Category Archives: News

Coronavirus (2)

Corona2Good to hear from the Harrow council leader Cllr Graham Henson that “We’ll also soon be launching a new helpline on Coronavirus to get you the support you need to help you through this crisis” as many London councils have done so weeks ago.
Now the council coronavirus web page looks more informative and includes ‘coronavirus hotline telephone number’ 0208 901 2698 [we raised concern about the lack of support plan and contact point on 19 March]. However, this number reportedly gives a very confusing and unhelpful recorded message: “this line in now closed as the council is prioritising services essential for vulnerable” – please council what does this mean?
Current registered coronavirus cases in Harrow are 196.
The leader also assures that “during this difficult time we are here for you” and that “our teams have also been working incredibly hard to ensure the right support is available for the many of you facing hardship over the coming weeks and months”.
It would be helpful to know how to effectively access the council during this difficult time and who the “teams” are, what their brief is and how to contact them for support. Is the council deploying additional staff to answer residents telephone calls or emails?
The leader’s statement further informs “I want to take this opportunity to say how proud I am of our community resilience. Thank you to our community groups, partners and voluntary sector who we have been working closely with us to ensure our most vulnerable residents get the support they really need. From delivering food and essentials, to checking up on neighbours (at the safe distance) your support is invaluable”.
No doubt the community support in Harrow is remarkable but what the council could do to make it more effective and accessible, is to provide good leadership and coordinate the individual support initiatives or at least list out at the web page how and where to contact the community groups for support.
At times like this (and much difficult times ahead), high quality council communications are vital. This aspect of the council work needs good focus, especially as communication has not been a council strength over the years, under various administrations.
Also and under the challenging circumstances, there is a greater need for firm and really caring leadership locally and nationally.

Council closures and service disruptions

Although the Harrow council has not yet provided a contact point* for care and support for the Coronavirus hit residents, including vulnerable, it has published the service status:
*[Westminster council sets good example:
If you are concerned about anyone who you think requires care and support please phone 020 7641 1444 or 020 7641 1175 or email adultsocialcare@westminster.gov.uk
If you or anyone in your household has symptoms you are advised to stay at home. If you are staying at home and need help please email westminsterconnects@westminster.gov.uk]
SERVICES
  • Harrow Recycling Centre (closed until further notice)
  • playgrounds, outdoor gyms and sports courts in all Harrow Parks (closed until further notice).
  • Harrow Leisure Centre, Bannister Sports Centre, and Hatch End Swimming Pool (closed until further notice)
  • school children should stay at home to limit the spread of the virus
  • Vaughan Neighbourhood Resource Centre (closed until further notice)
  • Kenmore Neighbourhood Resource Centre (closed until further notice)
  • the Bridge Day Centre (closed until further notice)
  • New Bentley Day Care (closed until further notice)
  • Wiseworks (closed until further notice)
  • all appointments in the council one-stop-shop have been postponed
  • elections and Democracy running a limited email service
  • allotment services and pitch bookings phone lines closed
  • Planning and Building Control phone lines closed
  • bins, waste and recycling phone lines closed
  • Council Tax phone lines closed
  • Business Rates phone lines closed
  • Housing running a limited phone line service
  • Benefits will continue to operate their phone lines as normal
  • Cedars Youth Centre (closed until further notice)
  • all Harrow Libraries (closed until further notice)
  • Harrow Arts Centre (closed until further notice)
  • Headstone Manor Museum (closed until further notice)
  • Kingsley High School (closed until further notice)

Source: Harrow council

 

Coronavirus (1)

