ADD2208 Creating a new civil society infrastructure organisation

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
06 March 2018
Decision by: 
Laura Cordingley Nee Brown , Assistant Director, Team London

Executive summary

The infrastructure landscape for civil society in London has undergone enormous change due to economic and commissioning impacts. The Way Ahead report, which the GLA contributed to in both the initial report and the task and finish groups that followed, recommended the creation of a new infrastructure organisation for London: the ‘London Hub’. 

The GLA is supporting, through officer time, work to establish a governance and legal structure for the London Hub. Funding has been secured for the hub’s staffing and set-up, which leaves a need to develop the narrative and messaging around the new organisation. Support is therefore required to allow the development of a vision, communications strategy action plan and narrative to take hub development to the next stage so it can support London’s Civil Society. 


That the Assistant Director of Team London approves expenditure of £20,000 by way of a grant to Greater London Volunteering, which it will use to help develop a volunteering infrastructure body for London.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The Way Ahead report was a joint piece of work commissioned by London Funders and involved the Big Lottery, Greater London Volunteering (GLV), London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC) and the GLA as key contributors and partners. Following the report and subsequent task and finish groups (Data/Commissioning/Co-Production/Voice and Advocacy/Triage and Connect) there were a series of recommendations made which included that a new regional infrastructure body be established for London.

1.2    Work to set up this infrastructure body was originally anticipated to be complete by September 2017 but was delayed. The scope included looking at the functionality of existing bodies such as LVSC and GLV and identifying what functions should continue, which should cease and what new developments were required.

1.3    In October 2017 LVSC went into administration, with some data and roles transferred over to GLV and work began to change the existing memorandum and articles for GLV to make it fit for purpose to create the legal base for the London hub.

1.4    A steering group has been set up with cross sector membership, including London Councils, the GLA, representatives from grassroots organisations and funders such as the Big Lottery and City Bridge Trust to shape the new organisation. Funding has been allocated by City Bridge Trust for staff costs for one year, to begin in April 2018.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1     Budget had been set aside in the Team London 2017/18 budget to contribute to the development of the London hub. This budget was not set aside in the Community Engagement team budget within C&SP as at the time of budgeting the team was not sufficiently established and did not have the two posts that work with Civil Society organisations in place. These posts have now been recruited and the responsibility for strategy development now sits with that team. This proposal has been developed with Community Engagement and is a joint request. The urgent need to drive forward hub development is for the steering group (which is the shadow board at present) and GLV to be able to commission support to develop a communications strategy and vision which will also guide the development and communication of the core functions of the new hub.

2.2    The grant will fund the commissioning of the following from an external party/organisation;

Stage One - Communications Narrative (March 2018)

To facilitate work with GLV trustees and other key stakeholders to develop a communications strategy for the new organisation.

Stage Two - Branding (March 2018) 

•    To review the communications narrative and assess how this can be reflected in branding 
•    To work with GLV trustees and other key stakeholders to define the brand
•    To design the branding for the new organisation, including a logo and branding templates that can be used in all promotional materials. 
•    To liaise with web developers to embed these formats in the new website    

Stage Three - Communications Strategy (March – June 2018) 

To construct a detailed & timetabled communications plan with associated communications messages. This will cover the following: 

•    Audiences & Objectives
•    Competitor Analysis & Issues
•    PR & Media Management
•    Campaigns and Communications Mix
•    Social Media Management
•    Communications Plan 
•    The collation of all the above into a SMART plan with outcomes and timeframes 

Interface with other aspects of the work 

This work will be run in parallel and influence the following: 
•    Website design – supporting the initial design of the brief, creating content  
•    Communications training with all hub staff – one off workshops on social media etc 

Key challenges of the Way Ahead work and the need to set up the hub for London are; the need to bring together multiple stakeholders in a way that is clear, set out the functions of the new organisation in an effective way and allow the new organisation to begin operating with a clear remit and focus. This work will allow the development of all of this.

