ADD2063 First Steps Property Portal Contract Extension

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2063
Date signed: 
22 December 2016
Decision by: 
Jamie Ratcliff, Assistant Director of Policy, Programme and Services

Executive summary

Under the current terms of the First Steps Property Portal Contract between GLA and Share to Buy, the service is due to expire on 31 March 2017. The estimated timeframe for procuring and implementing a new service that reflects current Mayoral priorities is 12 months. 

Approval is therefore sought to use the contract variation powers within the First Steps Property Portal Contract to extend the service by 15 months to 30 June 2018. The proposed extension incorporates an initial 12 month period to 31 March 2018 along with the option to continue for a further 3 months as contingency. 
 

Decision

That the Assistant Director of Programme Policy and Services approves the use of the contract variation powers within the First Steps Property Portal Contract to extend the service to 30 June 2018 on existing terms and at no cost to the GLA. 

 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The First Steps Property Portal was established under the previous Mayor; its purpose being to provide a pan-london Portal for Londoners on low to middle incomes seeking to access shared ownership and other properties offered on intermediate, sub market terms. 

1.2    Share to Buy successfully bid to provide the First Steps Portal service when it was procured in early 2013 to deliver the First Steps Portal service from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2016 at nil cost to the GLA. The service is provided on a concessionary basis to housing providers but is funded by fees accumulated from additional marketing activities offered to housing providers by Share to Buy. 

1.3    To ensure continuity of service for Londoners and certainty for Housing Providers and Share to Buy, prior to the 2016 London Mayoral election the service was extended through to March 2017 in line with Assistant Director Decision 306.  

1.4    The First Steps Portal has been a success with over 180,000 users registered since its launch. In the period 1st July – 30th September 2016 there were over 15,000 new registrations and over 41,700 property enquiries. In order to supplement the service Share to Buy hold bi-annual Home Show events where home seekers interested in shared ownership and other intermediate housing options are provided with the opportunity to meet housing providers and register their interest in person.

1.5    The First Steps Portal Contract expires on 31st March 2017 and the estimated timeframe for procuring and implementing a new service that reflects current Mayoral priorities is 12 months. Given this timeframe it is approval is sought to use the contract variation powers within the First Steps Property Portal Contract to extend the service by 15 months to 30 June 2018. The proposed extension incorporates an initial 12 month period to 31 March 2018 along with the option to continue for a further 3 months as contingency.
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1.    The objective of this Assistant Directors Decision is to agree an extension of the existing First Steps contract to June 2018.

 

Equality comments

3.1.    The GLA has taken appropriate measures to ensure there are no potential negative impacts as a result of this decision on those with protected characteristics. Those with protected characteristics will gain from the positive benefits of the First Steps Portal, and there will be equality in accessibility to participate in the delivery and benefit from the portal without discrimination. 

 

Other considerations

a) key risks and issues
The following risks and issues were identified:
•    Damage to the GLA reputation as a result of decrease in success rate
•    Not achieving stakeholder buy-in from the sector

b) links to Mayoral strategies and priorities
The current London Housing Strategy includes targets for the number of shared ownership homes delivered in the capital to be doubled by 2020, and doubled again by 2025, helping 250,000 Londoners into home ownership.  

c) impact assessments and consultations
Internal and external stakeholders have been consulted on the extension of this contract.
 

Financial comments

5.1.    This is an internet based service that provides property details to prospective shared ownership purchasers and tenants. That fact that it is provided at no cost to the GLA makes it good value. There seems to be no financial reason to not extend the contract. 

5.2.    The decision to extend this contract is on the same basis as MD1134 at nil-cost to the GLA. 
 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Finalise contract extension

December 2016

Procure provider for Homes For Londoners Property Portal

January 2017- March 2018

Launch Homes for Londoners Property Portal

April-June 2018