Local government reporter Giles Sheldrick explains the structure of government in Oxfordshire and introduces the key organisations.

There are three types of local government in Oxfordshire and each one provides different services over distinct geographical areas: Oxfordshire County Council, the district councils and the town and parish councils.

The county council has responsibility for many key local services, including schools, social services, the fire service, roads, libraries and the museums service, trading standards, land use, transport planning and waste management.

Oxfordshire's five district councils are Oxford City, the Vale of White Horse, South Oxfordshire, Cherwell and West Oxfordshire. Their responsibilities include environmental health, housing, leisure and recreation, planning applications and waste collection.

If you are not sure which district council area you live in, please call the county council on 01865 816395 or 815279 or email democracy@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

The lowest tier of local government is provided by the parish and town councils. All parts of the county except Oxford are parished and have a town or parish council supported by a parish clerk.

There are 234 parish councils and 15 town councils in Oxfordshire. Parish and town councils have responsibilities for various local amenities, which may include bus shelters, public benches, footpaths, allotments, playing fields and parish funds.