Cross Directorate Working – It’s What It’s All About!
County Council Officers Deborah Whelan (Environment and Economy) and Elizabeth Agar (Social and Community Services) ran a ‘double act’ presentation to Oxford Pedestrians Association (OxPA) at Town Hall Oxford about what the Oxfordshire County Council can do to assist people with sensory and mobility difficulties.
Every journey begins with planning where you want to go. If however you have a visual impairment, this planning can take more consideration /aforethought and may require specialist training from a Rehabilitation Officer from the Visual Impairment Team, to get beyond your property, along the pavement and on to do what you want.
A collaboration between Rehabilitation Officers, Highways and Transport teams, and information providers (such as the Oxfordshire Association for the Blind (OAB) and Talking Newspapers) help piece together the ‘links in a chain’ necessary to ensure safe and independent travel on our pavements, highways and public transport networks. If there are difficulties we work together to effect change.
What many people may not know however is about the raft of standards and background work that go into making routes safe and easy to use – from adopted standards (such as the use of national tactile paving surfaces) street lighting & pedestrian crossing point updates, tree and hedge cutting (to prevent an unexpected cold shower as you walk under overgrowth), repairs, management & maintenance of surfaces, training sessions for customers and staff (Be safe be seen, Footsteps, School Crossing Patrols, Travel with Confidence etc.) and ongoing engagements with our customer representative groups on scheme developments (such as Oxford Bus Companies audible and visual travel information on buses). Not to mention the specialist travel information line OXTAIL on 01865 323738.
Naturally, customers’ views are used to advise on priorities in scheme design for example – we liaise with partner organisations – such as bus companies and customer representatives to continue to bring the best services and support to meet our residents’ needs.