DD1459 City Skills Fund - final stage of procurement

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD1459
Date signed: 
17 February 2016
Decision by: 
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

The London Enterprise Panel’s Skills and Employment Working Group wishes to procure a software licence providing access to quarterly data feeds on job vacancies.  Procurement of the licence is recommended in research funded through the City Skills Fund (CSF).  The licence will be procured with Single Source Justification and will bring to a conclusion the activities delivered throughout the lifetime of the CSF programme. DD1327 approves funds to pay for the licence, stipulating that these should be net nil cost to the GLA.

Decision

That the Executive Director approves:

•    expenditure of up to a maximum of £75,000 (using £46,000 residue of the City Skills Fund, as approved by DD 1327) and an additional £29,000 from the 2015/16 DEE Minor Programme Budget for the procurement of a software licence for Labour Insights;

•    an exemption from the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code to seek competitive tenders for or call off for the procurement of the software licence from an accessible framework.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1.    The London Enterprise Panel’s Skills and Employment Working Group wishes to procure Labour Insights, which is a software licence providing access to quarterly data feeds on job vacancies.  The data produced through use of the software will assist skills stakeholders and providers across the region in identifying skills needs through published vacancy data.

1.2    Procurement of the licence is recommended in research funded through Phase 3 of the City Skills Fund (CSF) and will bring to a conclusion the activities delivered throughout the lifetime of the CSF programme.    

1.3    DD1327, which covers Phase 3 of the CSF programme, approves funds to pay for the licence, as part of the Skills Inquiry budget which is £100,000.   Funding for Phase 3 forms part of the £500,000 City Skills Fund, matched with up to £500,000 of ESF Technical Assistance.  DD1327 stipulated that these funds should be net nil cost to the GLA and that the project is expected to continue to 31st July 2015.   

1.4    Negotiations with potential suppliers of the software have resulted in delays to the procurement of the licence.   

1.5     An exemption from the GLA’s Contract and Funding Code is required and a Single Source Justification (see appendix A) has been completed for the procurement of the software licence - sold in the UK to the public sector via Burning Glass reseller Active Informatics - at a cost of £75,000 for twelve months’ usage on the basis that there is a complete absence of competition in the market and Burning Glass are the only suppliers who hold the necessary licences to provide the required information.  

1.6    Burning Glass technology has sourced London (and UK) job postings daily from thousands of sites using AI ‘robots’ or ‘spiders’ to crawl the web to look for jobs. Burning Glass are uniquely placed to provide timely data on job postings that includes information on: standardised industry (SIC) codes, standardised occupation (SOC) codes, location at Local Authority level, salary, qualification requirements, contract-type and job-type.  A rival company providing labour market information, EMSI, has since developed a job postings analytical tool for the US market and are in the early stages of seeking to develop a tool to rival Labour Insight. This will not however be ready for at least the next 12-24 months due to the complexity of not only accessing the data, but also in cleaning, de-duplicating and linking this to standard industry and occupational classifications. Conversations with EMSI confirmed that Burning Glass is currently the sole provider of technology to deliver detailed data based on online job postings in the UK.

1.7    In summer 2015 colleagues in the European Programme Management Unit advised that costs associated with the software would operate beyond the life of the ESF Technical Assistance - during which claims could be made - this has resulted in a shortfall of available CSF matched funds. 
 
1.8    Further delays were experienced as officers explored alternative sources of funding both externally and within the GLA.  

1.9     As this procurement supports LEP skills and employment priorities and remains a key recommendation of CSF funded research, programme funds within the Development, Environment and Enterprise (DEE) directorate of the GLA have been identified.

1.10    The cost to the DEE programme funds must not exceed £29,000.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The GLA wishes to purchase Labour Insights, which is software providing access to quarterly data feeds on job vacancies for London produced by Burning Glass Technologies. A Single Source Justification is being sought because no public or other commercial sources of data are available on the job postings in London that includes detailed information on occupations, sectors, skills. 

2.2    The technology in the UK is sold to the public sector via Burning Glass reseller Active Informatics. A rival company providing labour market information, EMSI, has since developed a job postings analytical tool for the US market and are in the early stages of seeking to develop a tool to rival Labour Insight. This will not however be ready for at least the next 12-24 months due to the complexity of not only accessing the data, but also in cleaning, de-duplicating and linking this to standard industry and occupational classifications. 

2.3    Conversations between GLA Economics officers and EMSI confirmed that Burning Glass is currently the sole provider of technology to deliver detailed data based on online job postings in the UK.

2.4    The data produced through use of the software will assist skills stakeholders and providers across the region in identifying skills needs through published vacancy data.

2.5     It will enable access to timely data on job postings for vacancies available in London, which can be broken down by a number of variables such as: qualifications/skills, occupation, sector, job-type, source of advert, pay and low-level geography.

Equality comments

3.1    Officers confirm that the procurement and commissioning of the activities described above will conform with requirements made under the public sector equality duty, and that any increased knowledge of skills and employability needs of particular learner groups will be used to inform future specifications for work. 

Other considerations

4.1    The procurement supports the LEP’s skills and employment priorities and remains a key recommendation of CSF funded research.

4.2    It also supports the Jobs and Growth Priorities set out in the LEP’s Jobs and Growth Plan, the Local Growth Deal for London and the FE Capital Investment Fund prospectus.

4.3    The data produced through use of the software will assist skills stakeholders and providers across the region in identifying skills needs through published vacancy data.

4.4    The data will be made available publically through the London Data Store¸ which is the Mayor’s free and open data-sharing portal where anyone can access data relating to the capital.

Financial comments

5.1    Approval is requested for the extension of the project end date and the expenditure for the purchase of Labour Insight software licence. The expenditure is to be funded through the balance of City Skills Funding of £46,000 (as approved by DD1327), and an additional £29,000 from the 2015/16 DEE Minor Programme Budget. The net cost to the GLA is £29,000. 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract [for externally delivered projects]

02/2016

Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]

02/2016

Final evaluation start and finish (self/external) [delete as applicable]:

12/2016–03/2017

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

12/2016

Project Closure: [for project proposals]

12/2016