MD1576 Events for London Programme 2016-17

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
22 December 2015
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

The Mayor has a statutory duty to hold public consultation events; develop and promote London as a destination and gateway for the UK; and promote social development in London. Events have a profound potential to bring economic and social benefits to London, and major events in particular can raise the city’s profile and present a positive image to the world’s media.  This Mayoral Decision approves the 2016-17 Events for London programme with an estimated net cost of £1,095,000 and the intention to seek sponsorship to enhance the events.



That the Mayor:
1.    Approves the 2016-17 Events Programme with an estimated net cost to the GLA of up to £1,095,000;
2.    Approves the seeking of sponsorship from suitable partners in order to raise additional revenue for the Events Programme (target £355,000) which will be used to enhance events within the Programme if forthcoming;
3.    Delegates authority to the Director of Communications and External Affairs to approve all further arrangements for the delivery of the events programme including grant awards, procurement of services and the movement of budgets between events within the programme. 


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The Mayor is statutorily required under the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (GLA Act) to carry out a minimum of two public consultation events (People’s Question Time) and a State of London Debate.
1.2    Under the same Act, the Mayor has a statutory duty to develop and promote London as a destination and gateway for the UK, as well as to promote social development in London.  Events have a profound potential to bring economic and social benefits to London, and major events in particular can raise the city’s profile and present a positive image to the world’s media.  
1.3    Events bring Londoners together from across the city, from different communities, creating a sense of shared interests and culture.  Most importantly, major events stimulate London’s economy, by being a catalyst for economic regeneration and creating publicity to increase the attractiveness of London to new visitors and investors – as well as to Londoners.  

Events Programme

1.4    The London Events programme has been delivered successfully since 2003, enhancing and enriching London with events to meet the needs of and engage with all Londoners.
1.5    The proposed events programme supports the promotion of London’s diverse cultures contributing both to the international profile of London, and promoting the city as a destination in specific markets.  It also encourages the fuller participation of all its communities, contributing to all sectors of the London economy.  Events bring Londoners together from across the city, from different communities, creating a sense of shared interest and culture, thus helping to encourage social development and cohesion.
1.6    On a more subjective level, events help to improve Londoners’ quality of life and support their general well-being.  Particularly at a time where Londoners’ disposable income may be limited, free events provide Londoners access to entertainment, providing enjoyment and a ‘feel good’ factor.  Events also enable people to interact and engage on a social level, as well as feel part of a community.  
1.7    The development and planning of the events often involves support and engagement from the community through volunteering, providing added benefits to volunteers of education or increased skills by working on different parts of the event.  This also contributes to peoples’ sense of positive well-being.  We will be working with the Team London Ambassadors programme as part of the Games legacy, having these volunteers at the major events. 
1.8    The proposed 2016/17 events programme in outlined in table 1.  

Table 1


Project Deliverables

Planned Date

Grant funded or GLA delivered


Feast of St George (Q1)


GLA delivered


Vaisakhi (Q1)


GLA delivered


QEII 90th birthday (Q1)


GLA delivered/grant funded


State of London Debate (Q1)


GLA delivered


Pride (Q2)


Grant funded


7/7 Commemoration Event (Q2)


GLA delivered


Eid (Q2)


GLA delivered


London Mela (Q2)


Grant funded


Notting Hill Carnival (Q2)

28 & 29/08/2016

Grant funded


Liberty (Q2)


GLA delivered


Rio Olympics and Paralympics

5/08 & 7/09/2016

GLA delivered/grant funded


Totally Thames (Q2)


Grant funded


Diwali (Q3)


GLA delivered


Africa in the Square (Q3)


GLA delivered


Remembrance Day Reception (Q3)


GLA delivered


Menorah - Jewish Events (Q3)


Grant funded


Holocaust Memorial Day (Q4)


GLA delivered


Chinese New Year (Q4)


Grant funded


St Patricks Day (Q4)


GLA delivered


People’s Question Time – twice a year

11/2016 & 03/2017

GLA delivered


Cultural Campaigns

On going

GLA delivered and grant funded


Small Events

On going

GLA delivered and grant funded


Research and Evaluation

On going

GLA delivered


Access Improvement

On going

GLA delivered

GLA Delivered Events

1.9    The GLA Events for London team produces and delivers a number of cultural events that celebrate national celebrations such as New Year’s Eve and St George’s Day, as well as religious festivals such as Diwali and Vaisakhi. In addition to the annual programme we will also be supporting a number of one off special events including the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s life and events to celebrate the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

Statutory Events 

1.10        The Greater London Authority is statutorily required under the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (GLA Act) to carry out public consultation meetings. These are in the form of People’s Question Time events and the annual State of London Debate (SOLD).
People’s Question Time 

1.11    These events take place in a variety of locations across London providing the opportunity for the public to meet and ask questions to the Mayor and the London Assembly.  It offers the Mayor and London Assembly the opportunity to deliver and discuss with the London Community their plans, priorities and policies for London. 
State of London Debate

1.12    SOLD links to the publication of the Mayor’s annual report. It is a flagship Mayoral engagement and consultation event for all Londoners and provides an opportunity for direct engagement with members of the community to debate and provide feedback on the Mayor’s strategies and priorities for London.  The event allows facilitation of a Q&A session allowing members of the audience to question the Mayor directly on issues of concern. Issues raised at the event can then be fed back directly into policy development. 

