ADD2057 The London Data Exchange

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
10 January 2017
Decision by: 
Andrew Collinge, Assistant Director of Intelligence

Executive summary

In March 2016 the London Data Strategy was published, setting out a series of priority actions to be met over the coming years. Two of these actions are relevant to this decision - building public acceptance, and building London’s data market. 

This decision proposes the approval of expenditure to fund the development of a London Data Exchange, which fulfils the role of the data market as outlined in the London Data Strategy. This development will enable better supply and exploitation of data from a variety of public and private sector city data sources. Incorporating an element of citizen co-development to explore related data ethics issues, the project will run until June 2017, with the potential for further development and infrastructure build out.


The Assistant Director of Intelligence approves expenditure of £30,000 to procure and commission consultants through a competitive process to support the initial research and scoping activity services required for the development of a London Data Exchange.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The City Data Strategy was written and published with the goal of cementing the role of data in improving public services and the broader management of the city.  To do this, it argued that city data of all forms needed to be better organised, and the issues around its usage better understood.  Public awareness of this field – how data that circulates on the internet today is used – is low. 

1.2    Technology, social media and mobile devices are changing the way we communicate and navigate everyday life. Providers of digital platforms and creators of digital services and products are increasingly reliant on data.  Securing the reliable supply of quality assured data, and exploring associated issues like monetisation therefore become critical.

1.3    A large proportion of this data will be generated through citizens’ everyday interactions with services, social media, mobile devices, vehicles and smart cards.  As the range of potential data generating technologies (e.g. wearables and Internet of Things) expands, and citizens and their households generate large amounts of the data collected and used in the city, it is important that we take the debate on how this data is used, and to what ends.  

1.4    Further, emerging sectors like the circular economy have the potential to generate new forms of data to which we must try to give structure, organisation and form, if they are to function properly. 

1.5    The London Data Exchange starts to create the means of exchange for city data and will also provide members of the public with personal datastores – secure environments in which they can control use of their personal data and test their reaction to its use in a range of use cases from both the public and private sector.  It will give people digital tools so they can request and store data held about them. These tools will also provide easy interfaces to enable the individual to share their data with organisations of their choice, and indeed revoke their permissions if they no longer want to share data with a particular organisation.  

1.6    At the completion of scoping and prior to development of a London Data Exchange tool, a Privacy Impact Assessment will be required and content of this nature is to be kept on a secure server with any personal information only collected for justifiable reasons.

1.7    The GLA has worked with SynapS Digital to undertake initial research for the London Data Exchange road map, providing an outline of the necessary infrastructure, investigating and illustrating potential use cases, and identifying private sector partners, to help meet the vision of the City Data Strategy.  SynapS Digital is a strategic digital advisory firm focusing on the creation of commercial and social value from the interdisciplinary challenges of innovation in data creation and exchange, and the building of trusted customer relationships. SynapS Digital are the tech arm of The Fourth Foundry, an organisation launched by Digital Catapult and are unique in their work as an organisation with technical experience and knowledge of business models for Personal Data sharing systems, the consumer impact of such systems and  monetisation mechanisms. 

1.8    As this is a relatively new and niche field there is no existing framework for this subject area. However, the procurement process will utilise the Market Research framework to seek quotes. The estimated fees are based on a quote provided by SynapsDigital and are comparable with known fees for services in the field of market research, which are considered to provide value for money. 

1.9    The project will ultimately be creating the road-map and foundations for the London Data Exchange, which will in turn be providing members of the public with their own personal data stores, giving people digital tools so they can request and store data held about them. This will grant citizens more power over their data, but also improve equity of services.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    To research, design and deliver a trial of the London Data Exchange, which will enable the full implementation of infrastructure if the case is proven, in line with the aims of the City Data Strategy.

2.2    The project will enable improved service delivery for the relevant use cases.  The data infrastructure improvements, leveraged by both public and private sectors, will yield innovations which will help to secure London’s role as a tech hub of Europe.

2.3    Improving service delivery through technological innovation and the globally leading data sharing capability will help meet the Mayor’s priority to “support innovative tech solutions which enable Londoners to access and use public services and information more easily and efficiently”.

Equality comments

3.1    Research undertaken as part of the project will aim to be representative, ensuring those with protected characteristics are involved in all stages. 

3.2    The project has the capacity to increase fairness and minimise disadvantage due to its ability to enable services to be improved, and empower people with data.

Other considerations

4.1    A key risk that may emerge in this project is a lack of appetite from other service providers and/or the public. This risk will be managed through good project development, methodological considerations and an effective communications strategy. 

4.2    Where required for project development, this work will engage a range of Londoners to ensure the tool works for a wide cross section of society, and sets the basis for putting the City Data Strategy into action. 

Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought for expenditure of up to £30,000 for the London Data Exchange project research and development 

5.2    The project is expected to run until June 2017.  It should be noted, however, that future costs may arise should further development and infrastructure expansion take place. 

5.3    The funding for this project will be made available from the Minor Programmes budget, within the C&I Directorate.  Additional funding for build-out costs is to be contained within the available provision in the Minor Programme budget.  All cost will be allocated to WBS GG.0220.001.

5.4    Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to the Authority’s decision-making process.

Planned delivery approach and next steps



Procurement of contract [for externally delivered projects]

N/A: Single supplier

Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]

Jan 2017

Main milestones

Jan, March, April 17

Final evaluation start and finish (self):

May 2017

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

May 2017

Project Closure: [for project proposals]

June 2017


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