ADD2186 Philanthropy in London and the role of the GLA

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
18 December 2017
Decision by: 
Laura Cordingley Nee Brown , Assistant Director, Team London

Executive summary

This ADD is to request approval of expenditure of up to £50,000 from the Communities & Intelligence Minor Programme budget to procure and commission a third party to produce a review of the GLA’s role in enabling philanthropy and giving in London. This review will build on existing research and scope out current philanthropy and giving across London, with a focus on activity enabled by the GLA. The review will be completed independently from the GLA, setting out recommendations for the GLA to consider, which could inform future strategies and priorities.


That the Assistant Director, Team London approves expenditure of up to £50,000 to contract an organisation to undertake a pan-London review of philanthropy, giving and employer supported volunteering in London.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Philanthropy is the effective giving of money, time and other resources, such as influence and insight to support a charitable cause. This giving can come from the traditional high net worth individuals through trust and foundations or from individual Londoners through community/civil society groups, corporate giving, places of worship or via new digital platforms like crowdfunding.

As defined by Volunteering England “Employer-Supported Volunteering provides employees the opportunity to volunteer with support from their employer, whether this is in the form of time off for individual volunteering or in a programme developed by the employer such as a team challenge event or ongoing arrangement with a community partner.” Due to limited research and challenges in tracking and reporting data there is limited evidence on actual levels of ESV in London however it has been reported that over 70% of FTSE 100 companies have stated that they have a ESV programme which could suggest potential opportunities.

Whilst the exact level or proportion of giving in London is unknown , recent research suggests that the trend of significant individual and corporate philanthropy across the UK is sustained, if not heightened, for London. Cash giving in the capital is estimated at £5.6 billion a year from all private sources, accounting for 29% of all UK giving . In terms of volunteering, a recent report by City Philanthropy found that 39% of London employees volunteer on an ad hoc and/or regular basis.

There is increasing interest in the possibility of harnessing the wealth, time and skills of both corporations and individuals to benefit increasingly disadvantaged communities in the capital, as London continues to be ‘a city of great divides’. The London Communities Commission talked of “a new philanthropic age [believing] that the time is ripe for London’s wealthiest residents and businesses to come together in an exemplary social philanthropic effort.” Coupled with the emerging alternative finance market, which includes models such as crowdfunding, and a recent discussion paper by the Charities Aid Foundation (July 2017) about “the Role of Mayors in building a culture of civic philanthropy” now is a timely opportunity to review the potential impact of GLA philanthropy on social challenges in London today.

To date the GLA have enabled “giving” through corporate giving including employer supported volunteering, strategic funding partnerships and more recently crowdfunding, this provision has been delivered, although not exhaustive, by:

• Team London, the Mayor’s volunteering team
• Crowdfund London, the Mayor’s place based crowd funding platform
• Mayor’s Fund for London, a social mobility charity for which the Mayor is Patron

This review aims to identify the Mayor’s role, as an influential figure, in enabling impactful and sustainable philanthropy in London. It will review the Mayor’s role in championing philanthropy in London taking in to consideration the wide variety of different GLA teams that are currently involved with philanthropic activity and giving.

This review will also look at the role and scope of corporate giving in the Capital and identify whether there are opportunities for greater impact or improved collaboration between London based charities, businesses and other regional philanthropy stakeholders. This will include reviewing the role and activation of employer supported volunteering through the GLA, identifying whether there is an opportunity for the Mayor to influence and play a role in shaping civic philanthropy participation, and the GLA philanthropic activities in general.

This review will be broad enough in scope to take in the philanthropic landscape of London as a whole, building on existing research already undertaken by organisations such as City Bridge Trust and Centre for London. The key focus will be reviewing the GLA’s unique positioning as a regional body within this landscape and identifying strategic partners to help deliver the Mayor’s aims in this area.

The proposed review would cover the GLA’s current support for philanthropy and giving, the GLA’s relationship and support to charitable and philanthropic organisations and, drawing on existing research, set out the context and provision of philanthropy and giving in London. For the purpose of this review and paper, we will focus on the giving of money and resources (such as insight) from both corporations and individuals.

The expenditure of up to £50,000 will allow us to appoint an independent reviewer to undertake scoping work on philanthropy and giving in London which should help inform the Mayor and GLA of potential opportunities to further develop a culture of civic giving.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The objective is to conduct a London wide review of existing philanthropy and giving in London enabled by the GLA and provide a robust and independent report recommending areas that the GLA could better leverage support and resources. The review will take in to consideration the GLA’s role against the areas of interest.

