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Feb 11 2011

Harrow Council’s “Let’s Talk” programme

We all, no doubt, remember the Let’s Talk programme run by Harrow Council, where, out of the blue, a sofa, armchair, coffee table and a Harrow Councillor would pop up outside Sainsburys, or some other unexpected place during the snows of November and December last year.  No?  Well, here’s a picture:

The idea behind it was to show Harrow as an open and listening Council, and that it was all about “working together”.  Anyway, the results from that are now in, and the 1,492 paper questionnaires and 107 online ones have been through the magic counting machine.

  • Seven in ten (71%) of respondents support the council’s draft vision “Working together: Our Harrow, our community.” Only 4% actively disagree, with the rest either not stating an answer (11%) or being neutral (14%).
  • Nine in ten (92%) support the priority of “Keeping neighbourhoods clean, green and safe”, followed by “Supporting and protecting people who are most in need” (83%), “Having a united and involved community and being a Council that listens and leads” (81%) and “A Town Centre to be proud of, changing Harrow for the better” (71%).
  • This same order is seen when respondents were asked to rank the most important single priority. Half (50%) stated that the single top priority was “Keeping neighbourhoods clean, green and safe.” Over half (55%) of respondents failed to give an answer to what the council could do better or deliver these priorities better. These were verbatim comments and there was a long list of different ideas. The top responses analysed are to communicate/listen more with residents (6%), reduce council waste (5%), clean streets (4%) and crime/safety (4%).
  • When looking in detail at a list of possible environmental and service issues and activities the level of crime and health were rated the most important (both 90%), followed by clean streets (86%)

The Council asked for some comments from residents about how they think the council could better deliver priorities and services.

  • “We are in this together, so listen to us, lead and support those affected by the cuts.”
  • “Communicate with residents more”
  • “…ensure that all available funds are spent on the most urgent priorities and to avoid wasteful spending e.g. it is unnecessary to foster ties with towns in the EU.”
  • “Tackling crime is top priority”
  • “More regular cleaning of local streets, not just main streets. Better cleaning of parks and recreation grounds.”
  • “Keep roads and especially pavements in good order”
  • “Increase front line staff and reduce directors and managers”

Source(s): Documents issued in advance of Cabinet meeting on February 11, 2011.

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