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GLA-OPS releases its code for free - to the world!

13 August 2018

You get some code, you get some code, everyone gets some code!

We (the GLA-OPS team) have released software code we built to the public for free - for anyone to use or build on. 

This means that new users or organisations don’t need a licence to use this code (which is owned by the GLA) and can use it anywhere in the world! As well as following Government guidelines this is really practising what we preach when it comes to the GLA’s best practice guide on bespoke GLA development software. 

So, who are GLA-OPS?

Our team was initially set up in 2016 to design and build a robust project and grant management system for colleagues working in Housing and Land, the Regeneration Unit and their external partners. 

This system has grown significantly, being used to administer more than £4.82bn of government funds to support building 116,000 affordable homes in London by 2022. It is also being used for:

  • Bidding for the London Borough of Culture programme which launched in 2017. Waltham Forest was announced as the winner for 2019, and Brent as the winner for 2020. Six additional boroughs were awarded Cultural Impact Awards 
  • The Regeneration Small Projects and Equipment Fund, which also launched in 2017. This programme was so popular it was well oversubscribed, a total of 42 projects were awarded funding totalling just over £3.7m
  • Coordinating the GLA’s internal land projects, allowing robust and clear management. This means land assets can be used to regenerate areas, boost economic growth and create more housing 

There are also multiple new programmes and initiatives right across the GLA that will shortly be launched via OPS. 

Why is our way better?

Previously, submitting a funding application meant users had to navigate a wide range of legacy systems. This was time-consuming and inefficient. 

We collated and combined information in one centralised system, making the application process faster and much easier to navigate. By releasing the code we hope that other organisations who require grant funding portals or project management systems can do the same.

Keeping it Agile

We teamed up with supplier, Keytree, for this project and used Agile - user-centred design methodologies. 

This partnership was instrumental in the success of the project. 

Because of these new ways of working we’ve been consistently able to deliver our releases on time and to budget. 

We followed the approach of the GDS Digital Service Standard. The Scrum methodology used for project delivery including sprint planning meetings, sprint reviews and retrospectives. Each sprint lasted two weeks with a single GLA Product Owner who managed a flexible, prioritised product backlog. In line with GDS guidance, the project code was intentionally developed to be Open Source. The system is deployed to an AWS cloud platform managed by Keytree. 

Taking an Agile approach allowed the solution to emerge organically - meeting our requirements and those of the applicants. It is now being rolled out more corporately as a project management system across the whole GLA, so look out for OPS coming your way soon!

Fully accredited

The GLA’s development and implementation of Ops has undergone a full review against the Local Government Digital Service Standard that we passed with flying colours. Read the full report.
 

Please share this

We wish the future users of the code well and are proud that it could save other organisations tons of money, and even negate the need for them to pay for a similar solution. 

If you know of any public sector organisations that organise grants funding please forward this to them so we can spread some awareness.