ADD2134 Subscriptions required by GLA Economics for 2018

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2134
Date signed: 
01 August 2017
Decision by: 
Andrew Collinge, Assistant Director of Intelligence

Executive summary

To produce ‘London's Economic Outlook’ forecast document GLA Economics requires various data.  Some of this data is provided through subscriptions to four outside data sources: Cambridge Econometrics; Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR); Experian Economics; and Oxford Economics. The data provided by Experian Economics is also reported in our monthly publication London's Economy Today and is used in briefings to the GLA Group.

The cost of the four annual subscriptions for the data in 2017 was approximately £34,663; with the service cost for 2018 expected to be around £34,912. Accordingly, this decision seeks approval to purchase these subscriptions at this price, enabling GLA Economics’ comparative analysis and completion of the London forecast.

Decision

That the Assistant Director of Intelligence approves:

1. Expenditure of up to £35,000 for the purchase of a 12-month subscription from Cambridge Econometrics, CEBR, Experian Economics and Oxford Economics for the provision of GLA access to their databases;

2.An exemption from the requirements of section 4.1 of the GLA’s Contract and Funding Code to seek a call-off from a suitable framework where possible and If not, to undertake a formal tender process.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1 To produce the GLA’s "London's Economic Outlook" forecast document, GLA Economics must ensure that it has access to all available credible, comparative data to inform its analysis. In order to produce London’s Economic Outlook, the GLA subscribes to the four providers of reputable economic forecasting services for London, namely: Experian Economics; Oxford Economics; CEBR; and Cambridge Econometrics (Forecasters).


1.2 London economic forecasts will be purchased from all four of the Forecasters to enable comparison of GLA Economics forecasts with those of other market specialists. The GLA is satisfied that the four Forecasters remain, and are, the only organisations who would be able to provide the specific data subscriptions required to produce ‘London’s Economic Outlook’. The four suppliers are being called off an existing framework.

1.3 The Forecasters provide historic and forecast data for both the absolute level of Gross Value Added (GVA) and employment in London, as well as forecasts for all sectors of London’s economy. This access to specialist data enables comparative analysis of the GLA’s ‘London’s Economic Outlook’ forecast with the forecasts of market specialists, thereby providing quality assurance of the GLA's in-house forecast. Access to these historic time series and forecasts also allow the GLA to monitor the evolving sentiment around the likely performance of London’s economy, as well as informing policy development across different areas of the GLA Group.

1.4 The total fees for the four subscriptions in 2017 were £34,663. It is expected that the subscription costs for 2018 will be approximately £35,000.

1.5 Officers acknowledge that section 9.1 of the GLA's Contracts and Funding Code (‘Code’) requires that contracts with an estimated value of up to £10,000 are procured by seeking three or more written quotations or that the services are called off from an accessible framework (Experian Economics, Cambridge Economics, CEBR, Oxford Economics) and that contracts with an estimated value of up £10,000 to £150,000 are procured either by making a call-off from a suitable framework or by a formal tender process.

1.6 However, section 10 of the Code provides that exemptions from that requirement may be approved where there is a complete absence of competition. Following the establishment of the GLA Economics Research and Evaluation Framework, with specific reference to Lot 1 relating to ‘Monitoring and Forecasting the London Economy’, it has been confirmed that the four current suppliers remain the only companies that would be able to provide the data subscriptions required, and on the basis, that the GLA will procure the subscriptions by seeking quotes from the four forecasters and enter into contract with all four. Therefore, no party will be put at a disadvantage as subscriptions will be purchased from all of the market, which means there is an absence of competition outside of these four forecasters. Purchasing all four forecasters’ data also ensures that GLA Economics has access to complete set of information and is able to ensure that analysis is not distorted by outliers in these forecasts.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1 To purchase subscriptions from: Experian Economics; Oxford Economics; CEBR; and Cambridge Econometrics, for the provision of credible, comparative economic data on London to produce the GLA’s ‘London's Economic Outlook’ forecast and other reports.

Equality comments

3.1 Equality considerations have been taken into account as a part of this procurement process, however, as these subscriptions relate to economic data the selection of data providers are based on the suitability of the product provided implying that the selection is likely to have only limited or no implications for equality.
 

Other considerations

Risks

4.1 The subscriptions will be managed in line with standard GLA Group contract procedures, drawing on advice from TfL procurement officers where required.  If we do not purchase the subscription, we will have an inconsistent data series and will be unable to produce ‘London's Economic Outlook’ for the GLA Group.

4.2 The subscriptions are to be procured through seeking quotes from the four Forecasters; however, if one of the Forecasters decided not to quote a price for their annual subscription within the invitation to tender period, this would severely impact on the ‘London’s Economic Outlook’ forecast report, and its wider use within the GLA Group, such as in the London Plan or TfL planning projections. The likelihood of this risk occurring is deemed by GLA Economics to be very low.

Links to strategies and Mayoral and corporate priorities
4.3 London's Economic Outlook is a fundamental requirement for GLA Group planning. The data is also required for additional work completed by GLA Economics for TfL's planning projections.

Impact assessments and Consultation
4.4 The creation of forecasts is an agreed output of the GLA Intelligence business plan.

Financial comments

5.1 The total cost of the proposed subscriptions is £35,000 (for the period from 1 Jan 2018 to the 31 December 2018). The cost per subscription is as follows:

Cambridge Econometrics

£8,500

CEBR

£6,250

Experian Economics

£14,000

Oxford Economics

£6,250

Total

£35,000

5.2 The proposed subscriptions will span over two financial years (2017-18- £8,750; 2018-19 £26,250) for which costs are to be contained within the existing GLA Economics Budget held within the Intelligence Unit, with the 2018-19 budget being subject to the Authority’s budget setting process for 2018-19.

 

 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

7.1 This is not necessary as this ADD relates to the purchase of subscription data service from external economic consultancies; the subscription data will be used to produce "London's Economic Outlook" forecast document and, more generally, to inform GLA Economics’ analysis of the state of the London’s economy.