CoronaCor2In responding to the concern about the lack of any obvious Harrow council plans to help and support the residents who are or will be in the government imposed Corona isolation, Paul Hewitt, corporate director people services, simply said “We are taking very seriously our public service duties in this matter”.
On further enquiry to understand what “seriously” means, the council press office sent a link to the Harrow council leader’s generic statement about  the Coronavirus which contains a link to a Harrow council Corona web page.
The leader’s statement and council’s web page broadly repeat information about the medical aspects of the Coronavirus which is already in public domain nationally. These contain no information about how to seek Corona specific care and support from the council.
Such a Harrow council shortcoming is highly concerning considering that at least 16% Harrow population (39,200) is aged 65 and over who are likely to face Corona isolation. Added to this profile, at least 36,677 Harrow children are on free school meals who will be without schooling from this Friday for an indefinite period – many families hit by the school closure are single parent families with or without social services involvement.
It is unbelievable that the Harrow council has failed to adopt Corona specific good practices by some councils – like planning to coordinate schools and community centre kitchens for out of school children, coordinate help and support organised by the community groups and teaming up volunteers to ensure that the council is reaching as many people as possible across the borough.
Another big council failure is not to reassure residents through positive messages – for example, like those well publicised by Westminster council:
[If you are concerned about anyone who you think requires care and support please phone 020 7641 1444 or 020 7641 1175 or email adultsocialcare@westminster.gov.uk
If you or anyone in your household has symptoms you are advised to stay at home. If you are staying at home and need help please email westminsterconnects@westminster.gov.uk ]
Harrow MPs can also play a positive role (instead of issuing meaningless PR emails and tweets) by working with the council to form a well coordinated Corona unit to actively provide care and support for those facing Corona implications.

Bailey leaflet hits Harrow

SB.jpgAs the Cabinet Office announces it would be bringing forward legislation to enact the elections delay in England, including the London mayor election, a leaflet from Shaun Bailey, Tory candidate for London mayor, has arrived.
He focuses on the level of crimes in London. Burglaries are up (including in Harrow), knife crime is up and assault is up, he informs. He fails to identify why things are as they are, except blaming Sadiq Khan and his community initiatives for the increase in crime in London.
His derogatory comments about multiculturalism are fresh in minds!
In a 2005 paper titled ‘No Man’s Land: How Britain’s inner city young are being failed” for the Centre for Young Policy Studies with support from Institute for Policy Research, he wroteYou bring your children to school and they learn far more about Diwali than Christmas. I speak to the people who are from Brent and they’ve been having Muslim and Hindi (sic) days off. What it does is rob Britain of its community. Without our community we slip into a crime riddled cess pool.”
His long wish list includes more police, re-opening some local police stations, free burglar alarms for over 65, and 24/7 police patrols.
His ‘emergency plan’ looks less credible as it  has no indication of cost or where the money is coming from to implement  it, especially in view of the government cuts which amongst other ills, create environment for crime.

 

Police checks at Harrow waste tip!

CA_site___2_Harrow council informs that a joint operation last month cracked down on rogues, people using the tip from outside the borough and businesses masquerading as residents to dispose of their waste!
Harrow council enforcement officers with the police carried out checks on vehicles recently using the tip on Forward Drive to dispose of waste.
The site had seen a rise in the number of people coming to the tip with no proof they are Harrow residents, provisional licences (with no L plate or instructor) as well as businesses masquerading as residents to avoid paying business rates to use the tip.
Trade waste licences were also being checked. Last month a vehicle driven by a provisional licence holder was seized, and a van trying to evade police – because he was uninsured.
The police also issued advice and warnings relating to offences such as seatbelts and number plates.
What this means is that along with Harrow resident ID, better carry a valid driving license, valid insurance certificate, check that the vehicle used fully complies with  MOT requirements and be prepared for tailbacks.

 

Labour selects Brent & Harrow candidate

HirAs expected Brent councillor and a council cabinet portfolio holder Krupesh Hirani won the race, defeating Momentum backed and a socialist Aghileh Djafari-Marbini by 5 votes despite she seemingly suffered triple jeopardy.
Delighted Cllr Hirani is a university graduate in politics and has good experience in the political sector where he held a number of posts.
During the Operation Black Vote Shadowing Scheme Mr Hirani was mentored by David Lammy MP. He seems to have good grip on a variety of socio-political matters, relevant to a wider society.
Though Cllr Hirani is seen more at certain cultural activities, he says he believes in representing all. He informs that he has spent his working life with organisations that support disabled people.
Cllr Hirani is proud of the local area and said: “I have been educated through the Brent state school system and am passionate about the area”.
Tory candidate for the seat is karate champion Molly Irene Samuel-Leport MBE from outside Brent or Harrow.