ADD2209 World Cities Culture Forum

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
06 March 2018
Decision by: 
Shonagh Manson, Assistant Director of Culture and Creative Industries

Executive summary

London founded the World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF) in 2012 with Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons, acting as chair of the forum.

The World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF) brings city leaders together to share, collaborate and partner on cultural initiatives that drive sustainable urban development. Since it was established in London in 2012, it has grown from 9 to over 30 cities, which all recognise the importance of culture in a successful thriving city.


That the Assistant Director of Culture and Creative Industries approves:

•    Expenditure of up to £15,000 into the research and development of a bespoke database for the World Cities Cultural Forum programme.

•    A related exemption from the Contracts and Funding Code to appoint Burns Owens Partnership Consulting Ltd (BOP) to deliver the feasibility work into the development of the database via a single source justification.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The WCCF is the biggest global network of senior leaders from over 30 city governments who are all championing the pivotal role of culture in cities. They realise that culture needs to be the golden thread running across city policy from education to regeneration, from housing to health.

1.2    Each year an unprecedented gathering of cultural officials come together to share ideas and knowledge about culture’s role in public policy in a world city context. The Summit is a chance to share successes, learn from mistakes and together build the arguments and evidence we need to re-position culture in global cities. London has hosted the summit twice (in 2012 and 2015), Istanbul hosted in 2013, Amsterdam in 2014, Moscow in 2016, Seoul in 2017, and San Francisco will host in 2018.

1.3    The GLA currently has a concessionary agreement with BOP Consulting Ltd (BOP) until 31 March 2019, for BOP to manage and administer the WCCF. As the forum has developed since its inception, and the number of cities has grown, this has resulted in a substantial amount of data arising from the reports which have been published to accompany the annual summits.

1.4    Much of the knowledge and history relating to each city is held with individuals who have managed the relationships. This makes WCCF vulnerable to data and knowledge loss in instances of staff change over. 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    To create a centralised database which tracks the history of WCCF Member and target cities.

2.2    To reduce the risk of data loss through staff changes, by creating an accessible system which any authorised person working on WCCF can easily access, reference and understand.

2.3     To have a stand-alone record of information about WCCF, which would help future proof it, if there are changes to WCCF governance in future years.

Equality comments

3.1.1     Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have ‘due regard’ to 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.

3.2     The World Cities Culture Forum includes discussions on access to culture for all citizens and shares 
examples of good practice. The annual summits provide opportunities for sharing sessions and in the past Moscow, Madrid, Singapore and Amsterdam have presented on the challenges they have faced in ensuring all citizens have the opportunities to access culture for discussion with other cities.

As part of the World Cities Culture Forum research programme the Transformational Cultural Projects Report was produced, which focused on cultural projects that served to democratise culture, making it more inclusive and accessible, both geographically, and in terms of what is offered. The Report also recognised and validated informal cultures and marginalised groups, and their cultural expression. This report was shared with members of the Forum and is publicly available on the WCCF website.

Other considerations

4.1    As detailed in this decision, officers are requesting an exemption from the GLA Contracts and Funding Code to enable BOP to be appointed, without a competitive tender exercise, to carry out 
    The development work, design and delivery of a database system for WCCF.

4.2    Officers request that an exemption from the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code be approved and BOP appointed due to the following reasons:

•    BOP have managed WCCF since its inception and deal with ongoing management and administration. BOP are unique in their ability to understand the needs and requirements of any database which is to be developed to support the WCCF and member cities. Going out to tender for these services and potentially appointing another supplier to carry out these services would result in additional and unnecessary resource in arranging meetings between BOP and the supplier to ensure they understood the needs and requirements of any potential database. Therefore, appointing BOP will achieve greater value for money.

•    Once set up, the database would need to be managed on a day to day basis by BOP.

•    BOP’s technical knowledge of the WCCF programme, their close working relationships with member cities and their representatives, and their comprehensive understanding of the aims and objectives of the WCCF all make it extremely difficult to separate the services required from the existing work that BOP are already delivering

Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought for the expenditure of up to £15,000 for the World Cities Culture Forum in 2017/18.

5.2    The proposed expenditure will be funded from the 2017/18 Culture and Creative Industries Unit budget and subsequently managed within the same unit.


Planned delivery approach and next steps




Agreement with BOP

March 2018

Research and database Development

Spring 2018

Database testing

Summer 2018

Database delivery

Autumn 2018

Final evaluation start and finish (self)

Autumn 2018