Formal openings of Oxfordshire County Council premises

Revised January 2020

The completion of a new building or a major extension or refurbishment of an existing establishment is always a cause for celebration. In most cases completion is marked by a formal opening ceremony of some kind.

As well as fulfilling an important symbolic function, these events offer great opportunities for good media coverage and a chance for the wider public to catch a glimpse of what you do.
It is usually for the establishment concerned to organize such events but in doing so a few considerations need to be borne in mind.  If the project has been funded by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) then it is important that a representative of the county council plays a key role in the ceremony. This would usually fall to the chairman (or vice chairman), in his or her apolitical representative role. Approaches to the chairman may be made via their personal assistant. In some cases neither will be available and another county council representative may be appropriate.
In addition to an OCC representative having a role in the ceremony it is also important to invite the relevant cabinet member as well as the county councillor for the area.
If when inviting an elected member or officer to an opening it is intended that they should contribute to the proceedings, please make that clear at the outset. It can be difficult to prepare a polished speech with a few minutes notice!
Establishments will usually wish to extend invitations to officers who normally work closely with them or who have been closely involved with the project.  In the case of particularly large projects invitations to more senior officers (eg. the director) who might not normally be involved with the establishment on a day to day basis might be appropriate.
In some cases establishments secure the services of ‘celebrities’ to participate in openings.  This can be good a way of maximizing the publicity potential of an opening, but some thought needs to be given to ensuring an appropriate role for all concerned.

Not all projects are funded solely by OCC and where there are other funding streams a slightly different approach may be required.  As a rule of thumb though, if the majority of the project is funded by OCC then a representative from OCC should be given a significant role.

For further advice about this and any other related matters please contact the councils Media Team on 01865 323870