DD2159 The Mayor’s Citizen Led Engagement Programme for London

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
19 September 2017
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

The Mayor’s Citizen Led Engagement Programme will deliver four community-based engagement pilot projects that build relationships and develop civic leadership in communities that currently do not have a ‘voice’ in City Hall. The programme will be resourced with an £80,000 commissioning fund to train 50 community project coordinators and engage 400 participants through the four pilots. Community organisations will be invited to bid for the fund, and those awarded will co-produce an engagement programme with GLA officers focused on social integration. The programme will also offer training in community development through citizen inquiry for 15 community organisations to prepare them to bid for funding. It will culminate in a series of public events and social media outputs, raising awareness and sharing learning from the programme.


The Executive Director for Communities and Intelligence approves expenditure of £80,000 to deliver the Mayor’s Citizen Led Engagement Programme for London.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Mayor is committed to making the capital a City for All Londoners, where every community can thrive. He has appointed Deputy Mayor, Matthew Ryder to make London fairer and more inclusive, and to encourage active citizenship. This will only be possible in collaboration with London’s communities. However there are some communities in London that historically are not engaged with City Hall, and this has led to a gap in the GLA’s insight and relationships with these communities. The Mayor’s Community Engagement team will address this by piloting a Citizen-Led Engagement Programme. The programme will include a commissioning fund for four community-based projects, and a tailored learning programme.

The programme will:

• Improve the Mayor of London’s connections with communities that do not currently have a voice in City Hall;
• Demonstrate the effectiveness of Citizen-Led Engagement as a source of insight in developing the Mayor’s agenda for Social Integration;
• Generate insight to inform policy and practice in City Hall;
• Identify and develop civic leaders within specific target groups to better enable on going engagement with the GLA; and
• Pilot a new way of engaging communities that could be used as an example to share with other GLA teams.

1.1 Which communities?

The GLA wants to build strong engagement and relationships across all London communities. However, historically some communities have been less well represented, and consequently their voices less heard. This programme is an opportunity to begin to redress some of this balance and to form lasting relationships, which go beyond this programme. The community engagement team has identified the following gaps in City Hall’s community relationships:

• Young Black men*
• BAME Older People (65+)
• Homeless people and rough sleepers*
• Gypsy, Roma and Traveller groups*
• The Somali Community
• Eastern European communities (especially Romanian and Bulgarian)

*City Hall has offered a range of programmes for Young Black Men over the years including the Stepping Stones programme, which concluded in Summer 2017. This programme supported vulnerable young people to make the transition from primary to secondary school. The aim of focusing on Young Black Men through the Citizen-Led Engagement programme is to develop capacity of this group to lead on engagement with the GLA in the future. A similar approach is being taken with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller groups and Homeless people/ rough sleepers. GLA policy teams are developing several programmes relevant to these groups, which will be delivered over the Mayoral term. Their involvement in the Citizen-Led Engagement programme will focus on developing community leaders and strengthening their connection to City Hall.

Bids from the six communities listed above will be strongly encouraged and the community engagement team will run capacity-building workshops for community-based organisations. 

1.2 Social Integration: developing community-based solutions

Social Integration is a key area of development for the Mayor. The projects will focus on both informing and implementing this policy area by seeking solutions from within communities to challenging issues such as segregation between groups and social isolation.

1.3 Commissioning the inquiry projects

The GLA Community Engagement team will commission four citizen led engagement projects with the following features:

Scope: Each project will focus on one of the identified target groups and seek to improve social integration by addressing themes such as belonging, social inclusion and active citizenship. Successful bids will need to demonstrate their potential to influence policymaking for the Communities and Social Policy unit and the wider GLA.

Partnerships: A relevant local voluntary group or community centre will run projects. Projects will need to identify a project lead who will work closely with a GLA lead officer, and hold regular meetings to review and support the project delivery.

Timeframe: Projects will commence in September 2017 and be completed by March 2018.

Training and Support: Community coordinators taking part will be supported via a series of training sessions to prepare them to co design lines of inquiry, engage within ethical and legal guidelines (e.g. safeguarding), and document and present findings.

Recognition and reward: The GLA will expect bidding organisations to offer some form of recognition and reward for participation for those local people who give up their time to contribute to this programme. This recognises and rewards people’s contribution but does not affect people’s work or benefits status.

Analysis: The Community Engagement team will work closely with the GLA intelligence team to ensure effective qualitative analysis of the results of the inquiry projects.

Celebration: In April 2018 the GLA will host a celebratory event bringing together all the inquiry participants to acknowledge their achievements and build on the relationships that are established through the projects. The event will be an opportunity to share the findings and embed the learning in the GLA’s policies and programmes.

Types of organisations
Lead organisations must be registered charities that can demonstrate a track record of transparent financial accounting processes and strong connections with one of the six target communities. Each prospective delivery partner must demonstrate a clear plan for engaging and collaborating with communities.

How much funding?
Organisations will be able to apply for grants of £15k to lead a community engagement pilot. There will only be one round of grant applications with four grants available. Grants will be subject to standard GLA funding agreements and will be disbursed in tranches as follows:

50% upon satisfactory completion of due diligence and receipt of signed grant agreement
25% upon receipt of mid-project report
25% upon project completion and receipt of final report

The GLA will work with the lead organisations to deliver:

• Training sessions for community coordinators and to run co-design workshops at a cost of £1.5k per project.
• Learning platforms or events at a cost of £2k per project.
• Project evaluation and dissemination at a cost of £1.5k per project

Application Process
There will be an open call for applications in two stages – expressions of interest followed by interviews. The GLA will offer information, training and support sessions to support organisations to draft their expressions of interest. All organisations who make it through to the interview stage will receive feedback regardless of whether they are successful.

