Agenda and minutes

Harrow Business Consultative Panel - Monday 26 September 2005 7.30 pm

Venue: Committee Rooms 1&2, Harrow Civic Centre

Contact: Laura Kell, Committee Administrator  Tel: 020 8424 1265 E-mail:

Note No. Item




Appointment of Chair

To note the appointment of Councillor Choudhury at the Cabinet meeting on 19 May 2005 under the provisions of Advisory Panel and Consultative Forum Procedure Rule 5.1 as Chair of the Advisory Panel for the Municipal Year 2005/2006.



RESOLVED:  To note the appointment, at the Cabinet meeting on 19 May 2005, of Councillor Choudhury as Chair of the Panel for the 2005/2006 Municipal Year.


Appointment of Vice-Chair

To consider the appointment of a Vice-Chair to the Panel for the Municipal Year 2005/2006.


RESOLVED:  To appoint Councillor Idaikkadar as Vice-Chair of the Panel for the 2005/2006 Municipal Year.


Attendance by Reserve Members

To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.


Reserve Members may attend meetings:-


(i)                 to take the place of an ordinary Member for whom they are a reserve;

(ii)               where the ordinary Member will be absent for the whole of the meeting; and

(iii)             after notifying the Chair at the start of the meeting.


RESOLVED:  To note that there were no Reserve Members in attendance at this meeting.


Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of personal or prejudicial interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from all Members present.


RESOLVED:  To note that there were no declarations of interests made by Members in relation to the business transacted at this meeting.


Arrangement of Agenda

To consider whether any of the items listed on the agenda should be considered with the press and public excluded on the grounds that it is thought likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted, that there would be disclosure of confidential information in breach of an obligation of confidence or of exempt information as defined in the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985.


RESOLVED:  That all items be considered with the press and public present.


Public Representations

The Council’s Constitution provides for Panel meetings to receive Petitions, Deputations and Public Questions (Committee Procedure Rules 15, 16 and 18).


RESOLVED:  To note that no public questions were put, or petitions or deputations received at this meeting under the provisions of Committee Procedure Rules 18, 15 and 16 (Part 4B of the Constitution) respectively.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 3 February 2005, having been circulated, be taken as read and signed as a correct record.


RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 3 February 2005, having been circulated, be taken as read and signed as a correct record.


Matters Arising from the Minutes


The Chair noted that the responses to questions raised at previous meetings of the Forum were included in the agenda pack, for information. No other matters arose.


RESOLVED:  That the above be noted.


Welcome to the Meeting


The Chair welcomed Members, officers and representatives of the Business Community in Harrow to the meeting. He explained that this was the first meeting of the Harrow Business Consultative Forum, formerly the National Non-Domestic Ratepayers Consultative Forum. The Business Consultative Forum had been established to extend consultation with the business community to wider issues, beyond the statutory annual consultation on the Council’s budget proposals. The Chair informed the meeting that the Forum would still undertake this statutory duty.


RESOLVED:  That the above be noted.


Introduction to the Meeting

Councillor Sanjay Dighé, Portfolio Holder for Business Connections and Performance, will introduce the meeting.


Councillor Dighé, the Portfolio Holder for Business Connections and Performance, addressed the meeting and explained that his portfolio covered relationships between the Council and businesses. He added that the Forum was important for the development of a strong partnership between the Council and its business community. He emphasised the need for consultation that would inform the Council which services were important to businesses and how these services could be improved.


In the discussion that followed, a business representative questioned the Portfolio Holder on the Council’s consultation with small businesses over procurement. The Portfolio Holder referred to the business portal which enabled businesses, once registered, to receive pre-notification of contracts for tender. He also referred to seminars and open events organised to advertise the business portal, and suggested that a demonstration could be organised for any interested parties. The representative suggested that small businesses should be provided with an opportunity to bid for contracts as a consortium.


A representative expressed concern that businesses were not offered exemptions from the controlled parking zones (CPZs) across the Borough, although a Member of the Panel advised that businesses could receive exemptions. Further concern was raised over the impact of the extension of the Stanmore CPZ on local businesses. It was suggested the concerns should be directed to the Traffic and Road Safety Advisory Panel.


RESOLVED:  That the above be noted.


Harrow's Relationship with the Business Community



·         Contacts with the Business Community

The Director of Financial and Business Strategy will be discussing Harrow Council’s plans in terms of engagement with its business community, and explaining how the Council can work more effectively as a partner with the business community.


Presentation by the Director of Financial and Business Strategy


·         Business Community Portal

The Business Community Manager will update local business representatives on the Business Community Portal – an exciting new development in Harrow that will enable businesses t engage and transact with Harrow Council and with each other.


Presentation by the Business Community Manager


·         Visiting Harrow: London’s Newest Attraction

Harrow Council is launching an ambitious new tourism initiative to put Harrow firmly on the map – come and find out all about it.


Presentation by a Tourism Officer


Questions and Answers


·         Members of the Business Community are invited to ask questions of the Members of the Council and officers present.


The meeting received three verbal presentations from officers of the Council.


Contacts with the Business Community

The meeting was provided with an overview of the Council’s relationship with its business community. Strategies and reviews to develop and improve this relationship were outlined, including:


·                     A mapping exercise to provide a comprehensive picture of businesses in Harrow;


·                     Developments in engagement and consultation, including the launch of the Harrow Business Consultative Panel and ongoing consultation in relation to the development of the business portal;


·                     Initiatives to support growth in the business sector, such as a review of the impact of Harrow’s new tourism strategy on business activity and an assessment of the need for a new incubator site;


·                     Monitoring best practice across other boroughs and joint working with the West London Alliance;


·                     The development of an detailed action plan for business engagement over the next 2-3 years.


Officers requested that business representatives provide advice to the meeting on how the Council should consult with them most effectively.


Harrow Business Community Portal

The meeting received an update on the Business Community Portal, ‘Smart Connections’, recently launched to encourage growth in the local business community. Officers navigated the links within the three main sections of the Business Portal (


1.                   Business Services and Support – this section provided help, advice and guidance on business issues, including: information on business finance; commercial properties available to businesses; health and safety courses provided by the Council; and other relevant information.


2.                   Doing Business with Harrow Council – this section advertised the Council’s current procurement contracts, and allowed businesses to view contracts available for tender, receive pre-tender advice and view historical tenders. It was suggested that smaller businesses could use this section to identify larger organisations who had received contracts that could be approached for sub-contracting work.


3.                   Directory of Harrow Businesses – this section enabled businesses to register with the portal. Officers described it as providing an ‘extra shop window’ for businesses. It was added that business could register an interest in certain types of contracts, and receive update emails when a tender became available.


It was emphasised that the success of the portal would depend heavily on take-up amongst the business community. 4000 leaflets would be circulated to businesses to advertise the portal, and feedback would be encouraged to enable the site to be improved. The meeting was informed of the expected benefits of the portal on different segments of the business community. The success of the site would be ascertained through monitoring web data and survey results.


Visiting Harrow: London’s Newest Attraction

The Forum received a presentation on Harrow’s new tourism strategy. It was informed that the strategy was particularly important to Harrow with regard to new and upcoming developments in the area, including:


·                     success in the Olympic bid;

·                     the completion of Wembley Stadium in 2006; and

·                     developments in transport links including the expansion of Heathrow Airport and the Channel Tunnel.


To ensure that Harrow’s local economy benefited from the developments, ‘putting Harrow on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.