ADD307 GLA Principal Sponsorship of New London Architecture 2015-16

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD307
Date signed: 
22 June 2015
Decision by: 
Stewart Murray, Assistant Director of Planning

Executive summary

The New London Architecture (NLA) is recognised as a unique forum which brings together professionals in the fields of architecture, planning and development in London, together with communities, to explore and promote ways of making London a better place. Through an annual programme of events, conferences & workshops, think tanks, site visits, exhibitions, awards and publications, the NLA showcases, celebrates and promotes London as a hub of creative talent and a leading international centre of learning, creativity, development and growth.

Approval is sought from the Assistant Director to enable the GLA to be a Principal Sponsor of the NLA for the 2015-16 year, thereby taking an active and prominent role in the NLA and opening up access to the full range of benefits associated with high-level sponsorship to all interested teams within the GLA.

Decision

That the Assistant Director approves: 

•    Expenditure of £20,000 for the GLA’s sponsorship of New London Architecture for one year at a level of Principal Sponsor.  This will be comprised of £10,000 each from the Planning and Housing & Land budgets.  

•    A related exemption from the requirements of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code (which normally requires the GLA to seek three or more quotations for goods or services between £10,000 and £150,000).

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The GLA has been sponsoring the New London Architecture (NLA) for a number of years at a lower level of sponsorship funded from the Planning unit only, as well as ad-hoc support from the Regeneration unit for the London Festival of Architecture and NLA Awards.  General benefits of the standard sponsorship have included a number of free places for attending NLA half-day conferences and involvement in a range of networking events.  Within the last couple of years, a number of different teams across the GLA, as well as the Mayor’s office, have become increasingly involved in participating and speaking at NLA events, using the NLA facilities to host events relating to key GLA projects including launching OAPFs and attending think tank sessions.  

In late-2014, it was proposed by the NLA that the GLA raise its level of annual sponsorship to reflect the increasing involvement across the wider GLA and to enable GLA teams to access the expanded range of benefits from this.  This arrangement was started for an initial six-month period between October 2014 to March 2015 at a cost of £10,000 which was divided equally between Planning and Housing & Land.  During this period, members of the Regeneration, Environment, Culture, Planning and Housing & Land teams have participated in NLA programme events and activities.

Approval is now sought to continue to sponsor the NLA at the higher Principal Sponsor level, at a total cost to the GLA of £20,000 for a year.

Single Source procurement

Given the value of the proposed contract, GLA officers acknowledge that section 3.6 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code (“Code”) requires that at least three quotations be sought for all contracts with a value above £10,000.  However, section 5 of the Code provides that an exemption from that requirement may be approved upon certain specified grounds, including where there is a complete absence of competition.  For the reasons set out below, GLA officers are of the view that this ground is applicable in this case.

The New London Architecture provides a unique forum and platform for the GLA to engage with other professionals in the planning, housing, architecture and regeneration fields.  The value of this engagement is supported by the fact that the Deputy Mayors and Assistant Directors for Planning, Housing Land & Property, Education & Culture and others frequently agree to speak at prestigious NLA events.  Furthermore, several key GLA projects have been officially publicised at NLA-hosted events, including the recent launch of the London Riverside OAPF.  The promotion and showcasing of GLA work and projects via the NLA channels including its programme of activities and on its website is seen as having a uniquely valuable and strategic impact which cannot be provided by another similar supplier.  Additionally, the range of benefits supplied through principal sponsorship of the NLA cannot be obtained from another single organisation.

Continuing to sponsor the NLA at a lower level (at a lower cost) would limit the extent of this engagement and provide fewer benefits to various teams across the GLA.  The higher Principal Sponsorship level is deemed to be good value for money, as it will enable the range of benefits to be more widely disbursed across the GLA than had been the case in previous years under a standard sponsorship arrangement.

Objectives and expected outcomes

Principal sponsorship of the NLA provides an opportunity for the GLA to make a significant contribution to the following objectives of the NLA annual programme:

•    Contribute to London’s profile as an international centre for excellence in the fields of architecture, planning and development by promoting the talent, output and success of these sectors, and help to create opportunities for these sectors to win business from domestic and overseas clients;
•    Facilitate innovation, cross-fertilisation and testing of ideas, best practice and professional services through networking and learning opportunities;
•    Spotlight, celebrate and communicate the talents and achievements of London professionals, thereby enhancing London’s global reputation as a leader in these fields;
•    Provide a platform for the architecture and planning sector to showcase the best of their work to a targeted local and international audience;
•    Bring together architects and built environment professionals to engage with setting the future agenda for London through debate and engagement in the issues currently affecting London, including housing, public realm, tall buildings and the densification needed to accommodate growth.
•    Work with the principal sponsors including the GLA to facilitate high quality events across the capital and give high prominence to the sponsors on the NLA website and all relevant publicity materials.

