ADD2038 2016-17 Future of London Housing Zones Network

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2038
Date signed: 
26 October 2016
Decision by: 
Jamie Ratcliff, Assistant Director of Policy, Programme and Services

Executive summary

Future of London 2011 Limited (FoL), a not-for-profit policy network, runs a number of career development programmes for practitioners working in the regeneration, housing, transport and economic development sectors in London. The GLA is a member of the FoL network and in Summer 2015, invited FoL to develop a programme of learning and networking for public sector employees working on Housing Zones. This programme was launched as the Housing Zones Network and ran from autumn 2015 to summer 2016. This decision seeks approval for expenditure of £15,000 to continue the programme for another year. It also seeks approval of an exemption pursuant to section 5 of the GLA Contracts and Funding Code. 

Decision

That the Assistant Director of Programme, Policy & Services approves:

1.    Expenditure of up to £15,000 to extend the GLA’s contract with FoL to run the Housing Zones Network for a further 12 months from October 2016 to September 2017, and

2.    A related exemption from the requirements of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code to allow the GLA to extend the contract with FoL without competition.
 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    Future of London 2011 Limited (FoL), an independent not-for-profit policy network, runs three bespoke development programmes aimed at creating learning and development opportunities and a forum for networking and sharing of best practice for practitioners in the regeneration, housing and infrastructure sectors in London. These programmes are primarily funded through FoL membership fees.

1.2    In summer 2015, the GLA approached FoL and invited it to develop a bespoke network for public sector officers working on Housing Zones to run alongside the life of the programme.  FoL subsequently entered into a 12 month contract for services with the GLA, pursuant to which it launched the programme entitled the “Housing Zones Network” in autumn 2015.

1.3    The Housing Zones Network is modelled in part after the Future of London Leaders and Leaders Plus programmes, the key differences being (1) the network includes instructors from the legal, planning, finance and design sectors, (2) organisations taking part can involve several member of their staff, and (3) the network includes an added online resource which acts as a forum for members to seek answers to pressing questions. 

1.4    The Housing Zone Network provides the following benefits to the GLA:
 
a.    The Network focuses solely on the GLA's Housing Zones Programme, helping to give those working on zones the knowledge and skills they need to deliver.
b.    GLA officers and those they work with have a forum to share best practise and lessons learned across zones.
c.    GLA officers and those they work with have an online resource to look up answers to pressing questions.
d.    GLA officers and those they work with have a number of training and development opportunities that expand their knowledge and promote innovation.
e.    As key stakeholder and contributor, senior GLA staff are able to feed into the network
    and steer on how it is run.

Funding

1.5    FoL is a not-for-profit organisation that relies primarily on membership and participation fees to fund their programmes. These sources of funding alone are not sufficient to maintain the Housing Zone Network without significantly increased fees.  However, an increase in fees would dissuade continued or further take up, which would be counterproductive to the network's aim of pulling together stakeholders across the Housing Zones programme.

1.6    In recognition of the benefits outlined in paragraph 1.4, this decision seeks approval to extend the GLA’s existing contract with FoL for a further period of 12 months at a cost of £15,000.  The extension will begin in October 2016.  The scope of the contract will remain unchanged with FoL continuing to focus on three main areas:  i. networking events; ii. running the online portal for members’ questions; and iii. running master classes.

1.7    FoL’s performance and the benefit of the Housing Zones Network will be monitored over the next 12 months with a view to informing the GLA’s decision whether or not to extend the contract further in 2017.

Exemption from the Contracts and Funding Code

1.8    The GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code (the “Code”) allows for a supplier to be selected without competition if the supplier has previous involvement in a specific current project or continuation of existing work, which cannot be separated from the new work.

1.9    The original exemption for the GLA’s current contract with FoL was granted by ADD367 on the basis that FoL was already running a similar network, the members of which included many of the same stakeholders, who were involved in the Housing Zones programme, and which could easily be adopted for the purposes of a Housing Zones Network. It was also noted there were no other organisations in London with the same membership or programmes on offer. 

1.10    Consideration was given to re-procuring the service; however, a prospective supplier would have to create a new network from scratch to involve the same organisations that are already in place. This would cause considerable delays and limit the GLA’s ability to support officers involved in the crucial planning and contracting stages of the zones there would also a be a cost implication to starting such a network from scratch, which could materially affect the GLA’s ability to secure best value for money.

1.11    It is also unlikely key stakeholders would want to pay membership fees to a separate organisation just for Housing Zones.  For the aforementioned reasons, an exemption from the requirements of the Code is now sought. 

    Declarations

1.12    It is noted that David Lunts, GLA Executive Directorate for Housing & Land and Stewart Murray, GLA Assistant Director of Planning are both on the FoL’s Board of Directors. In order to avoid conflicts of interest, neither of them has been involved in the decision to seek an extension of FoL existing contract nor the attendant exemption from the Code.  Furthermore, neither of them will be involved in the management of the contract.
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The Housing Zones Network will continue to run in the same format as 2015-16 to include workshops involving instructors from finance, planning, law, development, design, governance; working site visits; and an online help forum. The Network is expected to continue to result in:

•    Greater capacity and skills around Housing Zone-specific issues
•    Officers better equipped to deliver competently and quickly as individuals and teams
•    More efficient sharing of successful ideas and practices; better chance of not repeating mistakes and avoiding pitfalls
•    Greater feeling of support from the GLA
•    Ongoing external publicity of HZ progress, successes, outcomes
•    Support best practice in this and future rounds
 

Equality comments

3.1    The public sector equality duty requires the identification and evaluation of  the  likely  potential impacts,  both  positive  and  negative,  of the decision  on those with  protected  characteristics  (age, disability,  gender  reassignment,  pregnancy  and  maternity,  race,  gender,  religion  or belief,  sexual orientation) and set out how you are addressing the duties.

3.2    The public sector equality duty is taken into consideration by each participating organisation when selecting nominees for the network.
 

Other considerations

Risk

Mitigation Strategy

Lead

Low interest from public sector organisations dealing with housing zones

Future of London programmes are generally oversubscribed and there are currently 62 active organisation participating in the Housing Zones Network; however, if there is a drop off in participation, GLA officers could contact partners to encourage participation. The overall likelihood of this risk is low.

GLA

As with any network,

there is a risk overall

objectives are not met

or realised  by individual members.

The network will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure overall objectives are met and to make adjustments if  needed. The GLA contribution will also be reviewed.

 

FoL / GLA

Financial comments

5.1    This decision requests an approval to expend up to £15,000 to continue the contract with FoL to run the Housing Zones Network from October 2016 to September 2017.

5.2    This expenditure is available from Housing & Land Management and Support Consultancy Budget and will be spend in full in 2016/17 financial year. Any changes to this proposal, including the requirement of additional funds, will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision making process.
 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Renew contract for 2016-17 period

October 2016

Review of Housing Zones Network outputs

September 2017