Equality comments

3.1        GLV and LVSC exist to promote positive practice in volunteering and social action across London. GLV has historically been the umbrella organisation for London’s volunteer centres which work with multiple stakeholders to support and engage those with protected characteristics. LVSC has previously supported grassroots and protected characteristics groups across the capital through facilitation of networks and hosting of policy and consultation responses from an equalities perspective. The work of the Way Ahead which recommended the creation of this hub is very aware of the need to ensure that Equalities an intrinsic part of the approach for the creation of the hub. An equalities sub-group operated as part of the Way Ahead work and now a specific equalities sub-group has been set up to support the hub development and ensure that equalities considerations are always discussed and acted on in terms of planning and development.  

3.2        The GLA needs to support the development of a new regional hub to serve infrastructure and grassroots organisations across London as this hub will help those with protected characteristics have access to the social action and volunteering activities they need, link groups serving deprived areas of London more effectively and amplify grassroots voice in policy making and creation of new policy.

3.3    Volunteer centres and Councils for Voluntary Service are key organisations within London. Each receive differing support from their local authority. As a regional body we need the role of the hub to draw together these opportunities across London and enable the challenges to be highlighted and the opportunities celebrated. This will allow Team London and the Communities and Social Policy team to support a healthy and vibrant infrastructure ecology within London.  These programmes eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and indeed by doing so support other Londoners equally throughout the city.

3.4    The GLA has also carried out consultation work as part of its development of a strategy for civil society and this has included hearing many views and much input into the role of the GLA, the role of the hub and the need to support civil society in London. This has included consideration of equalities and the need to ensure equal participation from all.

Other considerations




Risk Description

Mitigation/ risk response


The work carried out will be insufficient to achieve the end aims of creating a coherent narrative

The steering group for the Hub will ensure that the commissioned organisation is held to account and that the outputs and outcomes are shaped in the right way to be able to progress the hub


There is a lack of agreement over the key messaging and outcomes of the work leading to no clear narrative

The project manager from GLV has a clear mandate from the steering group to make final decisions over any final issues which cannot be resolved. The steering group are pragmatic enough to know that progress is essential and so a consensus must be reached


There is a further delay in the development of the hub

Funding is in place for the 2018/9 financial year in order to progress staff recruitment and organisational set-up. This work is a necessary next step in order to be able to go forward and the steering group are keen to progress to this next stage.



Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

4.1    Civil society in London is an asset, with thousands of groups from small unfunded activists to large organisations all helping London be vibrant and successful. The GLA as a regional body has a responsibility to ensure that civil society can be supported and can flourish. A key element of this is the fact of a pan-London body which work with us, with London Councils, with funders, with the multiple stakeholders across London, to support pan-London civil society. The Mayoral priorities of Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement are all supported by the development of this new body. We need to work with communities and civil society groups across London to encourage active participation in community and civic life from all Londoners. This is a way of supporting this.

Impact Assessments and consultations

4.2    The Way Ahead group carried out multiple consultations as part of all the stages of its work. These included open meetings, social media promotion and cross stakeholder work at all levels. This work also included cross sector task and finish groups on the themes mentioned earlier. The steering group for the hub development is also cross sector and involves a wide range of participants. This includes representatives from equality organisations. 

4.3    The GLA has also carried out consultation work as part of its development of a strategy for civil society and this has included hearing many views and much input into the role of the GLA, the role of the hub and the need to support civil society in London. 


Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought for expenditure up to £20,000 to commission support to develop the vision, communication strategy and action plan for cross sector working of the new recommended infrastructure organisation.  

5.2    This expenditure will be funded from the 2017-18 Microgrants & Support programme budget within the Team London and Sports unit.

Planned delivery approach and next steps




Enter into grant agreement

March 2018

Delivery Start Date

March 2018

Communications narrative complete

March 2018

Branding strategy and narrative complete

March 2018

Workshop development and delivery and finalisation of plans

March-June 2018

Delivery End Date

June 2018