Harrow Times: Harrow Council outlines scrutiny priorities post-Covid-19

Major redevelopment projects, race issues, and the pandemic will feature heavily for the committee in 2021/22 (Photo: Pixabay/Newsquest)

Recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, regeneration, and the impact of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement will be among the priorities for Harrow Council’s scrutiny committees over the next year.

The annual scrutiny report, presented at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday, April 20), highlighted the key goals for 2021/22 following a period described as “one of the most challenging the council has ever faced”.

In their joint foreword, committee chairman Cllr Sachin Shah (Lab, Queensbury) and vice-chairman Cllr Stephen Greek (Con, Harrow Weald), acknowledged a large part of the council’s working next year will be shaped by the impact of Covid-19.

This follows on from a year of disruption due to the pandemic, which meant several scrutiny sessions were “paused” as the council focused its resources on an immediate response.

The report also notes the importance of regeneration in Harrow, led by the new Harrow Strategic Development Partnership, which will oversee major projects including the move to a new civic centre in Wealdstone.

It read: “It has been important to make sure that such major decisions are not being rushed through cabinet and that a proper scrutiny process is being committed to – we have very much pushed for that this year.

“That ensures we can do the important work on behalf of residents – to scrutinise these plans before they get signed off.

“One of the things we are particularly keen to ensure is that these plans, which started pre-Covid, are still fit for purpose post-Covid.”

There are also plans to build on the impact of the BLM movement in the borough following on from work with police and community groups on the subject.

Cllr Shah explained the committee will examine an independent race review carried out by commentator Patrick Vernon as part of its work on this matter.

Finally, councillors acknowledged scrutiny of the council’s budget will remain a key priority to ensure finances are being managed correctly and the council avoids a similar fate to that experienced by Croydon, which declared itself bankrupt last year.


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