We want to make sure that all Mayoral projects and programmes are carried out to the highest quality. To help this, we manage a project review process. We work with members of the Mayor’s Design Advisory Group (MDAG), invited critics and officers from the Mayor’s Planning team, Urban Design London and Transport for London.
How do project reviews work?
Project reviews are an important part of how we make sure we are investing in high quality projects. All of our projects agree to a series of informal, internal and formal reviews as part of their funding agreement.
Our review panels looks at the funded proposal, but also the wider place. The ‘wider place’ means how the project is experienced, how it looks and feels, and how it contributes to an overall strategy for change, enhancement and economic uplift.
Each review panel is put together to fit each particular project. The panel contributes expertise and provides an external check on progress. The reviews are loosely structured as a ‘design surgery’ to encourage constructive conversation.
MDAG members chair and lead in providing comments, as well as a follow-up letter to projects. Project officers prepare briefings which identify issues to consider, and are encouraged to take part in the spirit of helpfulness. All review members give their time for free.
The review is not a one off. We continue to have an involvement in the quality management of projects, providing design and regeneration advice.
What do we review?
We review around four projects per month, ranging from bridges and market stalls, to shop fronts and workspaces.
As well as regeneration-specific programmes, we have held reviews for the Big Green Fund, the TfL Garden Bridge, the Mini-Hollands and Cycle Superhighways. We have also jointly managed panels with TfL where funding initiatives overlap.
Why do we review?
In a 2014 survey the vast majority of borough officers found the reviews either ‘useful’ or ‘very useful’, with over half stating that reviews lead directly to changes in their project. One borough officer noted that the reviews ‘generally helped to advocate simpler and more robust solutions and raise the quality bar’.
We believe our project reviews can inform others outside City Hall. We’re open to exploring opportunities for collaboration on a variety of projects and programmes.