ADD2024 Build local authority planning and regeneration capacity

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
09 September 2016
Decision by: 
Debbie Jackson, Interim Assistant Director for Built Environment

Executive summary

ADD2017 approved the expenditure of up to £20,000 for the development of a business plan for a programme to build local authority planning and regeneration capacity. Since then, the Local Government Association (LGA) and East of England LGA (EELGA) have committed an additional £10,000 of match funding each to the development of the business plan. This match funding will allow for the commission to include wider consultation and greater detail on implementation. This approval covers incorporating the LGA and EELGA match funding, and commissioning external professional consultants on the basis of a total budget of up to £40,000.



That the Assistant Director of Regeneration approves:

1.    Receipt and expenditure of £20,000 (£10,000 from the Local Government Association and £10,000 from the East of England LGA) as match funding for the £20,000 already allocated for the development of a business plan for a programme to build local authority planning and regeneration capacity (ADD2017).
2.    Representation of the LGA and EELGA on the officers working group and advisory group for the project. 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    ADD2017 includes full details of the background and context to the proposed programme to build borough planning and regeneration capacity, with a working title of ‘The London Place Agency’. The initiative has been discussed and approved across the relevant GLA teams, including Regeneration, Housing & Land, and Planning, and has the support of the Deputy Mayor for Housing and the Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills. 

1.2    ADD2017 approved the expenditure of £20,000 for the development of a business plan for the Place Agency, from the Development, Enterprise & Environment Central Programme budget.

1.3    In the development of proposals, GLA Regeneration officers consulted with relevant authorities and bodies including London Councils, LGA, EELGA, Nesta, Future Cities Catapult, Planning Officers Society, Design Council CABE, British Property Federation, London First, Future of London, Urban Design London, New London Architecture, and University College London. All of these organisations have supported the initiative.

1.4    As set out in paragraph 1.7 of ADD2017, there is significant interest in the model from local authorities surrounding London where the pressure to deliver growth combined with difficulties in attracting adequately skilled planners are creating significant capacity issues. The EELGA Chief Executives Forum recently published a report on the Recruitment and Retention of planners in the East of England which recommended establishing the feasibility of extending the London Place Agency model to their authorities in conjunction with the wider work for London. As a result, EELGA committed £10,000 match funding to support the GLA’s development of the business plan. The Local Government Association have committed an additional £10,000 match funding.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The additional £20k match funding will cover an increase in scope in two ways:
a)    Wider consultation to improve the viability and scalability of the business plan.
b)    Greater detail on implementation, increasing deliverability and reducing future start-up costs.

2.2    Additional consultation and engagement with local authorities, partnerships and agencies in the East and South East of England will increase collaborations amongst regions, allow to develop a more detailed plan and help ensure that the model can potentially be applied to other regions or scalable beyond London. This has the benefit to us of supporting the delivery of London Plan policy 2.2: London and the wider metropolitan area. 

2.3    The additional match funding will allow further detail to be developed on implementation so that the initiative is ‘delivery ready’ (subject to approvals) by the end of the commission. The draft scope for the business plan set out in ADD2017 will be extended in the following ways:

Additional market testing focus group(s) with local authorities in the East and South East of England. 

Extension of scope to assess market demand beyond London. 

Further detail on planning for regional or wider scalability.

Research and Training: 
A fully developed training programme and platform for sharing knowledge.

Production of draft memoranda of understanding with potential regional or national partners.

A ‘ready to deliver’ governance model including a shell legal structure (if relevant), draft constitution, terms of reference etc.

A ‘ready to deliver’ branding and marketing strategy, including graphic design and a web-presence.

Draft potential job descriptions and adverts for any new roles.

Draft templates for applications, selection, and agreements with mentors.

2.4    The input of the LGA and EELGA will also be valuable in terms of the additional expertise they can bring to the business planning process. It is proposed that representatives of the LGA and EELGA sit on the officer working group for the project, and a single representative of both organisations sits on the advisory group. The involvement of these organisations is on the condition that it will not impact on the timescales, cost or deliverability of establishing the Place Agency in London.

Expected outcomes

2.5    The output from the commission will be a more detailed viable business plan and implementation plan for The London Plan Agency addressing aspects as set out in 2.3. The business plan will enable the Mayor –and other participation partners- to determine whether, and how best to take forward the next stage of development for the programme, as well as gain support from other funders, supporters and contributors. 

Budget breakdown

2.6    The total budget for the commission will be up to £40,000, which is broken down as:
£20,000 Greater London Authority
£10,000 Local Government Association
£10,000 East of England Local Government Association

2.7    The additional funding equates approximately to a further 70 hours @ £295 per hour, though the actual cost and value within this budget will be determined through the appropriate competitive tendering process. The total cost of the commission takes into account internal support from Finance, Legal and HR at the GLA.

Equality comments

3.1    The following issues have been –and will be- considered specifically:

    Employment law advice:  All proposals will be assessed in terms of accessibility to ensure we minimise disadvantages suffered by people who share a protected characteristic. age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation.

    Documents and publications: all documents produced will comply with Mayor of London branding guidelines, it being based on guidance from the Royal National Institute of Blind People. Where possible accessible formats will be available.

Other considerations

4.1    The contribution of match funding by the LGA and EELGA has been welcome by the Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills. 

4.2    LGA and EELGA will join the officers working group and advisory group for the project.

4.3    Keys risks and issues





Difficulties of receiving match funding from the LGA and EELGA slows the project down.



Approval of this ADD allows the GLA to issue Sales Invoice Request Forms to the LGA and EELGA. Regular liaison with officers in LGA and EELGA to ensure swift transfer of funding.

LGA and EELGA involvement slows down business planning.



Additional funding allows for additional resource to be procured to cover extension of scope. GLA control of officer working group and advisory group will ensure core scope for London is met within project timescales.

Financial comments

5.1    The total estimated gross cost of this project is £40,000 and the net cost to the GLA will be £20,000. The balance of £20,000 will be funded equally between Local Government Association and the East of England Local Government Association (£10,000 each) for which receipt of funding is being sought via this report. 

5.2    The match funding noted above will supplement the GLA’s contribution of £20,000 towards this project, which has already been approved by ADD2017. Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made. 

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