ADD2202 Press support services for sustainable development

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2202
Date signed: 
14 February 2018
Decision by: 
Patrick Feehily, Assistant Director, Environment

Executive summary

The London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC) provides independent advice to the Mayor of London on how to make the capital an exemplary sustainable world city.  It is supported in its work by a secretariat, provided by the Greater London Authority’s Sustainable Development Team. 
Approval is sought to spend £45,000 on external press support services from April 2018 – March 2021.  Expenditure will be covered by the LSDC’s programme budget and the contract will be subject to an annual break clause. 
The successful agency / consultant will support the LSDC’s communications strategy, providing press engagement services to help raise the profile of LSDC activities. It will also provide press support to the ERDF Better Futures project.
The GLA Press Team have been consulted and agreed that the LSDC procuring press support services in this way was the appropriate mechanism for an entity providing independent advice such as the LSDC.
 

Decision

That the Assistant Director, Environment, approves expenditure of up to £15,000 per annum from 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2021 (total value of the contract being £45,000 over the three-year period) for the provision of press support services for the LSDC and the ‘Better Futures’ project.

 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    Approval was granted in January 2015 for contracting Press Support services to support the London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC) for a three-year period under ADD260. The contract granted on the basis of ADD260 concludes on 31 March 2018, therefore approval is sought to procure similar services under a fresh contract, following a new tendering process.  

1.2    The GLA Press Team have been consulted and agreed that the LSDC procuring press support services in this way was the appropriate mechanism for an entity providing independent advice such as the LSDC.

London Sustainable Development Commission  

1.3    The LSDC is responsible for providing independent advice to the Mayor on making the capital an exemplary sustainable world city. First established by the Mayor of London in 2002, the LSDC comprises key representatives from London’s economic, social, environmental and governance sectors, who give their time voluntarily. The LSDC is supported in its work by a small secretariat provided by the GLA. Having recently appointed a new Chair and Deputy Chair, the LSDC is in the process of setting its new areas of focus going forward, but ongoing and current areas of focus include: 

    Cleantech and Innovation: how to speed up the growth of London’s low-carbon goods and services sector, including through the Better Futures project.
    Quality of Life Indicators: this important set of measures on sustainable development in the capital was recently updated, and results will be used to define future priorities.
    Green Finance: exploring ways to finance the transition to a zero carbon, sustainable London. 

1.4    The LSDC is seeking to focus its efforts particularly in areas that have the potential to be transformational and scalable, to demonstrate additionality in its work, raise ambition and to promote exemplary sustainability practice. 

Better Futures project 

1.5    In March 2016, the LSDC published ‘Better Future: A Route Map to Creating a Cleantech Cluster in London.’ This report recognised the scale of the challenge set at the COP21 Paris Climate talks, but also the opportunity for London to develop new businesses and technologies to meet the climate challenge. Crucially, the report found that London’s low carbon economy currently generates around £30.4bn annually, with some 10,900 businesses employing 192,416 people. Although the capital has the UK’s greatest concentration of green businesses, it is growing at just over half the global rate.  One reason for this is that the cleantech sector is currently scattered across the capital, meaning that is not gaining the well-known benefits of ‘clustering’. The report’s key proposition was for London to generate a ‘cleantech cluster’ in West London around Old Oak and Park Royal, creating a strong, creative focus for London’s drive to a low-carbon future.  

1.6    As part of a collection of measures to generate the cluster, the Better Futures project has received a European Union Regional Development Fund grant to facilitate development of a managed co-working space and deliver tailored innovation and business growth support to improve the success rate and speed of new low-carbon enterprises seeking to grow.  This project has a communications requirement: both to maximise its success and to meet contractual requirements under the ERDF grant. £5k per year (for two years) has been allocated as part of the GLA match funding towards the project as per MD2077.

 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The successful consultants will support the development and delivery of the LSDC’s communications strategy, providing press engagement services to help profile key LSDC activities in the context of its role to advise the Mayor and exist as a well-know, objective and authoritative voice on priority sustainability issues for the capital.  This includes communications support for the Better Futures project.


2.2    Services delivered under this contract would include: 

    Supporting the contract manager in the development of an overarching communications and engagement strategy by the LSDC.

