ADD2130 Social Integration - London Identities Research

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
11 July 2017
Decision by: 
Julia Slay, Assistant Director for Communities and Social Policy

Executive summary

The Communities and Social Policy team is requesting funding for a specific piece of research on London Identities for its social integration programme development. The request is for £40,000 of funding to commission an external organisation to conduct market research across London’s communities. The research will explore whether a ‘London identity’ exists across the city.

The research will be an important part of the evidence base for our social integration strategy and will shape our direction and language for programmes and policy under this area of work.


That the Assistant Director of Communities and Social Policy approves:

  1. Expenditure of £40,000 to commission an external organisation to conduct research into the identities of Londoners.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Social Integration is a major priority for the Mayor. Social integration is about how we all live together. It is about building strong communities where all Londoners can lead interconnected lives and play an active part in their city and the decisions that affect them. We know this can only be achieved by working to overcome structural barriers and inequalities, whilst recognising the important role interaction and participation play in overcoming these.

The DSP team is developing a strategy which will identify specific policy and project options to improve social integration in London. As this is a completely new area of work for the GLA, additional resources are required to ensure the strategy is evidence based, and draws on international best practice.

London is defined by its super-diversity and there are so many ways in which the people living in this city define their identity. We would like to understand whether a shared identity exists in the capital. This research will inform our work on social integration – we would like to understand if there is a sense of a London identity which we can use to communicate ideas, promote active citizenship and celebrate our shared and diverse identities.

Previous research conducted at the GLA, as part of the Mayor’s Good Growth agenda, has given insight into how the ‘London Brand’ provides people with a collective London identity that offers some Londoners a sense of pride and belonging to the city - particularly because of the culture, job opportunities and amenities the city has to offer.  This research aims to further our understanding of a London identity by determining whether this identity is shared by a variety of communities and what the identity means to them.

This research will also inform other strategies currently in development at the GLA including the culture and health inequalities strategies. The outcome of this research could inform the language used by the GLA’s Marketing and Events teams to communicate with the city on matters relating to social integration. As part of the commissioning process, we will engage with these departments to finalise our research questions.

This research will be externally commissioned. The total cost of this project is £40,000.

Objectives and expected outcomes

We want to understand which communities living in London define themselves as ‘Londoners’ and whether promoting a London identity (recognising the multiple and diverse identities of Londoners) would support or hinder our ambitions around building a socially integrated city.

As a result of this research we want to understand:

  • Do people living in London identify with the concept of a London identity or the term ‘Londoner’ and how important that identity is to them? How does this fit with the changing nature of identity in the UK?
  • Do people living in London have clear ideas of what it means to be a Londoner?
  • What are the different aspects of a London identity and how do these vary across different social groups and geographical locations? Are there particular groups who feel excluded from a sense of London identity?  Why?
  • If a London identity does exist within communities, does it bring people together or possibly mobilise them into action?
  • If a London identity does exist, which aspects should we be championing and reinforcing?

    As previously stated, similar work has been undertaken by the GLA, but has not sought the opinions of communities on the peripheries of London. This kind of insight cannot solely be captured by the quantitative research methods of our in-house polling and requires researchers to engage with a wider pool of Londoners including harder-to-reach groups, recent migrants and outer London residents. This insight will be gained through in-depth interviews and focus groups with Londoners to explore their views on a London identity.

    The outcomes of this research will help us understand the extent to which the GLA can harness the power of a London identity and how aspects of a London identity could be championed to progress social integration (supporting inclusive identities, relationship building and participation in communities and decision making).

    We expect this qualitative fieldwork to explore the identities of a diverse range of Londoners as well as draw on their lived experiences and therefore provide an important evidence base on our social integration work.


Equality comments


All of the DSP team’s work is directed to tackling inequalities in London and reducing discrimination and disadvantage wherever possible. This work will help inform our understanding of Londoners and allow us to engage diverse communities across London, including harder-to-reach groups.

Other considerations

In order for this research to really inform our approach to social integration, we want to understand the different experiences of diverse Londoners, requiring this research to really engage with a variety of communities across the city. There is a risk that the commissioned organisation may not be able to access some of the key groups of Londoners we will want to see represented in this research.

Financial comments

The estimated cost of £40,000 will be funded from the Communities and Social Policy Team’s budget for 2017-18.

Activity table



Procurement of contract [for externally delivered projects]

early July 2017

Announcement [if applicable]


Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]

July 2017

Main milestones - [Review of literature and design of field work]

August 2017

Main milestones - [Fieldwork]

September 2017

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

December 2017


Our next steps include:

  • Procurement of contract

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