1.13    Particular efforts are made to ensure the audience reflects London’s diversity as well as the key equalities target groups and wider audiences are accessed through radio debate and online debate. 

GLA Grant Funded Events

1.14    As can be seen from Table 1 above certain events are events of third parties for which the GLA provide grant funding. Recipients are required to go through stringent checks both financial and legally – complete grant funding forms, being clear on the events aims and objectives, how this fits in with the Mayor’s objectives and culturally enhances the capital.
1.15    The GLA event officers work closely with the recipients of GLA funding to ensure successful delivery of funded events.  Clear milestones are set within the funding agreements and it is only at the time the milestones are met that funding is released.  These milestones ensure the safety of GLA funding and cover any risk involved in supporting these events.
1.16    The GLA’s financial support for the grant funded events indicated within the table 1 above is only a small element of the cost of these events.  Supporting these events enables Mayoral profile and highlights the Mayor’s support to the communities involved in the delivery.  As such a return should be considered excellent value for money. 

Non-Event Activity

Access Development

1.17    Following the level of accessibility achieved during 2012 and Games-time, the GLA are committed to continuing and enhancing best practise at GLA Delivered Events, as well as working towards the attainment of ISO20121. 

 Evaluation and reporting

1.18    Market research is to be conducted at each event, with input into the questions from GLA Marketing, Intelligence and Economics teams to ensure they are relevant to provide appropriate analysis.  The results from each individual event can be used to benchmark against other events, as well as determine where refinement on questions or analysis is made.  Additionally, feedback and results from a particular event can help shape the delivery or make improvements to subsequent events.
Sponsorship and other income

1.19    For the events delivered by the GLA, sponsorship, other income and concessions (if relevant and appropriate e.g. food and drink stalls/ tents on Trafalgar square) will be sought as in previous years, the target being £355,000.  Income received is usually specific to the individual event and provided on the basis that the additional money funds additional activity above the core event activity. Should income not meet budgeted targets the events will be delivered within the budgeted GLA funding available and income secured. If sponsorship over the target is secured, the event would be enhanced in line with this increased budget, or in the event of a significant increase from sponsorship and the event not needing to be enhanced further, the GLA contribution to the event would be reduced. 

1.20    In addition to cash income, the GLA Commercial Partnerships Team will also seek benefit in kind to assist in the enhancement and publicity of events.


Objectives and expected outcomes

Commissioned outcomes

2.1    There is a target of generating additional spend in the local economy of up to £37.5m.  Whilst it is clear that events stimulate additional spending, and this research has been taken at events within the GLA event programme, it should be noted that the true level of additionality of extra spending is difficult to determine precisely as the sample size of attendees at each event is relatively small.

2.2    Events can deliver positive externalities through visitor satisfaction and if delivered successfully can promote London as a leading global city encouraging investment and tourism.

2.3    Active promotion of wider mayoral priorities directly to key community groups or audiences, and to captive audiences.  Evaluated through the attendance at events and market research at the event on recall, and through digital traffic and click through rates on the GLA website.    

Non-quantifiable benefits

2.4    The non-quantifiable benefits of the programme are;

•    Increased positive global reputation of London.
•    Positive profile for London, encouraging economic investment.
•    Education and increased awareness of other communities in London encouraging social cohesion.
•    Increased skills through volunteering opportunities 
•    There are a number of subjective benefits to staging the events programme, including;
o    Encouraging a sense of pride in Londoners for the city they live
o    Enjoyment and satisfaction to support the well-being of Londoners and improving their quality of life (particularly where Londoners disposable income is limited and free events offer access to entertainment providing a ‘feel-good’ factor).
o    Increased sense of community through volunteering opportunities and social interaction at events.


Equality comments

3.1    The events programme is planned to be inclusive and aimed at all Londoners, culturally and socially.  Within the programme different events engage with, and promote the contribution of, specific communities e.g. Pride - LGBT community; Eid - Muslim community; Liberty – Deaf and disabled community; Africa in the Square – African community.  Community stakeholder groups are engaged in the planning and promotion of the community events to ensure that they are appropriate and representative of the groups for which the event promotes. 


Other considerations


4.1    Events delivered by the GLA will be procured under the Events Framework, for event production services. Events receiving funding will be on the basis of funding agreements, with pre-determined milestones to receive the funding. All events will be managed by an events officer from within the Events for London team.

