ADD2068 West End Partnership communications and marketing group

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
17 January 2017
Decision by: 
Debbie Jackson, Interim Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

This decision seeks the approval of a £25,000 contribution by the GLA towards the activity of the West End Partnership (WEP) communications and marketing delivery group in 2016/17. The GLA is an active member of this group, in addition to the main WEP board, and is committed to delivering the objectives alongside our partners. The West End Partnership brings together senior public service and private sector leaders, academic experts and resident representatives to be the catalyst and mechanism to enable the West End to accommodate growth, whilst at the same time strengthen its unique cultural character, amenity and openness. The West End partnership communications and marketing delivery group will oversee activity aligned to the marketing and communications strategy in order to promote the objectives of the WEP.  



That the Assistant Director of Regeneration approves the grant funding of £25,000 from the ‘DEE Minor Programmes’ Budget to support the delivery of the West End Partnership communications and marketing strategy for 2016/17.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The West End Partnership (WEP) brings together senior public service and private sector leaders, academic experts and resident representatives. It was created to be the catalyst and mechanism to enable the West End to accommodate growth, whilst at the same time strengthen its unique cultural character, amenity and openness. The Partnership coordinates strategies and delivery in response to this growth with new policies, plans and actions which benefit residents, communities, businesses and visitors alike.

The original WEP Marketing Group was established over a year ago to develop a marketing strategy to support the Partnership’s objectives. The Marketing Agency, Seven Hills was commissioned to produce a marketing strategy under the stewardship of the group; chaired by Conrad Bird, Director of GREAT Britain Campaign.

The Marketing strategy provided analysis of the current position of the West End in terms of its position versus other markets and made recommendations about the potential scale and ambition of a future marketing strategy for the West End. The strategy and accompanying report were approved in principle by the Board in July 2015. It was agreed that funding should be sought from partners across the Board to fund the proposed activity for year 1 which will start in April 2016.  

A new WEP communications and marketing delivery group has been set up to oversee the delivery of this communications and marketing strategy. 

The membership of this new group reflects those organisations on the main WEP Board. 

Penny Alexander - Baker Street Quarter 
Charles Begley – Westminster Property Association 
Julia Corkey – Westminster City Council 
Emma De Souza – Society of London Theatres (representing culture) 
Ruth Duston – Victoria BID 
Rob Beasley – Camden Council
David McNeil (Chairman) – Transport for London
Sarah Porter – Heart of London Business Alliance
Emma Strain – Greater London Authority
Jace Tyrrell – New West End Company
TBC -London First, MET Police and resident representative

The group nominated David McNeil as Chairman and he accepted.

In addition, all West End BIDs indicated they will be contributing to the communications and marketing plan (to varying levels) and therefore it was agreed that all BIDs will be represented on the group.

The WEP communications and marketing delivery group will be accountable to the WEP Board and report quarterly on progress set against the evaluation criteria developed at the outset of the campaign.

Given the importance of communications for all members of WEP it was agreed that the group would remain high level until the three year plan had been agreed and resources are in place. At that point it was agreed to review membership or move to a model where a strategic group would meet to agree the annual plan and review progress quarterly in advance of the main WEP Board and an operational group would meet more regularly to oversee delivery. 

To reach that point, it is proposed that existing members who wish to have a decision making remit in activity, contribute to the initial cost of development. 

A paper presented to the WEP board set out that the WEP marketing strategy will require the following investment: Year 1 £580,000; Year 2 £1,180,000 and Year 3 £1,580,000

The group agreed that Year 1 was achievable via individual contributions up to a budget of £400k. This core operational budget will include the actual delivery of activity e.g. events, publications as well as any staffing/consultancy required. 

The initial funding commitments for Year 1 have now been made.

It is proposed that the GLA will contribute £25,000 from the ‘DEE Minor Programmes’ budget towards this core operational activity for Year 1, as a key decision maker within the WEP Communications and Marketing Group.

There was recognition that some members may not be able to contribute financially towards the development of the strategy but can provide rich content e.g. the culture sector. Organisations on the Board that do not fund the delivery will not have a decision making capacity, only a consultative / observational remit.

