Headlines: December 16th, 2003

A team from the London Borough of Harrow has been singled out for demonstrating the best of public sector management and team working and has won the Top Team 2003 competition. The competition, now in its eighth year, recognises innovation and excellence in the public sector.The winners saw off competition from six other nominated authorities. The award is organised by the Local Government Management Network in conjunction with the Improvement and Development Agency, Norman Broadbent business consultants, the GMB, and Deloitte & Touche. The New Harrow Project Team was recognised for understanding and leading the environmental revolution taking place in the borough.

The judges said that since November last year a revolution has been underway in South Harrow, which had seen streets become cleaner, graffiti reduced, pavements being mended and scrubbed, trees planted, and CCTV installed. Local issues were now being worked through with groups ranging from the police and residents to the Home Office and Transport for London. The changes were due to the ‘New Harrow Project’, a blueprint from Harrow Council for delivering local authority services more effectively to local people.

The team was praised for doing away with the ‘silo mentality’, with individual roles like street sweeper, park keeper or truck driver. Instead, judges said, Harrow now had its own band of multi-skilled all-action heroes. In the last few months they had cut a swathe through the area, doing away with years of neglect, along with the graffiti and chewing gum. The project was a lesson in what teams could do by concentrating on outcomes, rather than just services, and learning new ways to do the best job possible.

The other nominated authorities were, Conwy & Denbighshire NHS Trust, Denbighshire County Council, East Riding Council, the London Borough of Southwark, Middlesbrough Council and South Sefton Primary Care Trust. Noorzaman Rashid, Chair of the Local Government Management Network, said the competition had been stiff but the passion and commitment of the Harrow team was evident in the content and style of their presentation.