The review areas of interest for the GLA are:

a) Strategic position: The GLA, given its profile and extensive partners and stakeholders, is strategically placed well to potentially harness, coordinate and deliver on the altruism of Londoners – from all backgrounds with all levels of resources. This review will look at the role of the GLA and the Mayor.

b) Existing programmes: With programmes like Team London and Crowdfund London, the GLA has both the infrastructure in place and the skills and knowledge to shape these programmes to reflect the changing nature of philanthropy and the high levels of volunteering that exist in London. This review should look at GLA external programmes to identify opportunities and gaps that need addressed.

c) GLA Data: GLA has access to a wealth of data that could support philanthropy to deliver smarter, evidence-based solutions to some of London’s challenging issues. This review should look at whether this information can be shared and how it can be used to enable more strategic and impactful programmes and campaigns.

d) Call for action: In 2016 the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) released a discussion paper regarding the role of the Mayor in enabling philanthropy and giving in England. The GLA and Mayor could play a pivotal role in convening cross sector stakeholder to share best practice and call to action all Mayors to develop sustainable and impactful philanthropy strategies that support regional and national priorities.

The expected outcomes and outputs:

a) A high-level overview of the existing provision, infrastructure and resources of London’s philanthropy and giving landscape, building on research already undertaken by key stakeholders such as: Centre of London, City Philanthropy and CAF.

b) A detailed review of philanthropy and giving enabled by the GLA over recent years, including individuals, corporates and other local government bodies, third sector and other associated stakeholders with a vested interest.

c) Review and build on recommendations made in CAF’s open response to the Mayor in 2016 and follow up discussion paper regarding “The Role of the Mayor’s in building a culture of civic philanthropy”.

d) Review the Mayor’s role in profiling and enabling philanthropy and giving in London, identifying alignment and opportunities provided through embedding activity and support in cross department strategies and programmes.

e) Review the role of the GLA in key philanthropic organisations in London

f) Provide detailed and practical recommendations for the GLA on areas and priorities where he could use his influencing powers to convene, encourage and enable cross collaboration.

The research findings will be used to inform future strategies involving philanthropy and giving, building on existing research and infrastructure already taking place. A written report will be produced for the GLA including recommendations that the GLA may choose to implement and publish. This could include international examples and recommendations from previous discussion papers related to the role of the GLA in shaping philanthropy.

Research has been completed to investigate which organisations hold the relevant knowledge and experience to complete the review. Following the GLA procurement guidelines, an independent expert will be engaged to undertake the review. A key part of their proposal will identify how they will conduct the review whilst maintaining a completely independent and unbiased stance.

Equality comments

Philanthropy is of importance to the GLA as it has a major role in addressing the needs of London’s disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, as well as enriching lives with education and cultural activities. Philanthropy improves social integration and has positive effects on skills development, wellbeing, happiness and crime reduction. It offers an effective and important engagement channel to London’s diverse communities, offering the ability to consult and engage across the full range of the Mayor’s priorities. Philanthropic activities eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic.

A key aspect of this review will be the independence and impartiality of the organisation conducting the review. This is important to ensure an unbiased review which will be used by the GLA to guide its approach to philanthropy for all, regardless of race, disability, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment.

Other considerations



Philanthropy and giving is not a new concept and potential duplication of resources and research could occur across other London stakeholders.

As part of the tender process the bid will stipulate an open and transparent process with stakeholders with an invested interest and will encourage reviewer to build on existing research.


The sector is well connected and small so identifying a neutral reviewer could be challenging.


All tendering organisations will need to evidence their ability to be independent as part of the review. All applicants will need to complete a NDA in advance of applying.

The topic area is broad and could prove challenging to identify clear actionable recommendations for the GLA when the review is being completed independent.


All tendering organisations will need to evidence their ability to provide robust and practical recommendations for the GLA to consider implementation as part of the application.

Doesn’t link to / isn’t integrated with other Mayoral strategies and priorities.

A senior level advisory group and proposed internal GLA task and finish group will be set up to ensure review is aligning with other work that is being undertaken within the GLA.


Financial comments

The cost of up to £50,000 for this project will be funded from the Communities & Intelligence Minor Programme budget for 2017-18. Any further costs and activities arising as a result of the proposed review will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process.

Activity table



Procurement of contract

December 2017 - January 2018

Review begins

February 2018

Review completed

April 2018

Project Closure

May 2018

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