How City Hall works

Decision making

On this page you can find out about our decision making framework and access the decisions taken by the Mayor and senior members of staff.

Overview

We have a formal and robust decision making framework in place at the GLA with clear rules and defined processes. Most decisions are taken by, or delegated from, the Mayor and our decision making framework is designed to ensure that each decision:

  • is taken at the right level; for example by the Mayor or by a senior officer
  • relates to the Mayor’s priorities and strategies
  • offers value for money for the taxpayer
  • takes account of legal and other relevant considerations
  • is transparent
  • demonstrates accountability

Some specific types of decision are taken by the London Assembly, the Head of Paid Service or the Greater London Returning Officer. 

See our decisions

We publish decisions taken by the Mayor and senior officers. Assembly decisions are recorded in the formal minutes of its meetings.

Access our decisions database

Our aim is to publish each decision within one working day of it being signed off and with all the relevant background information.

We may in certain circumstances defer publication of a decisions until a later date. We may also withhold some of the facts and advice on which the decision was based if the information is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act. 

The most common reason for deferring a decision or withholding information is that it is commercially sensitive. This applies only to a small proportion of decisions; and where we can publish withheld information at a later date, we will do so.

Note that decisions published before July 2015 are available on our archive site.

The Mayor’s role in decision making

Decision making rests primarily with the Mayor, as the GLA’s executive. Some decisions the Mayor is required by law to take personally. Some other types of decision, meeting set critieria, the Mayor has chosen to take. And in other cases, the Mayor delegates decisions to senior GLA staff or the Mayoral team.

There are two main types of decision the Mayor takes: a) spending and significant policy decisions (see below); and b) planning decisions.

Mayoral Decision-Making in the GLA sets the detailed framework within which Mayoral decisions are taken and Mayoral powers are delegated.

Spending and policy decisions

Expenditure is approved at a high level through the budget setting process, which establishes a spending envelope for the GLA each year.

Non-routine and programme decisions with a value of more than £150,000 are then taken by the Mayor. These decisions go through a formal process so that when the Mayor takes the decision all the implications have been considered and he has all the relevant facts and advice at hand. This information is gathered on and the decision progressed using a ‘Mayoral Decision form’.

Prior to such decisions being made, they will ordinarily be reviewed by the Corporate Investment Board (CIB), an internal forum chaired by the Chief of Staff. The public minutes of CIB meetings can be accessed here: Corporate Investment Board.

‘Novel, contentious or repercussive decisions’ must also be made by the Mayor. This includes decisions relating to policy and technical matters; for example, approval for a strategy document or borrowing limits.

Decisions about non-routine expenditure below £150,000 have been delegated from the Mayor to senior officers as follows:

  • Director Decision: from £50,000 to up to £150,000
  • Assistant Director Decision: from £10,000 up to £50,000
  • Manager Decision: up to £10,000

However, a Mayoral decision may delegate decision making powers to a director, empowering them to take decisions with a value of more than £150,000 within set criteria.

Note that the value of a decision is calculated by aggregating any related expenditure and any future commitments; so a decision involving non-routine expenditure of £105,000 and future income of £115,000 would be taken by the Mayor.

We publish Mayoral, Director and Assistant Director decision forms.

From 2012-2016 there was an Investment and Performance Board, Housing Investment Group and a Homes for London Board. Archived papers are available through the following links: Investment and Performance Board, Housing Investment Group and Homes for London Board.

London Assembly decisions

Whereas the Mayor is the GLA's executive arm, the London Assembly’s primary role is not to take decisions itself but rather to hold the Mayor to account - including reviewing the decisions the Mayor takes. However, in fulfilling this role it does have specific powers to:

  • scrutinise Mayoral functions and review matters of interest to Londoners
  • consider the proposed designation of Mayoral Development Areas
  • consider Mayoral strategies and the GLA budget
  • appoint, together with the Mayor, our three statutory officers
  • hold confirmation hearings for key functional body appointments

The Assembly’s business is conducted in public through its plenary and committee sessions. Assembly decisions therefore tend to be taken in these fora. 

The Scheme of Delegation for the Assembly (PDF) details the functions under the GLA Acts it has delegated to its committees and to staff. 

The Assembly’s Decision Making Guidance (PDF) explains how things work in practice.

Staffing decisions

The Head of Paid Service has powers to appoint staff, after consulting with the Mayor and Assembly. The Head of Paid Service Staffing Protocol (PDF) outlines these powers and the circumstances in which, and to whom, they are delegated.

Head of Paid Service Scheme of Delegation (PDF)

Greater London Returning Officer decisions

The GLRO is responsible for administering the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections. The GLRO is appointed by the Mayor but acts, and takes decisions, independently of the Authority – and is ultimately responsible to the courts.

Access the decisions published by the GLRO