Last week we took an important step for the High Streets Task Force. We brought our consortium members together to spend a day updating on progress to date and discussing the most effective ways of working together, with government, and with other key partners.

We started to develop the High Streets Task Force in July, putting in place systems, agreeing contracts and working practices, updating research, identifying monitoring and evaluation indicators and methods, and liaising with many of those in government, industry, and communities who will be essential to make the Task Force work most effectively.

We have been supporting the Future High Streets Fund by holding Business Case Development Seminars for the first round of shortlisted towns but much of the work to date has been behind the scenes, including recruiting people into posts.

The High Streets Task Force has been established to strengthen local leadership in high streets and town centres. It will do this by providing information, advice, training, knowledge and guidance to anyone who wants to make a positive difference to the local town or high street they care about. The High Streets Task Force will be the go-to source of knowledge on transforming the high street. This will include toolkits, diagnostics and training that will help the right decisions to be taken locally. The High Streets Task Force will also supply dashboards with data that will help local leaders know that their projects and investments are making a difference. It will also assist some local authorities and other place leaders to initiate appropriate local actions and create the best visions and plans for their high streets by providing bespoke guidance through a network of High Street Task Force Experts and Mentors. 

The High Streets Task Force is delivered by a consortium of experts, experienced place leaders and organisations that network thousands of people in BIDs and other place partnerships, businesses and civic society across England. Last week, our consortium members learned about one another and had extensive discussions on how best to deliver the Task Force as well as identifying other important organisations to work with. It was a useful and fruitful day that emphasised the diversity of the high street and the opportunities it offers. The day will feed into the next stage of the Task Force as we pilot products and services and develop the capacity to deliver locally.

The High Street Task Force will work with communities, local place initiatives, and organisations that represent Local Authorities, SMEs, big businesses, property and finance across England. It will launch its full range of products and services in July 2020.

The High Streets Task Force forms part of the Government's plan for the high street. It is led by the Institute of Place Management with consortium partners PwC, The Design Council, RTPI, the Landscape Institute, ATCM, The BID Foundation, Civic Voice, Teenage Market, Springboard, Maybe*, Cardiff University and MyKnowledgeMap.