in relation to Oxfordshire’s science and innovation sector.”

Giles Hughes, Head of Paid Service for West Oxfordshire District Council, “We are working together with our partners from across the county to monitor the situation; to build good relationships and stay abreast of developments as more information about the Brexit process becomes available. This joined-up approach to planning gives us confidence that there is no significant risk posed to council services, whatever outcome is agreed by central government.”

Graeme Kane, Chief Operating Officer for Cherwell District Council, said: “Oxfordshire communities should be reassured their local councils and agencies are working together to prepare for the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. Thanks to our strong and vibrant local economy, any disruption to Oxfordshire as a result of Brexit has been assessed as being low risk. Nevertheless, we are working together to ensure plans are in place to support our communities and businesses through this period of change.”

Andrew Down, Head of Partnership and Insight at Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Councils, said: “We’re not expecting any significant impact on our part of the country, but we hope our residents are reassured that we have been working together across Oxfordshire to ensure the councils here are well prepared.”

Oxford City Council Chief Executive Gordon Mitchell said: ““While there is much uncertainty about Brexit, we do know that Oxfordshire is in a good position to deal with any issues that may occur. The county’s councils and other public services have a long history of working together sufficiently and effectively and this is also true with Brexit. I am confident that we are well-placed to minimise any disruption.”