Links to strategies and Corporate Plan

4.2    In approving the Events Programme, this directly links to:

•    Developing world-class events in line with the Mayor’s Cultural Strategy – to assist in the development of a ‘stimulating, creative and cultural London’, and the pledge to ‘commission a series of events in Trafalgar Square, as well as cultural campaigns and festivals’. 
•    Developing ‘a programme of activities/events to engage with London’s diverse communities to help deliver the Mayor’s priorities, strategies and policies, as well as celebrate London’s rich diversity’.
•    Promoting sustained economic growth and competitiveness of London as a World City through tourism, economic development and positive media coverage.

Impact assessments and Consultation    

4.3    The impact assessment of the events will be on an event by event basis through the multi-agency planning process (Licensing Operational Safety Planning Groups), including Westminster City Council (or other local authority impacted), MPS, TfL, LAS, LFB and other key stakeholders to the specific event.  This is an essential part of the Premise Licence process. Key agencies will be consulted as part of this multi-agency process.  

4.4    Neighbours on Trafalgar Square are consulted regularly and through established quarterly planning meetings.

4.5    Where events involve specific communities, these communities are engaged though a stakeholder group who advise on the event. Public correspondence, via the GLA Public Liaison Unit (PLU), and market research at events is also considered for future planning of events where negative comments and improvement suggestions are made and may be reasonably implemented.

4.6    Risk 

Table 2


Risk description

Mitigation / Risk response


Event may be cancelled due to force majeure (e.g. extreme weather, riots, industrial action, death of a major Royal etc)

External issues monitored via project planning and risk assessment


Additional sponsorship cannot be guaranteed, as income may not be achieved, which could impact some of the planned events.

The Events team meets regularly with the commercial team to help with the sponsorship plan and ambition for a specific event. The events have a core budget, which leverages other income and enables a basic event delivery


Late amendments to the event due to external factors could have an impact on budget and cause overspend  (e.g increased stewards in reaction to protestors/higher than expected crowds etc) could have an impact on budget and cause overspend

Tight project management and budgetary control, with readjustment to budget lines to manage increases in particular areas (with other cuts/reductions made in other budget lines where possible)


Reputational risk to the Mayor of an event failing.

There is a robust multi-agency planning process for the events programme, so early indications of potential event failure can be identified.


Communities not supporting the event (particularly where the event is aimed at that community), and the reputational risk to the GLA associated with this.


Engagement is made with the specific communities for whom the event is aimed, often in the form of advisory groups, who can feed into the appropriateness and creative content of the event.  Work with other GLA teams incl Communities Team, PLU, and Diversity & Social Policy teams as appropriate.


An externally delivered event, but funded by the GLA, requires additional funds to ensure successful delivery and make further demands on the GLA

Regular project planning meetings, where plans and latest budgets are reviewed, are held with the event organisers enabling early indications of budget issues.  


That an event outgrows either the space/venue it is staged in terms of audience capacity; or to such an extent that it requires additional financial resources to deliver it successfully.

Marketing plans for an event can be reviewed to help reduce the impact of increased audience attendance, however, audience numbers can be difficult to predict as they can depend on many external factors including the weather.  Alternative venues can be reviewed, and additional approaches to sponsors made – particularly if the scale of the event has increased which may be of interest to potential sponsors.


Financial comments

5.1     The net cost to the GLA of the proposed 2016-17 Events for London Programme (excluding New Year’s Eve, which was approved as part of a three year plan in MD1127) is £1,095,000 (gross £1,450,000 with income of £355,000).

5.2    Expenditure will be met from the indicative Events for London 2016-17 programme budget, which is subject to approval as part of the 2016/17 budget approval process.

5.3    MD1124 approved grant funding totalling £500,000 to London LGBT and Community Pride for the Pride 2013 to 2017 events. To date £350,000 has been allocated across Pride 2013 to 2015. This leaves £150,000 funding available for the Pride 2016 and Pride 2017 Events, the profiles of which have yet to be agreed.
5.4    The net cost to the GLA has not reduced in line with the funding profile of the Pride event as this funding is being redirected to fund ad-hoc commemorations taking place in 2016/17. 
5.5    In addition to seeking out cash contributions from third parties, the Commercial Partnerships Team will look to obtain benefit in kind to assist in publicity and the enhancement of events, the value of which is not included in the cost estimations. 

Investment and Performance Board

7.1    The Events programme was reviewed and approved by the Investment and Performance Board (IPB) on 10 December 2015.


Planned delivery approach and next steps

Table 3



Procurement of contract [for externally delivered projects]

December 2015

Announcement – to funded groups

March 2016

Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]

January 2016

Final evaluation start and finish (self/external) – at each event and year end

March 2017

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

March 2017

Project Closure: [for project proposals]

April 2017