Case Study: Rethinking the economic future of Harrow
We worked with Harrow Council to build on the momentum from COVID to radically rethink the economic vision for the future of the town
In May 2020, Harrow Council were in the process of developing a 10-year strategic plan. The Council wanted to utilise the momentum built to date and the transformative potential of Covid-19 to:
1. Radically rethink their economic vision for the future.
2. Introduce a more proactive approach to preventing and reacting to homelessness and rough sleeping.
To support the Council in achieving both goals, The PSC worked closely with the senior leadership team and delivered:
- An economic case for change, which included a range of ideas to grow Harrow’s future economy, while also combatting inequalities and advancing the Council’s environmental sustainability goals.
- An Early Action Plan for homelessness and rough sleeping, outlining the agreed steps that the team would take to proactively respond to an anticipated rise in demand.
While the longer-term impact of this work will take time to materialise, in the short term an effect was to give the Council “the opportunity to have the conversation we’ve never had” and to support a re-imagining of a future in which residents are encouraged to both live and work in Harrow.
What we did:
- Worked closely with the senior leadership team, and specific teams within the Council – holding a series of workshops to understand Harrow’s current economy, the impact of Covid-19, and their vision for the future.
- Conducted rigorous desk-based research – identifying areas of good practice and clear vision from other UK Councils, exploring growing sectors and investment areas and understanding Harrow’s current areas of economic strength and challenge.
- Conducted a literature review of academic research to identify drivers of service demand and analysed historical data to identify future trends – supporting the team to understand what unprecedented demand could look like for homelessness and rough sleeping.
- Worked closely with the housing team to develop evidence-based triggers for action and escalation, linked to different demographic groups, and to map the available options for action.
- Supported the housing team in identifying the transformation needed to enable an effective response to rising demand, including prioritising c. 150 recommendations from a recent peer review.
- Prepared the housing team to re-imagine their governance and decision-making structures to meet the need for transformation – including re-enforcing homelessness and rough sleeping as a core Council priority.