DD1512 Social media software

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
09 May 2016
Decision by: 
Martin Clarke, Executive Director, Resources

Executive summary

In March 2014, the GLA launched a new social media strategy. Since then, GLA Marketing and social media channel managers across the GLA have been using the GLA’s suite of official social media channels together with social media software Sprout Social and Radian6 to assist with collaborative working and reporting.  Sprout Social enables publishing of content, monitoring of interactions/posts and management of the GLA channels on a single user-interface. Radian6 is for social media listening, which enables effective reporting and subsequent learnings. This helps ensure the GLA delivers a good service to Londoners on social media.

Sprout Social is now fully embedded across the GLA. The GLA is happy with the performance of the software and would like to continue to use Sprout Social for a further year until 31 March 2017. A review of GLA social media software will be undertaken at the start of 2017.


The Executive Director approves:
•    expenditure of up to £12,000 from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 on social media software, Sprout Social, to assist in the effective management of the GLA’s suite of official social media channels;
•    expenditure of £10,080 from 11 May 2016 to 10 May 2017 on social media software, Radian6, to ensure effective reporting on the GLA’s social media activity so continuous improvements can be made;
•    a related exemption under the GLA’s Contracts & Funding Code from the requirement to seek three or more written quotes for services with a value between £10,000 and £125,000.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The GLA introduced a new social media strategy in March 2014. Since then, GLA Marketing and social media channel managers across the GLA have been using the GLA’s suite of official social media channels together with social media software Sprout Social to assist with collaborative working and reporting. The GLA has also been using Radian6, a comprehensive listening tool, for reporting on its social media activities, learning what type of content is useful for Londoners and therefore understanding what the GLA should do more of.    

1.2    GLA Marketing and social media channel managers across the organisation have embraced the software since March 2014 and both are successfully delivering on the GLA’s requirements. Using Sprout Social allows GLA staff to work collaboratively and responsively to provide Londoners with help and a good service. 

1.3    GLA Marketing has been using Sprout Social alongside Radian 6. ADD189 approves the use of Radian 6 until 30 June 2016. 

1.4    Across the GLA, positive feedback has been given as teams continue to use the tool in their day-to-day operations to support business-as-usual activity and deliver on GLA requirements. As such, and for business continuity, the GLA would like to extend usage of Sprout Social and Radian6 for continuous operation until the review of this service at the end of March 2017. The GLA will procure the services competitively for March 2017 and officers will ensure that this provides value for money and that it is done sufficiently in advance of March 2017 so that transition to the next provider is optimal regardless of the selected company. Cumulative amount spent on Sprout Social and Radian6 to date is £48,100.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1     The objective of using Sprout Social is to allow the GLA channel managers to publish content, monitor GLA interactions and posts and manage GLA channels on a single user-interface. Channel managers are organisation-wide and Sprout Social enables collaborative working when colleagues do not have face-to-face contact on a daily basis.

2.2    The objective of using Radian6 is to provide the GLA with a comprehensive social media listening and reporting tool. It allows the GLA to monitor the broader conversation on social media so we can engage as appropriate. It enables the GLA to continuously learn what Londoners want from the GLA’s official channels and therefore improve our social media presence on an ongoing basis.

Equality comments

3.1    The general duty to promote equality arising from the Equality Act 2010 which requires the Mayor to have due regard to the need to “encourage people who share  protected characteristics (which there are nine; age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation) to participate in public life or in other activity in which their participation is disproportionately low”. This sits alongside the Mayor’s duty, set out in the Greater London Authority Act 1999, to have regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity, eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote good relations between different minority groups.

3.2    The construction of all GLA marketing campaigns take into consideration the audience for which the campaign is aimed at.  In every case, materials are assessed to ensure they are fully accessible and in line with the public sector equality duty.


Other considerations

a)    Key risks and issues 

4.1    The success of the GLA’s social media strategy relies on collaborative working, prompt and helpful responses to Londoners and compelling and engaging content. The risk of not employing Sprout Social and Radian6 is that it would disrupt the operative processes embedded into the GLA for the last 24 months, the collaborative procedures followed by staff and the successes delivered to date.

b)     Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities 
4.2    External Affairs’ priorities in the GLA business plan 2015-17 include:
o    Deliver an effective and efficient public information service to support the Mayor’s and the GLA’s communication with Londoners (p71)
o    Deliver integrated marketing campaigns utilising both digital and traditional marketing assets, which allow the Authority to promote its work effectively and listen to Londoners’ opinions and concerns. (p72)

The use of Sprout Social and Radian6 ensures the efficient use of resources across the organisation and that social media content and messaging is relevant and impactful for Londoners. 

c)     Impact assessments and consultations
4.3    Feedback from the GLA social media channel managers is that Sprout Social is a useful tool and this is evidenced by the fact it has been embraced across the organisation. The GLA Marketing team and channel managers would like to continue to use Sprout Social following two years of successful use.

Radian6 is used predominantly by the Marketing team, who are all trained to use the tool. The tool is fully embedded in the team’s day-to-day work and we would like to continue to use the tool following two years of successful use.

Financial comments

5.1    The estimated cost of this proposal is £22,080 and will be funded from the existing Marketing Programmes budget held within the External Relations Unit (External Affairs Directorate). It should be noted that the proposed contract with Radian6 will span into the 2017-18 financial-year and subsequently any costs attributable to the 2017-18 financial-year will be contained within the 2017-18 budget (subject to the Authority’s budget process).

5.2    Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made.

Planned delivery approach and next steps




Procurement of contract        

March-April 2014


March-April 2014

Delivery Start Date     

April 2016

Final evaluation start and finish (self)

January 2017

Delivery End Date       

March 2017

Project Closure:

March 2017