Harder for residents to contact Harrow council, ongoing concern

In the overview and scrutiny committee in July, Harrow council chief executive Sean Harriss said “the pandemic has exacerbated this  issue (access to the council) as  there  used  to  be  staff  who  could  help  residents  face  to  face  in the Civic Centre help access services that were only online.
“The turbulence of demand  caused  by  lockdowns  had  also  overwhelmed  the  system. What  had been planned was for the number of access points to be expanded within the Borough’s  libraries,  to  help  meet  demand  and  provide  better  access  to services”. 
Along with such short-comings in accessing the council, another reason which can’t be pinned on the pandemic, is that Harrow council seems to be systematically distancing its relevant officers from the community, more so in the people services directorate. This has not been addressed.
The restricted access to the council for the help and support compounds by certain  features on the council’s less than helpful website which are not fully equipped to handle particular issues that residents have.
Mr Harriss had somewhat different focus on the website issues: “though certain aspects of this service could be improved  there  were  challenges during  the  pandemic  that  required  Council Staffs’ capabilities that ultimately hindered other services, such as  delivering business grants during the pandemic” he said.
Harrow council claims to have distributed £62m in government grants to over 900 local businesses, but has failed to provide a list of the businesses who received the grant, despite a freedom of information request by a resident. This has raised questions about the Harrow council transparency in money matters!
The concerns in accessing the council become more tense considering Mr Harriss alert about how  far  into  the  future  the  Council  could be  affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in its day-to-day work.
“It  would  affect  the  Council’s work  over  the  next  9  to  12 months. Work  would  be  impacted  in a  number  of different  ways,  and  it  was  believed  that  there  would  be  extreme  pressure during the winter months. There could also be a significant spike in unemployment, housing could be seen as challenge for the future as well as pressures in social care” alerted Mr Harriss.