Who are the Task Force?

The High Streets Task Force is an alliance of place making experts that provides encouragement, tools and skills to help communities and local government transform their high streets.

The High Streets Task Force is now providing support to local leaders in town centres and high streets in England. Our new website hosts a wide range of training, learning, and data insights, including the COVID-19 Recovery Framework to help places identify what they need to do now, as well as how to plan and build capacity for recovery. 

The Task Force starts its programme of webinars in June, with a weekly series looking at a Route Map to Transformation. This will explore the various steps necessary to ensure that as town centres recover from the lockdown, they also plan for a better future. The challenges for town centres have been increased by COVID-19 and the webinar series identifies and explores the steps needed to create transformed town and city centres.

Commissioning and focus

The High Streets Task Force was commissioned by the government in 2019 as part of its Plan for the High Street and in response to recommendations of an expert panel on the high street chaired by the highly successful entrepreneur Sir John Timpson. 

The Task Force has been set-up to strengthen local leadership in high streets and town centres in England. It does this by providing information, advice, training, knowledge and data - helping people to make a positive difference to their local communities.

Run by the Institute of Place Management on behalf of government, the Task Force brings together a range of expert organisations on reinventing and restructuring places.

We have refocused our efforts - helping place leaders take action to build capacity for COVID-19 recovery.

We have a vision for town centres and high streets that are at the heart of their communities, with a unique sense of place and a strong identity. We deliver a range of services aligned to four objectives, which will provide practical support to people and places.

  • Boosting Local Authority capacity

    The Task Force provides expert knowledge and support to Local Authorities to solve the problems that are holding places back. For now, this is all online but we will be working directly with individual locations when circumstances allow.
  • Building place making skills

    The Task Force builds the skills of organisations and groups to deliver effective initiatives and strategies that make a difference to their local area. This is also online for now through the provision of guidance, support, information and data, but will include a programme of activity around England, going forward.
  • Coordination

    The Task Force will promote positive messages about what is happening in town centres, to highlight the changes now occurring and how they are recovering, to develop confidence for investors and ensure communities feel proud of their high street. This is supported by the Task force Sector Leaders Group, now meeting monthly to address issues arising from COVID-19 and ensure a co-operative response.
  • Intelligence and data

    The Task Force supports local leaders to develop the right plans for their town centres and high streets. This requires access to the latest data, information and evidence, which we will be making available to towns across England. The Task Force Professional, Research and Data Group is now meeting monthly, distilling data from a wide range of sources and identifying knowledge gaps.