We are excited to share that the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership has launched the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Charter, which is a pledge to make our workplaces fairer and contribute directly to our local communities. The Charter has been developed by the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership and was launched at an event at Oxford’s Old Fire Station on Tuesday 24 January 2023. By signing up to the Charter, organisations and individuals can demonstrate their commitment to social issues and take actions to make our workplaces fairer. This could be by recruiting from a more diverse talent pool, employing more local people, using more local suppliers and paying a fair local wage. Oxfordshire is one of only three regions that contributes a surplus to the UK economy (Cambridgeshire and London being the others), but despite our global position and perceived affluence, our wealth and opportunities are not evenly distributed. According to the 2019 English Indices of Deprivation, 17 of 121 wards in Oxfordshire are amongst the most deprived areas in England. These are mostly contained within 10 wards – one in Abingdon, three in Banbury and six in Oxford.
We believe that by signing up to the Charter, organisations can make a real difference in our local communities. The Charter launch event was a great opportunity to learn more about the Inclusive Economy Charter and find out how we can get involved. We were inspired by the keynote speakers, Professor Irene Tracey, Vice-Chancellor of University of Oxford and Darren Burns, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Timpson Group and Head of Timpson Foundation. Other speakers included Mark Beard, Chairman at Beard Construction, and representatives from Thames Water and local organisations SOFEA, ARCh – Assisted Reading for Children, Aspire and RAW Workshop. It was fantastic to see so many organisations who are committed to making Oxfordshire a fairer place to live and work.
Jeremy Long, Joint Chair of the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership, said:
“Everyone has a part to play in creating a thriving inclusive economy in Oxfordshire. Actively supporting inclusivity generates real benefits for organisations, as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors have become increasingly important in the business landscape. Signing the Charter demonstrates commitment to social issues and accessing a wider and more diverse talent pool makes employers more attractive to staff and customers, which in turn supports greater growth and efficiency. Purchasing from local suppliers, encouraging staff to volunteer in the community and support their own and other’s life-long learning all maximises social value and gives back to the local community”.
Baroness Jan Royall, Joint Chair of the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership, said:
“We have been delighted to see how much enthusiasm and goodwill there is for this vital work. At this early stage of the Partnership it is fantastic to see so many organisations and individuals coming forward to work together to make Oxfordshire a more inclusive and equal place. One of the benefits of getting involved is that the Partnership represents a broad spectrum of organisations and provides great opportunities for sharing knowledge and experience. There is so much to build on, so much to do, and so many people who want to co-operate. I feel very optimistic about the potential to bring about change.”