Who are the Task Force?

The High Streets Task Force is an alliance of place making experts working to redefine the high street. We provide guidance, tools and skills to help communities, partnerships and local government transform their high streets.

The High Streets Task Force provides support to local leaders in town centres and high streets in England. Our 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. 

We have also developed a Routemap to Transformation. As town centres reopen, it is clear that COVID-19 has accelerated change in the high street. Multiple retailers will no longer be the dominant attraction in most town centres and so we have to redefine the high street. The Routemap identifies the steps that have to be taken to make transformation happen. A series of webinars introduces the concept, provides cutting-edge insight from those with experience, and demonstrates what success looks like. These are supported with learning materials and access to resources to enable action.

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.

The High Streets Task Force Board with members from the private, public and community sectors brings a track record of delivering innovative and positive change to town centres. Together, they are an authorative voice for the high street and are working with the Task Force and government to enable high street transformation.

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

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 promotes 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.