Harrow Council is located to the North West of London, and is resident to approx 214,000 people. I worked at Harrow for 5years in a few different roles, all to do with Social Care. I think it is fair to say that Harrow has some good points about working there but also has some bad points.
Until recently there was a real feeling amongst the staff that senior management wouldn't listen to you or your opinions. This is starting to change but in many departments progress has so far been minimal.
The IT service provided by the council is absolutely dire at best, the only advice that ever seems to be given is "turn off and log on again" even having done so multiple times. Getting hold of them can also take up to an hour. There are frequent network crashes of varying severity but all of them stop and interrupt work. This is one area that desperately needs investing in.
The Civic Centre building is not really fit to task as most areas consist of large open plan offices that have been redecorated with many smaller rooms in need of decorating and sorting out. Some of the smaller rooms have been converted into larger office spaces but again these are sub-standard as there are problems with heating the rooms in winter, cooling the rooms in summer and getting any air flowing around the rooms. When I was worker there frequently members of staff would complain about suffering from headaches yet nothing was ever done if this was flagged up.
The Annual Leave entitlement is very poor when compared to most other London Boroughs.
There is space for the bulk of the staff to park on site for free, but you will need to be in before 9am to get a space though. There are excellent transport links to central London by using the Underground. Harrow & Wealdstone mainline train station is located across the road from the council which allows commuters from further away to get to work within a reasonable time as well.
Since the new Chief Executive has arrived there is much more information flowing from senior management down to low level staff and this has improved moral. You can email the Chief Executive with suggestions and they will be read and responded to by him. There is also a large amount of change taking place and moving away from previous work cultures. Recruitment is looking outside the council for new employees who are bringing in fresh ideas that will help with improving the council.
As the council is situated in London you do get London waiting included in the salary which helps increase the salaries, and makes them competitive.
Harrow is a nice area to work and live with very good schooling for employees with children. As it is on the edge of London the Borough contains a lot of parks and Greenbelt land which cannot be built on.
There is also an imporvment in benefits for employees, recently child care vouchers have been made available to all employees with the promise of more schemes for employees to follow.
One of the major plus points about working at Harrow Council is that the council offers a final salary pension scheme, which in current economic climates is very very useful.
Overall the council is improving as a whole but it is taking time so it will be interesting to compare the current situation to the one in 3-5years.