In line with these objectives, teams across the GLA may avail of the unique range of benefits associated with Principal Sponsorship of the NLA, which include:

o    GLA Principal Sponsor branding on NLA website, all NLA email communications, supporters board displayed in NLA galleries and all NLA printed material including delegate packs & evaluation forms for each of our conferences
o    25 delegate tickets at NLA half-day conferences
o    50% discount for on location events and any additional delegate tickets booked
o    30 nominated members to receive invitations to NLA networking events and annual subscriptions to NLQ
o    Opportunity to contribute to the NLA programme – topic ideas, speakers, think tank invitees, NLQ editorial suggestions
o    Opportunity to submit projects for inclusion in NLA exhibitions
o    Evening use of NLA gallery for your own event
o    15% discount on Building Centre meeting and seminar rooms
o    Preferential booking for free events
o    25% discount on gallery hire for exhibitions, New London Quarterly advertising and any additional sponsorship options
o    25% discount on New London Awards entry and places at awards lunch
o    Up to three partnered events in NLA programme over the next 12 months (topics to be agreed in consultation with NLA programming team):
-    Full branding at the event and in all marketing in the run up to the event
-    Input into programme and speaking opportunity/sponsors welcome
-    Opportunity to place a full-page advert in the delegate pack
-    10 free guest places
-    Opportunity to distribute literature at the event and/or a pop-up stand
-    Editorial coverage in New London Quarterly
-    NLA to provide:  Full programme management of the event; Speaker acquisition and briefing; Full event facilities – 200 seat seminar room, galleries for breakfast and full AV and technical services; Event management including catering and staffing on the day.

Equality comments

An enhanced level of sponsorship of the NLA will allow wider access from across the GLA to the range of benefits available.  There will be opportunities to promote and showcase some of the GLA’s key projects, all of which are subject to adherance to the GLA’s duties under the Equalities Act 2010.  It is unlikely that sponsorship of the NLA would result in any negative equalities impacts.

 

Other considerations

A key risk associated with enhanced sponsorship of the NLA may be that the GLA does not fully engage with the NLA during the year and that we may not obtain the full range of benefits that comes with this package.  However, as the main co-ordination point is with Planning, we are aware of more requests being channelled from different GLA teams to the NLA with a view to accessing the benefits, and there are indications that the number of requests is continuing to increase.

Principal Sponsorship of the NLA will facilitate the promotion and showcasing of a range of key priority projects which are supported by the Mayor.

Financial comments

5.    Financial comments

5.1    Assistant Directors approval is being sought for expenditure of £20,000 for GLA Principal Sponsorship of the New London Architecture for one year (2015-16). Approval is also required for an exemption from the requirements of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code

5.2    The cost of £20,000 will be funded by £10,000 from pre-application reserves (2015-16) and £10,000 from the 2015-16 Housing & Land Management and Support Consultancy budget. The sponsorship payment will be made in this financial year 2015-16.

5.3    As this is a sponsorship payment to NLA it is anticipated that NLA will add VAT to the principal payment of £20,000. The GLA would be able reclaim the VAT in full.

5.4    All appropriate budget adjustments will be made.

5.5    Any changes to the proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision making process.

5.6    The Planning Unit within the Development, Enterprise & Environment Directorate and the Strategic Projects and Property Unit within the Housing & Land Directorate will be responsible for managing this sponsorship, ensuring compliance with the Authority’s Financial Regulations and Contracts and Funding Code

6.    Legal comments

6.1    Sections 1 to 4 of this report indicate that:

6.1.1    the decision requested of the Assistant Director, in accordance with the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code (the “Code”), falls within the GLA’s statutory powers to do such things considered to further or which are facilitative of, conducive or incidental to the discharge of its general functions; and 

6.1.2    in formulating the proposals in respect of which a decision is sought officers have complied 
with the GLA’s related statutory duties to:

•    pay due regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people; 

•    consider how the proposals will promote the improvement of health of persons, health inequalities between persons and to contribute towards the achievement of sustainable development in the United Kingdom; and 

•    consult with appropriate bodies. 

6.2    Section 3 of the Code requires the GLA to seek three or more written quotations in respect of the services required or call off the services required from an accessible framework. However, the assistant director may approve an exemption from this requirement under section 5 of the Code upon certain specified grounds. One of those grounds is a complete absence of competition. Officers have indicated in section 1 of this report that this ground applies, and that the proposed contract affords value for money.

On this basis the assistant director may approve the proposed exemption if satisfied with the content of this report.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract [for externally delivered projects]

n/a

Announcement [if applicable]

n/a

Delivery Start Date

April 2015

Final evaluation start and finish (self/external) [delete as applicable]:

n/a

Delivery End Date

March 2016

Project Closure

n/a