Residents in Oxfordshire given ‘super’ powers to help detect potholes, drainage problems and issues with signs under new initiative

Oxfordshire County Council is set to train members of the public in how to assess and identifying potholes, blocked drains and damaged signs along with guidance on working safely on the roads, so they can be authorised not only to make reports but also to order repairs to be carried out.

Up until now, the scheme has been piloted by giving residents ‘super’ powers For a number of years Oxfordshire County Council has been using Fix My Street to enable residents and its own staff to report problems on the roads and to give updates on progress.

In the last year, from 1st Sep 19 to 1st Sep 20, 4,582 repairs have been made in response to reports made through the online system.

Anything added to Fix My Street by members of the public results in a council highways inspector visiting the site and assessing each problem to see if a repair is needed according to set criteria. If it is, they then place an order for the work to be done.

The county council is calling on residents to put themselves forward to train and volunteer as ‘super users’ who will be able to help speed the process up.

Volunteers will only be expected to cover their local area on mainly residential or quieter roads and will be assessed to ensure they can use the systems and carry out “Super-User requirements safely.

Graham Porcas from Steeple Aston has been a super user since the scheme was first piloted two years ago. He said: “Steeple Aston has benefitted greatly from the super user scheme – there used to be lots of complaints in the village about the roads, but now there are very few.

“I have a very good relationship with the local highways representative from the council and also with the contractors, Skanska. When I make a report I find that things get fixed very quickly.

“Often I am contacted by the parish council who receive information on local problems from residents and I then go out and do an inspection. I also pick things up in my general day to day travels around the village.

“It’s a really good scheme and I would encourage people thinking about volunteering to find out more.”

County Councillor Liam Walker, Cabinet member for Highways Delivery and Operations, said: “Volunteers play a vital role in many different areas in Oxfordshire and help to keep the county vibrant.

“People see things in their local community and want them to be fixed. For a long time, there has been a perception that only the council can do certain things, but that’s not the case anymore. With training, support and some minimal resources we can unleash a great deal of enthusiasm in Oxfordshire with people helping to make a huge difference.

“This is about making the process of putting things right quicker and more efficient and I hope people from across the county will get in touch soon so that we can schedule training.”

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