    Raising awareness of the LSDC and its activities through handling press enquiries, producing and issuing press releases (as appropriate), creating a tailored media list to support this engagement and attending a monthly catch up with the contract manager. 

    On the Better Futures project, maximising the profile of the overall project through the development of communications strategy, appropriate press engagement; advising on media angles; media advice to the SMEs involved in the project; media promotion of the key project developments; and supporting the contract manager to develop a narrative around the overall profile and impact of the project. 

    On other LSDC activities (e.g. publications), this contract would support the media promotion of key research, publications or events as part of the LSDC work programme, and also support the public positioning of the LSDC Chair in his capacity as spokesperson for the LSDC. These activities would include monitoring of the media-landscape to determine opportunities for proactively putting forward the LSDC for comment on its core issues, subsequent liaison with the media to offer comment on such issues as appropriate, and helping the contract manager to distil media-appropriate key messages in the LSDC’s core areas / on priority issues as part of a positions matrix that the LSDC can draw on for comment as appropriate to ensure an efficient process. 

 

Equality comments

3.1    The services awarded under this contract will support the work of the LSDC, whose Terms of Reference  outline a clear commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity in its core principles, i.e.:

“In working towards this purpose, the LSDC adopts the following core principles: 
o    To add value to London and complement the work of others 
o    To work in open and transparent partnerships and embrace a consensual approach 
o    To seek active engagement and inclusion of citizens, communities, key constituencies and stakeholders. 
o    To expand and share information, ideas and learning about sustainable development matters 
o    To commit to equality, diversity and inclusivity.”

The successful consultant would be expected to make themselves familiar with these core principles, and to apply the principles of the Equality Act as they apply to public bodies such as the GLA.

3.2    As well as this LSDC’s overall, core commitment to the principles of equality, diversity and exclusivity, several of its workstreams have explicit reference to improving the representation of groups currently underrepresented in particular sectors.  For instance, the LSDC’s Cleantech and Innovation sub-group has a specific objective to enhance the representation of women and BAME in London’s cleantech sector.  

3.3     In procuring and managing the consultant, the GLA will look to encourage equality and diversity, in line with the Responsible Procurement Policy.   Specific efforts will be made to ensure that the procurement process is open to the whole of the PR support community (including Small and Medium Enterprises operating in this space), and applicants will be asked to demonstrate how they promote equality and diversity in their own organisations. The GLA will also ensure that suppliers are paid promptly – and should an SME be contracted, within 10 working days, in recognition of the latter’s challenges around cash flow.

3.4     Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA must have ‘due regard’ of the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.
 

Other considerations

Key Risks and issues 
4.1    Failure to receive approval would mean the LSDC would be unable to access independent and proactive press support services to support its remit and the aims (and contractual requirements under the ERDF) of the Better Futures project. This would ultimately have a negative impact on delivery. 

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities
4.2    The LSDC and the Better Futures project support delivery of the Mayor’s statutory duty on sustainable development. As such, they link into the majority of the Mayor’s priorities, strategies and the Corporate Plan.

Impact assessments and consultation 
4.3    There are no specific requirements for impact assessment or consultation (although for information – the LSDC Chair and commissioners are recruited through an open recruitment process, and LSDC events support consultation with key stakeholders from across London).
 

Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought to procure and award a contract for the provision of Press Support services for the LSDC from 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2021. 

5.2    The contract to be awarded will be up to the value of £15,000 per annum, with the total value of the contract being up to £45,000 over the three-year period. The contract will include an annual break clause, and will be funded from the Sustainable Development Programme budget as well as up to £5k per year (for two years) which has been allocated as part of the GLA match funding towards the Better Futures project as per MD2077, with each year’s budget provision being subject to the annual budget process. 

5.3    Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made. 

5.4    The Sustainable Development Team within the Development, Enterprise & Environment Directorate will be responsible for managing the proposed contract and ensuring all expenditure adheres to the Authority’s Financial Regulations, Contracts & Funding Code and Expenses & Benefits Framework. 
 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

The agency / consultant will be secured via competitive procurement through Transport for London.

 

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract [for externally delivered projects]

Feb 2018

Announcement [if applicable]

w/c 16 Mar 2018

Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]

1 Apr 2018

Final evaluation start and finish (self):

Mar - annually

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

31 Mar 2021

Project Closure: [for project proposals]

31 Mar 2021