MD2454 GLA Marketing Budget 2019 - 2020

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD2454
Date signed: 
25 March 2019
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

The GLA has a duty to keep Londoners informed and engaged in the work of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. The GLA’s centralised marketing, planning and budgeting process allows the GLA to effectively plan resource requirements and communicate the work and priorities of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly in an integrated, cost-effective and impactful way.

A centralised marketing budget was introduced in 2017. The centralised function supports the ambition to engage in a better dialogue with Londoners and ensure that the GLA is responsive to their needs. It helps the GLA to plan its marketing efforts strategically, with a long-term view. Centralised marketing budgets are normal practice throughout the public and private sector and have been in place in central government for the last 8+ years. The previous two years of a centralised budget has helped to achieve cost savings by driving greater integration, avoiding duplication as well as increasing transparency and visibility of all spend.

This MD seeks to approve expenditure of up to £1 million (as has been the budget since 2017) from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 to deliver integrated, cost effective marketing campaigns. This represents no increase in spend in marketing services.

Decision

That the Mayor of London:

• Approves expenditure of up to £1 million from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 on services and tools required to deliver effective marketing communications, digital communications and engagement campaigns for the GLA;
• Delegates the decision on the allocation of funding to campaigns to the Assistant Director, External Relations in consultation with the Mayoral Director for External and International Affairs; and
• Approves the GLA’s seeking of additional sponsorship from suitable corporate partners for the activities of the GLA Marketing, Creative and Digital teams, bringing both direct and indirect financial contributions and in-kind support to their activities.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The GLA has a duty to keep Londoners informed about and engaged in the work of the Mayor and the London Assembly. This includes making Londoners aware of the Mayor’s formal responsibilities so that they may respond to statutory consultations or attend statutory events, such as People’s Question Time with the Mayor and the London Assembly. This also includes making Londoners aware of wider opportunities that stem from the Mayor’s work, including cultural events, programmes and services across the capital.

The centralised marketing budget is used to promote the policies, programmes, events and statutory activities of the Mayor of London and London Assembly, enabling Londoners to better understand and engage with the work of City Hall. This covers a broad spectrum of marketing and communications related activity, including strategy, research, creative services, advertising, digital, print and production, content production and tools and services required to deliver the Marketing, Creative and Digital teams’ work. This includes but is not limited to the following:

• Media planning and buying, including print and digital advertising. This includes social media and paid search advertising;
• Printing, distribution and production costs associated with utilising TfL advertising space;
• Media agency strategy and auditing fees;
• User research and testing (qualitative and quantitative research);
• Content production including a range of creative and digital assets, such as social media content;
• Video, live video and photography, including production tools and filming and editing services;
• Email marketing, including strategy, tools, and assets;
• Creative agency and creative freelancer requirements; and
• Strategic work to improve the GLA’s marketing and digital communications function.

The GLA’s Marketing, Creative and Digital teams are collectively responsible for communicating and engaging with Londoners about the work and priorities of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. The teams work alongside all departments in the organisation that require marketing and public communication support. The teams provide an expert consultation service as well as campaign management as required. The teams also work closely with TfL and other functional bodies on significant campaigns to maximise impact and ensure value for money.

The decision as to whether to seek external sponsorship for a campaign or campaign activities will be made by the Assistant Director, External Relations in consultation with the Mayoral Director for External and International Affairs. This will be determined based on campaign or project objectives, audience, etc.

Since being introduced in 2017, the centralised marketing, planning, and budgeting process has enabled the Marketing, Creative and Digital teams to work more strategically, communicate with greater impact and deliver better integrated campaigns that promote and engage Londoners in the work of the Mayor of London and London Assembly.

Objectives and expected outcomes

A centralised marketing budget has proven successful and as such the GLA would like to continue this way of working. Objectives and benefits of the centralised marketing budget include:

• Strategic annual planning and a coordinated and holistic view of how the GLA communicates to Londoners;
• Full accountability and transparency over spend on marketing communications, digital communications and engagement campaigns;
• Better value for money for Londoners — visibility of annual budgets has helped to achieve cost savings;
• More efficient and effective use of the GLA’s gifted ‘on-system’ inventory from TfL — approx. value £2 million per annum;
• More concise budget control, enabling GLA Marketing and Digital Communications teams to work in an agile approach and respond quickly to external factors and changing priorities; and
• Greater efficiency within the finance and procurement processes.

External sponsorship for a campaign or campaign activities will be sought to complement GLA resources and complement the campaign activity. The GLA will follow the Contracts and Funding Code and Sponsorship Policy to ensure that it acts in a fair and open manner, giving a wide range of organisation access to sponsorship activities. This additional income will be sought, however cannot be guaranteed.

Equality comments

Under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority the Mayor must have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and any conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act, and to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The construction of all GLA marketing campaigns takes into consideration the audience 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. The GLA will ensure that marketing materials reflect the diversity of London’s population.

Other considerations

a) Key risks and issues

The GLA’s centralised marketing, planning and budgeting process, introduced in 2017/18, has led to significant improvements in the GLA’s marketing and digital communications function. This includes working more strategically, efficiently and with agility, enabling the Marketing, Creative and Digital teams to respond quickly to external events and changing priorities. Key benefits are:

• Streamlined messaging, ensuring we are not communicating to the same audience in an uncoordinated way. Rather than communicating with the same (highly engaged) audience, this approach enables us to reach a greater breadth of Londoners, ensuring different audiences can engage with messages most relevant to them;
• Improved digital communications to ensure we are reaching Londoners effectively online with appropriate content;
• Maximising the effectiveness of the marketing and digital resources to ensure we respond quickly to external factors and changing priorities; and
• Delivering better value for money for Londoners – for example annual licences to tools, such as Shorthand (brings visually striking and compelling stories to Londoners online) as well as paid search strategies for London.gov.uk.

The GLA’s marketing and digital communications function is able to plan and manage large-scale, long-term campaigns, such as the gender equality campaign, Behind Every Great City, and the knife crime prevention campaign, London Needs You Alive as well as working quickly and reactively via digital communications and social media for campaigns such as London Is Open, where the campaign is very reactive in line with the ever-changing external environment.

The proven success of this approach thus far will be at risk if the centralised marketing budget is not approved and seeking other alternatives would reduce efficiency. A smaller budget or budget devolved to other departments across the GLA would mean less impactful campaigns and would have a detrimental effect on the ways of working to deliver these campaigns and activities.

b) Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

This work is linked directly to the GLA’s core business objectives to:

• Increase awareness of the work the Mayor, the London Assembly and the GLA are doing on behalf of Londoners;
• Increase understanding, engagement and participation in key projects, events and campaigns;
• Increase Londoners’ opportunities to access and influence London government.

c) Impact assessments and consultations

The GLA Contracts and Funding Code will be adhered to, ensuring services are procured competitively, and sponsorship activities are managed in a fair and open manner. Officers consistently aim to secure value for money and make efficient use of funds.

The centralised marketing budget will be closely managed and monitored to ensure effective use of GLA resources.

Financial comments

An annual budget provision of £1 million has been allocated for the proposed centralised marketing budget to effectively deliver marketing and engagement campaigns for the GLA. The budget is held within the External Affairs Unit (Communities & Intelligence Directorate), who will be responsible for the delivery of the GLA marketing campaigns and the associated expenditure during the 2019-20 financial-year.

It should be noted, while it is intended that any sponsorship income secured for specific campaigns will be utilised in supplementing GLA resources, officers will look to make efficiencies to reduce the GLA contribution to campaign costs (wherever possible).

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Delivery Start Date

1 April 2019

Project Closure

31 March 2020


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