ADD382 Facilitation of Wider South East Collaboration

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD382
Date signed: 
25 January 2016
Decision by: 
Stewart Murray, Assistant Director of Planning

Executive summary

Approval of expenditure of £15,000 for the facilitation of the process to identify collaboration arrangements with the planning authorities within the Wider South East

The first Wider South East Summit on 19 March 2015, for which a DAR for £3,000 plus VAT had been approved by the Assistant Director on 4th March 2015, has been chaired and facilitated by Phil Swann of ‘Shared Intelligence’.

Decision

The Assistant Director approves:

  • Expenditure of £15,000 plus VAT to cover the costs to chair and facilitate five wider South East Roundtable meetings during the summer of 2015 as well as the second Wider South East Summit on 11 December 2015. This cost will be covered by London Plan 2015-16 budget.
  • An exemption from 3.6 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code to allow the GLA to enter into a contract with Phil Swann without prior competition up to £15,000 expenditure.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1       South East and East of England Leaders have been meeting informally with Sir Edward Lister to discuss common strategic planning and economic growth issues over the last few years.

1.2       Following concerns raised by authorities within the Wider South East during the examination of the Further Alterations to the London Plan, the Mayor, the East of England Local Government Association (EELGA) and South East England Councils (SEEC) have been investigating options for more effective collaboration of strategic policy and infrastructure investment across their three areas. This led to a Wider South East Summit for all political leaders in March 2015. Expert facilitator Phil Swann of ‘Shared Intelligence’ was asked to chair and facilitate this Summit, for which attached DAR for £ 3,000 plus VAT was approved by the Assistant Director on 4th March 2015. Mr Swann has specific relevant expertise, also in local authority relationships.

1.3       Options for future collaboration arrangements to address common strategic issues were then discussed in more detail through a series of Wider South East Roundtables during summer 2015.

1.4       Based on the outcomes of the Roundtable discussions and related investigations by the Outer London Commission, a second Wider South East Summit was then scheduled for 11 December 2015 to agree the best way forward and shape priority areas of work. Again, the Leaders of all local authorities and the Local Enterprise Partnerships were invited.

1.5       It should be noted, that this ADD is being sought retrospectively, as it fell outside usual communication and approval processes and was therefore missed. The issue is being addressed within the Team to ensure that approvals are always sought in advance. 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    Approval is sought for

•    expenditure of £ 12,000 plus VAT to cover the costs to chair and facilitate five Wider South East Roundtable meetings during the summer of 2015 (two in July at City Hall, two in September at City Hall and one in September in Cambridge). This includes preparing for the events, chairing and facilitating them, contributing to their write up.
•    expenditure of £ 3,000 to cover cost to chair and facilitate the second Wider South East Summit on 11 December 2015. This includes preparing for the event, chairing and facilitating it and contributing to its write up.

Single Source Procurement

2.2    As the value of the proposed contract exceeds £10,000, officers acknowledge that section 3.6 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code (“Code”) requires that at least three quotations should be sought. However, section 5 of the Code provides that an exemption from that requirement may be approved upon certain specified grounds, including where ‘previous involvement in a specific current project or continuation of existing work’. 

2.3    Phil Swann had initially been identified and confirmed by the GLA, EELGA and SEEC officers as facilitator in the light of his experience in working with the GLA and local authorities within the Wider South East on sensitive strategic issues. He is held in high regard and was considered suitable across the political spectrum of the three areas of the Wider South East. He then gained further trust through his successful work related to the first Wider South East Summit. 

2.4    The consideration of other/new facilitation arrangements for the Roundtables and the second Summit would have not been in the interest of continuity and would have risked the destabilisation of a fragile collaboration process.

2.5    The commissioning of Phil Swann also represents good value for money, as additional resources would have been required to bring any new facilitator up to a sufficient level of understanding of the complex, strategic and political issues under consideration, and crucially the same political sensitivity and acceptance could not have been guaranteed.

2.6    On this basis, approval is sought for an exemption under 5.4 of the GLA’s Contract and Funding Code for the appointment of Phil Swann for the second Summit and further Roundtables meetings cannot be separated from his previous work on the first Summit.