Objectives and expected outcomes


2.1 Deliver up to three capacity-building workshops reaching 15 community organisations from the six target groups and upskilling community leaders in preparation to bid for the Citizen-Led Engagement programme. The workshops will:

• Raise awareness of the Mayor’s vision for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement to community organisations and their networks.
• Offer practical skills training in bidding for public funds to 15 community organisations.

2.2 Commission delivery of four community-based engagement pilots reaching at least 400 community members, which are led by the groups identified above in order to give them a voice in City Hall. The pilot project will:

• Establish working relationships between City Hall and community groups.
• Identify and provide peer inquiry training for 40-50 community-based project coordinators (10-12 per project) who can act as ‘social integration ambassadors’ in their communities.
• Gather insight from 400 community members.

2.3 Develop four public-facing ‘learning platforms’ from the project in order to share the stories of London’s less visible groups with other communities in the capital. This may be in the form of community events, exhibitions, performances, conferences or written reports for dissemination. The nature and scale of the platforms will be determined in collaboration with the community groups and the GLA will offer advice and expertise to support development. These learning platforms will:

• Extend the reach of the engagement pilots with potential to influence other members of the local community and the wider voluntary sector (Target for extended reach is 2,000 people).
• Offer an accessible means of sharing the experiences and perspectives of members of London’s often hidden communities.

2.4 Disseminate learning from the pilot across GLA policy teams and to other relevant organisations in order to share examples of promising practice through:

• An evaluation report including rich media content, which will be available in infographic format and for download from the Mayor of London website.
• Celebration event hosted at City Hall or in the community to share the results of the four pilot projects. Invitees will include representatives from the community and voluntary sector, local authorities, potential future commercial funding partners, and the GLA group.
• A communications plan, coordinated with support from the GLA marketing team including press and media (mainstream and community-based) as well as social media activity.
• Supplementary activity such as webinars, blogs and editorial content in relevant sector press.
• Embedding key learning into the GLA’s strategic plans for Community Engagement.

Equality comments

3.1 Equality and inclusion are the drivers behind this programme. The GLA Community Engagement team
has identified that homeless people and rough sleepers; young Black men; BAME older people (65+); Gypsy, Roma and Traveller groups; the Somali community; and Eastern European communities (especially Romanian and Bulgarian) face significant disadvantages which result in poor standards of living and social exclusion. The programme therefore takes positive action to give these groups a voice in City Hall, which will offer them an equal opportunity to improve the lives of the members of their communities; and take advantage of all London has to offer.

3.2 The commissioning process will ask potential partners to demonstrate how their projects are inclusive of a diverse group and actively work to eliminate discrimination on the basis of the nine characteristics protected in the Equality Act 2010. Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have ‘due Regard’ of 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.

3.3 In order to ensure the highest standards of equality, diversity and inclusion are upheld, the GLA Community Engagement team will:

• Promote the commissioning opportunity to a diverse range of potential applicants through the GLA’s communication channels and through community-based organisations/networks.
• Adhere to best practice for accessible communications.
• Co-design the programme to ensure the views and need of those involved are fully included in decisions that will affect them.
• Monitor and report on the diversity of leadership and participation in the commissions.

Other considerations

4.1 Key Risks and Issues


Mitigation measures

GLA Lead

Small community organisations unable to deliver the projects due to lack of capacity.


Capacity building workshops; monitoring meetings and one to one support will be provided for community-based coordinators.

Community Engagement Team

Pilot project achieves limited reach due to poor promotion.

The commissioning opportunity will be promoted through the GLA’s existing civil society and community networks as well as through a targeted campaign focussed on the six identified groups.

Community Engagement Team

Poor management of financial resources.

Due diligence will be carried out to ensure sound financial management policies are in place.


Transparent financial monitoring procedures will be written into funding agreements.

Community Engagement and Finance and Governance teams.


4.2 Links to Mayoral Strategies

As part of Deputy Mayor, Matthew Ryder’s policy portfolio, Community Engagement is a key area of work for the GLA. This funding stream will be used to contribute to an overall strategy of extending the breadth and reach of community engagement for the GLA.

The chosen approach builds the capacity of key communities to engage with the Mayor and the GLA, as well as the organisational skills and experience to establish sustainable relationships within these communities which can be further developed beyond this programme. Allocating the funding in this way will build the capacity of these communities to engage in the future, and bring valuable insights into the GLA’s policy making.

Additionally, this is an opportunity to demonstrate a key methodology in action so that the community engagement team can lead by example as part of our strategy to embed practice across the organisation.

4.3 Consultation and Impact

The Community Engagement team has consulted with a range of policy and delivery departments within the GLA in developing this proposal including the Equality and Fairness team; Team London; Talk London; Regeneration; and Housing and Land.

The primary equality impact of the Citizen-Led Engagement Programme will be to give a voice in City Hall to communities that are currently under-represented in efforts to shape social policy for London. The programme will establish more accurate baseline data on these groups, and feed into future equality, fairness and social integration initiatives.



Financial comments

5.1 The estimated cost of £80,000 will be funded from the Communities and Social Policy Unit’s budget for 2017-18.

Activity table



Call for submissions opens

15 Sept 2017

Capacity-building Workshops for applicants

Mid-Late Sept 2017

Call for submissions closes

15 Oct 2017

Delivery Start Date

November 2017

Inquiry phase begins

January 2018

Inquiry phase complete

28 February 2018

Analysis and report complete

31 March 2018

Celebration event

April 2018

Project Closure

30 April 2018

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