ADD2246 Developing effective communications from City Hall

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2246
Date signed: 
19 July 2018
Decision by: 
Jeremy Skinner, Interim Assistant Director, City Intelligence Unit

Executive summary

We wish to commission research to identify citizen preferences for communications from City Hall in order to ensure that our communications with all Londoners are successfully delivered in the most resource-efficient way.

Decision

That the Assistant Director for Intelligence and Analysis approves expenditure of £25,000 for qualitative research services that identifies citizen preferences for communications from the Mayor and City Hall.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Mayor has a role as a spokesperson for London, both in communicating around issues under direct control of City Hall and those wider issues which affect Londoners. We are looking to conduct opinion research to understand how best to communicate with Londoners with message and tone that resonates and encourages engagement and awareness in the work of City Hall.

In the last few years a number of external events have required City Hall to communicate with all Londoners in a clear and effective way in order to promote a response to events. The response that City Hall communicates with Londoners can have a significant impact on the ongoing sequence of events. The last few years have also seen a number of different policy areas devolved to London. This new research will help us formulate a communications strategy around some of these key areas. This research will help determine the most effective and efficient communications City Hall can have with Londoners. It will also provide value for money for City Hall by allowing communications to be streamlined to only include the most effective messaging for a given situation.

In June 2016 the GLA Opinion Research and Statistics team commissioned 2CV Ltd to undertake qualitative research to help inform communications in relation to the consultation of the Mayor’s statutory strategies (Developing effective communications on the statutory strategies; ADD2003). This research provided vital insights into how best to talk about the consultation process for these strategies, and how to communicate the measures that lie within these strategies.

We will commission a supplier to undertake qualitative research that directly identifies citizen preferences for communications from the Mayor and City Hall in order to ensure that our communications with all Londoners is successfully delivered. We will request that the successful agency advise on methodology to achieve this objective.

We know from existing research that different groups of Londoners are less aware of the work of City Hall and are less engaged with communications from City Hall. This research will discuss key issues that City Hall is focusing on with Londoners through qualitative research to understand the best ways of communicating messages with the public in ways that will engage a broad cross section of Londoners.

Objectives and expected outcomes

Objectives:

Commission a research agency to deliver a short programme of qualitative research that provides insight as to citizen preferences for communications in relation to work of City Hall and issues that affect Londoners

Outcomes:

The insight will be used to develop and support our communication and outreach plans, and deliver recommendations for creating engaging content.

The insight will be used to streamline existing marketing and comms outputs, to ensure that the most efficient external communications is being delivered by City Hall.

Improved communications and engagement with Londoners in relation to the work of City Hall will ensure that Londoners are aware of the opportunity and benefits of engaging with our work. Clear examples are the importance of getting the tone and messaging correct around serious youth violence, or promoting opportunities for Londoners to access support from City Hall.

Equality comments

A sample of Londoners from a variety of backgrounds will be recruited for this research, with consideration of the Public Sector Equalities Duty (PSED).

The research will include participation from:

- A varied cross section of the London population, with reference to the characteristics under the PSED, as advised by the successful research agency; and
- Groups with whom the GLA presently has limited engagement with, including those who are considered ‘hard to reach’ or generally disengaged with activity from City Hall.

This will ensure that City Hall is able to produce communications that appeals to, and enables all Londoners to engage with the work of the Mayor.

There is not anticipated to be any specific impact on Londoners with protected characteristics.

Other considerations

The risks of opinion research are generally rooted in methodological decisions, in terms of ensuring that a breadth of Londoners’ views are taken into account. The method we will commission will look at a varied sample of Londoners ensuring that we get a range of opinions and discussion, whilst also including elements that focus on groups we know are not currently well engaged with the work of City Hall.

This research will engage a broad range of Londoners in determining how we can best communicate with them around City Hall’s priorities.

Financial comments

Approval is sought for expenditure of up to £25,000 for qualitative research services. The cost will be funded as follows:

- £12,500 from the 2018-19 Central Marketing Budget within the External Affairs Directorate
- £12,500 from the 2018-19 Cross-Cutting Research within Communities and Intelligence Directorate

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract

18th – 20th July

Announcement

N/A

Delivery Start Date

w/c 20th August

Main milestones

Recruitment: 23rd July – 17th Aug

Research: w/c 20th August

Report: w/c 27th August

Delivery End Date

End of August

Project Closure

End of August