2.7    Further details are provided in the attached Single Source Request form.

Equality comments

3.1    No adverse equalities impacts are identified. Facilitating the improvement of collaboration arrangements with the Wider South East supports the equalities objectives of the London Plan and the Greater London Authority. The new arrangements provide a sound basis for discussions on strategic issues with Wider South East stakeholders to inform the next full review of the London Plan. The strategic discussions will support a range of policies including those related to housing, employment and infrastructure (in particularly transport).  

Other considerations

a) key risks and issues 

4.1    The contract is managed in line with standard GLA risk management procedures, and regular meetings ensure expected progress.  

4.2    If the work was not carried out, it would undermine the Mayor’s preparation of the Full Review of the London Plan, as the establishment of better collaboration arrangements is important for discussions on sensitive strategic policy and infrastructure investment issues that inform the Plan. Without these new arrangements, the Mayor would be in a less favourable position in terms of addressing his Duties to Inform and Consult, which are set out in the Greater London Authority Act 1999. This says that the Mayor must:

•    ‘consult on any alteration to or replacement of the spatial development strategy (the London Plan) with counties and districts adjoining London’ (GLA Act section 335) 
•    ‘inform local planning authorities in the vicinity of London of his views concerning any matters of common interest relating to the planning or development of London or those areas’ (GLA Act sections 339 and 348) 

b) links to Mayoral strategies and priorities 

4.3    The strategic discussions, which the facilitation work is enabling, will be reflected in a range of London Plan policies, not least policy 2.2 about ‘London and the Wider Metropolitan Area’. The new collaboration arrangements will also support a range of other Mayoral strategies and policies including those related to housing, employment and infrastructure (in particularly transport and environmental infrastructure).

c) impact assessments and consultations

4.4    Impact assessments are carried out as part of the Plan preparation process. A separate impact assessment is not required for this facilitation work. 

4.5    The need for facilitation and shaping its scope has been considered jointly with colleagues internally as well as from the East of England Local Government Association (EELGA) and South East England Councils (SEEC) from the beginning of the process.

Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought to approve expenditure of £15,000 to chair and facilitate five Wider South East Roundtable meetings during summer 2015 and the second Wider South East Summit on 11 December 2015.  This will be funded from London Plan 2015-16 Programme Budget.

6.     Legal comments

6.1     Sections 1 to 4 of this report indicate that: 

6.1.1    the decisions requested of the Assistant Director (in accordance with the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code) fall within the GLA’s statutory powers to do such things considered to further or which are facilitative of, conducive or incidental to the discharge of its general duties; and

6.1.2    in formulating the proposals in respect of which a decision is sought officers have complied with the Authority’s related statutory duties to:

•    pay due regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people (further details on equalities are set out in section 3 above) and to the duty under section 149 of the 2010 Act to 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 share a protected characteristic and those who do not ;

•    consider how the proposals will promote the improvement of health of persons, health inequalities between persons and to contribute towards the achievement of sustainable development in the United Kingdom; and

•    consult with appropriate bodies.       
  
6.2    Section 4 of the Contracts and Funding Code (the ‘Code’) requires the GLA to seek three or more written quotations in respect of the services required or call off the services required from an accessible framework.. However, the assistant director may approve an exemption from this requirement under section 5 of the Code upon certain specified grounds. One of those grounds is that previous involvement in a specific current project or continuation of existing work which cannot be separated from the new project/work. Officers have indicated at section 2 of this report that this ground applies and that the proposed contracts affords value for money. On this basis the Assistant Director may approve the proposed exemption if satisfied with the content of this report.

6.3     This approval is sought retrospectively, the reasons for which are set out in paragraph 1.5 of this report. Accordingly the Assistant Director should take account of those reasons in considering whether to approve the recommendations of this report. Officers should be reminded of the importance of seeking approvals in advance. 

6.4    Officers should ensure that appropriate documentation is put in place and executed between the GLA and Phil Swann for the provision of the services. 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

7.1    The project has been delivered through the chairing and facilitation of 
•    Five Roundtable discussions including preparation and follow up
•    One Summit including preparation and follow up

Activity

Timeline

Delivery Start Date

July 2015

Delivery End Date

December 2015

Project Closure

January 2016