MD2085 Updates to the GLA's corporate governance documents

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD2085
Date signed: 
24 April 2017
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

The GLA’s corporate governance policies and procedures are reviewed and updated periodically.  A review was recently undertaken of four of these documents sitting at the heart of our governance arrangements:
•    the Mayoral Scheme of Delegation (now ‘Mayoral Decision-Making in the GLA’)
•    the Contracts and Funding Code
•    the Financial Regulations
•    the Expenses and Benefits Framework

Further to this review, the documents have been updated and are being presented to the Mayor for approval.  The fundamental basis and provisions of the four documents have not been altered significantly.  Each does now, however, benefit from an improved and more consistent layout, streamlining, and updates to certain details.

The revised documents will come into effect at the point this Decision Form is approved.  They will replace all earlier versions.
 

Decision

The Mayor approves:
•    Mayoral Decision-Making in the GLA
•    the Expenses and Benefits Framework, noting the wider approval process set out at paragraph 1.4 
•    the Contracts and Funding Code
•    the Financial Regulations
as attached to this Decision Form.  In doing so, he authorises the referenced post holders to determine any matter involved in the discharge of their functions under the document in question.
 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1.    The GLA’s corporate governance arrangements are designed to ensure it:
•    conducts its business in line with the law and proper standards
•    safeguards and properly accounts for public money and spends it economically, efficiently and effectively
The four documents the Mayor is being asked to approve – at Appendices 1 to 4 – are at the centre of these governance arrangements and integral to meeting the GLA’s governance objectives.

1.2.    The documents are updated periodically to ensure they remain current and effective.  All four were recently reviewed and updated.

1.3.    The purpose of each document and the changes that have been made to it are summarised below.  Note that changes common across all four documents are:
•    a consistent front-end making the purpose and context of, and the key responsibilities for, each document clearer
•    updates to reflect minor changes in legislation and working practices

Document and purpose

Main changes

Mayoral Decision-Making in the GLA

Sets down the framework within which the Mayor’s powers are reserved and delegated – and decisions are taken

Appendix 1

  • A change in the document’s title.  Previously it was known as the ‘Mayoral Scheme of Delegation’.
  • The flow of the document and the mechanics of some of the delegations have been altered to make it simpler to follow.  The effect of the delegations and the thresholds dictating at what level decisions must be approved have not changed.
  • Making more explicit that in the normal order of things, delegations are not expected to be given outside the auspices of the document.
  • Posts and Deputy Mayor roles referred to variously within the document have been updated.
  • The section on permissions to staff has been clarified and reinforced as a ‘General Staff Authorisation’.
  • A new delegation has been added to ensure timely and efficient responses are issued to consultations with the Mayor on local development documents.
  • The pre-existing Affordable Homes Delegation has been caveated to ensure complex and/or bespoke proposals require a Decision Form.
  • The decision making rules pertaining to variations have been brought within the purview of this document.  Previously they were in the Financial Regulations.
  • A new section has been added on the Mayor’s role vis-à-vis the Functional Bodies.

Expenses and Benefits Framework

Sets down the limitations, rules and procedures for claiming expenses and receiving benefits at the GLA.

Appendix 2

  • The process by which elected Members claim an annual travelcard has been updated, further to changes agreed previously with Members.
  • Revised guidance to reflect changes in the options available to pay for public transport in London (ie. contactless).
  • Reflects also changes to the GLA’s mobile phone contract.
  • Incorporates provision for an interest free childcare loan for staff.
  • Increase the subsistence allowance available to those on unpaid work placements (from £5 to £7.50).
  • Removing the templates previously appended to the document, which are more sensibly made available via the intranet

Contracts and Funding Code

Rules and processes for procurement and entering into contracts and other formal arrangements including grant funding

Appendix 3

  • To reflect that GLA staff on fixed-term contracts of up to two-years can be approved through a short-term assignment form (STAF), signed by the Executive Director of Resources.
  • The section pertaining to engaging consultants and other non-GLA employee workers have been amended to reflect and provide assurance on the new IR35 regulations; that is, the rules affecting tax and National Insurance contributions for those contracted to work for the GLA through an intermediary (including a professional services company).
  •  
  • There is additional guidance and practical advice; for example on evaluating tenders.

Financial Regulations

Regulations guiding how the GLA manages its financial affairs; and more specifically sets and monitors budgets, exercises financial controls and for financial administration.

Appendix 4

  • Largely only minor updates and streamlining.
  • Removal of references to rules on decision-making as applicable to GLA projects subject to a variation (which are now including in Mayoral Decision-Making in the GLA).
  • The process for approving and reporting virements is now more integrated with the decision form and quarterly monitoring processes.

Approval and delegations

1.4.    The authority to approve and amend all of the documents rests with the Mayor, noting that the Expenses and Benefits Framework is approved jointly with the London Assembly  and also by the Head of Paid Service .  There are, however, delegations to specified senior staff, named in each document, to make certain and more minor amendments.

1.5.    The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) will be abolished and replaced by the office of the London Fire Commissioner on 1 October 2017.  Prior to that point, Mayoral Decision-Making in the GLA will be reviewed and updated to reflect these new arrangements as necessary. 
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1.    These core government documents are designing to create, communicate and reinforce robust GLA corporate governance arrangements.  Officers will reflect on their efficacy, including of the associated processes, to assist with the preparation of the Annual Governance Statement, which is approved by the Mayor.

Equality comments

3.1.    The documents are internally facing protocols that are applicable equally to all staff and, where relevant, elected Members.  There are no direct equality implications.

3.2.    Mayoral Decision-Making in the GLA sets down a formal decision making process that reinforces the need to consider equality implications
 

Other considerations

Risk
4.1.    The GLA’s corporate risk register includes the following governance risk:
•    processes and procedures are insufficiently developed to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, prevent fraudulent use of GLA resources and maximise effective use of funds
•    amendments to the GLA's governance framework are poorly implemented /communicated and prove ineffective 
The updates to and approval of the four appended documents will ensure the risk continues to be effectively mitigated.

4.2.    To support effective implementation, GLA staff will be made aware the documents have been updated and their importance will be stressed.  The governance e-learning module has recently been refreshed and will continue to be used to raise awareness of the GLA’s governance policies and imperatives.

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities
4.3.    Robust corporate governance arrangements support the full breadth of the Mayor’s priorities.

4.4.    The Mayor has pledged to be open and transparent.  These documents directly and indirectly support that pledge.
 

Financial comments

5.1.    The four appended documents bear on the way in which the GLA manages its financial affairs.  There are, however, no direct financial implications arising from this decision.

Investment and Performance Board

N/A

Housing Investment Group

N/A

Planned delivery approach and next steps
  • Activity
  • Timeline

Implementation

w/c 17 April

Staff communications

April-May

Report Mayoral Decision-Making in the GLA to the Assembly’s Annual Meeting (for information)

3 May

Ongoing monitoring

N/A

Formal review

As per each document’s cover

Appendices and supporting papers
  • Appendix 1: Mayoral Decision-Making in the GLA
  • Appendix 2: Expenses and Benefits Framework
  • Appendix 3: Contracts and Funding Code
  • Appendix 4: Financial Regulations