ADD2160 Future of London Housing Network

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2160
Date signed: 
18 September 2017
Decision by: 
Jamie Ratcliff, Assistant Director, 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, entered into contract with them to run the Housing Zones Network to promote best practice, networking and the sharing of technical guidance on Housing Zone-specific issues. This decision seeks approval for expenditure of £15,000 to continue the programme for another year as an expanded network looking at housing more broadly and attracting a wider group of participants from across the sector. The expanded network will be called the London Housing Network. It also seeks approval of single source exemption in accordance with section 10 of the GLA Contracts and Funding Code.
 

Decision

That the Assistant Director approves:

• Expenditure of up to £15,000 to run London Housing Network for one year from October 2017 to September 2018.

• An exemption from the requirement in the GLA Contracts and Funding Code to seek a call-off from a suitable framework where possible or undertake a formal tender process.

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 two 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 two programmes are primarily funded through FoL membership fees.

1.2 The GLA is a member of the FoL network and in Summer 2015, entered into contract with them to run the Housing Zones Network, a bespoke network for public sector officers working on Housing Zones to run alongside the life of the programme. This was approved by ADD367 and renewed for another year in 2016 by ADD2038.

1.3 Building on the Housing Zones Network’s success and feedback, it is proposed that the network is expanded to cover housing delivery beyond the zones, and be renamed the London Housing Network to engage with and support a broader base.

1.4 The next 12 months will see:
• More networking opportunities, including networking events and visits (participants are invited to all Future of London field trips; new trips would be hosted by borough leads).
• Follow-up on topics arising in FoL’s Housing Zones Report
• The continuation of expert-led workshops, introducing a new range of topics plus repeats of key topics such as viability, compulsory purchase orders and PRS delivery.
• GLA updates timed with key initiatives.

1.5 FoL relies primarily on membership and participation fees to fund their programmes. These sources of funding are not sufficient to fund the network unless the fees are significantly increased. This would dissuade take up and run counterproductive to the network’s aim of pulling together various stakeholders.

1.6  In recognition of the above benefits this decision seeks approval to contribute £15,000 which will bridge the gap between the participation fees and total costs of delivering the network for one year. This contribution will be reviewed annually and require a separate decision if made in future years. 

Single Source Exemption 

1.7 The GLA Contracts and Funding 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.

1.8  To this end, FoL has a membership that includes 27 London boroughs, Transport for London and a number of key housing associations and is already running a Housing Zones Network that can easily be adapted into a Housing Network. There are no other organisations in London with the same membership and programmes on offer.

1.9 Consideration was given to conducting an open tender; however, a prospective supplier would have to create a new network from scratch to involve the same organisations that are already actively involved in the FoL network. This would cause considerable delays to the formation of the network and would result in the network having limited influence supporting officers involved in time sensitive projects and initiatives.


Declarations

1.10 It is noted that David Lunts, GLA Executive Directorate for Housing & Land, is a Future of London Board Member. In order to avoid any potential or perceived conflicts of interest, The Executive Director was not involved in the decision by the GLA to continue and expand the network.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1 The London Housing Network will provide:

• Access to experts from a broad range of disciplines including planning, law, development, viability, design, governance, community engagement, transport and local economy.
• Updates from the GLA on key policy and funding initiatives.
• A regularly updated resource of online learning materials. 
• Opportunities for small group work with peers and networking opportunities, including social events and visits, to gain exposure to different ways of working, best practice and innovation.

2.2 The expected outcomes will result in:

• Greater knowledge and skills around housing and major development 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 support to housing partners from the GLA.
• Ongoing external publicity of housing delivery progress, successes, outcomes.

2.3 The new network will also support the objectives set out in the Homes for Londoners Learning and Development Training Manual which has been designed specifically to assist Housing & Land (H&L) officers to acquire the full range of skills and knowledge that they require to undertake their duties. The objectives include enabling H&L to be more efficient in terms of managing training and learning events, ensure learning and development is taking place throughout the year and better identify opportunities, options and methods officers can utilise to gain the skills and knowledge they need to do their job well.

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 will be taken into consideration by Future of London in planning networking events and when participating with members.

Other considerations

Risk

Mitigation Strategy

Lead

Low interest from public sector organisations dealing with housing zones

Future of London programmes are generally oversubscribed; however, if there is low uptake, 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 continue to be reviewed on an annual basis by the Assistant Director for Housing and H&L Business Manager to ensure overall objectives are met and to make adjustments if needed. The GLA contribution will also be reviewed. The next review will take place in August 2018.

FoL

Financial comments

5.1 This decision requests approval to expend up-to £15,000 to run London Housing Network for one year from Oct 2017 to Sep 2018. It also seeks approval of single source exemption in accordance with section 10 of the GLA Contracts and Funding Code.

5.2 The expenditure is available from Housing & Land Management and Support Consultancy Budget and will be spend in 2017/18 financial year.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Expanded London Housing Zones Network launched

October 2017

Review of network and GLA contribution

August 2018