In kind resources
•    Culture sector to provide content for campaigns and will be represented and coordinated via SOLT
•    WCC to provide staffing and accommodation

Non funding Board Members
Resident groups and Met police

Objectives and expected outcomes

The Communications and Marketing delivery group will be responsible for communicating the wider strategic objectives of the West End Partnership, and the value that the partnership itself is bringing in terms of leadership and influence. The group will oversee development and implementation of an agreed over-arching WEP communications plan that will give a voice to the Board and the progress they are making in the delivery of the West End Vision. This work will keep building the profile of the partnership amongst key stakeholders and will complement the place marketing activity. 

Research has shown that competition for investment, jobs and talent is immediate and real and is without a strong marketing and positioning strategy to reverse this trend the West End risks being left behind.  

The primary purpose of the WEP communications and marketing delivery group is to deliver against the following overall objectives:

•    Building the profile of WEP amongst key stakeholders to build Recognition of WEP as the driving force for positive change and sustainable growth in the West End;
•    Enhancing and driving momentum of the West End’s Reputation through an always-on campaigning approach;
•    Helping to drive inward investment, sustainable funding models, businesses and jobs to secure  the Resources of the future; 
•    Increasing the number of visitors to the West End and their dwell time and spend through Revitalising the overall experience;
•    Encouraging an environment where people and businesses want to and can stay and grow therefore Retaining and nurturing economic and social value in the West End. 

The Communications and Marketing delivery group will be responsible for the overarching West End campaign, which will provide direct support and expertise to guide the Partnership and manage its public relations, especially as more information relating to the various projects emerge.

The activity to achieve this objective will be focused around a series of set piece events and deliverables, building from the successful vision launch in 2015 to highlight progress as identified in the regular WEP reporting processes, including an annual report.  Activity will also include developing and continually refreshing content for the WEP website and to maintain regular communication with a database of key stakeholders and those whom WEP is seeking to influence.  

Campaigns undertaken by the group will be on issues where there is consensus amongst the Board. Initial priorities include: 
•    Improvements to the Wi-Fi/Digital infrastructure 
•    Ensuring a sustainable funding model for the West End
•    Promotion and marketing of the unrivalled West End offer 
•    Support for the individual projects. 

The lead organisation for any given project  will be responsible for coordination of  communications and engagement activity that relate to it, always in line with the overall WEP comms framework and ultimately accountable to the Communications and Marketing Delivery Group.

For the major marketing activity, the strategy does not attempt to launch a costly new ‘West End brand’ but campaigns around the theme of ‘there is no end to the West End’ and works closely with partners such as London & Partners and, internationally, UKTI and the Government’s GREAT Britain campaign.

In year 1 the campaign will build foundations, inform key audiences and gain competitive momentum by strengthening and broadening partnership working and stakeholder engagement across the West End’s assets and successfully competing for audience attention through strong digital presence, media management and running a programme of events. During year 1 the group will also develop a three year comms and marketing strategy for the West End to lead up to the opening of the Elizabeth Line. Defining the brand and brand strategy and developing brand guidelines/ will be a key objective of the group. 

The group will also bring together calendar of events for year 1 including ‘West End Moments’, WEP at Party Conferences and a WEP Conference (November) to demonstrate strategic merit of WEP and increase its impact and influence in turn delivering benefit to the West End.

Equality comments

All activities associated with the GLA’s involvement in the WEP communication and marketing strategy will be required to be respectful of the public sector equality duty. One of the key aims of the strategy is to engage with as broad and diverse public audience as possible, to promote West End. Promotion as a destination that is inclusive and respectful will be key in attracting both new visitors and investment and will form part of the strategic approach.  


Other considerations

a) key risks and issues 

Initial funding including the proposed contribution from the GLA, only supports activity in Year 1. The 
The WEP communications and marketing strategy has been budgeted to require an initial three years of funding with funding for years two and three still to be confirmed. Until this is secured, there would be risk against the impact of any activity that began in Year 1, and the longer term sustainability of activity.  The business plan, including funding considerations, will be considered at the WEP Board. 

b) links to Mayoral strategies and priorities c) impact assessments and consultations.

The ambitions of the WEP communications and marketing strategy support a number of Mayoral priorities relating to ‘A City for All Londoners’
•    Positioning London as an open, global city and attracting high value investment and jobs to drive growth
•    Supporting and promoting the city as a cultural capital by improving the awareness of, experience of and investment in, one of London’s most important destinations 
•    Supporting the night-time economy at the heart of the city
•    Promoting the city as ‘a city for all Londoners’ both at home and abroad

Financial comments

5.1    The £25,000 cost of this proposal will be funded from the Development, Enterprise & Environment ‘Minor Programmes’ budget for 2016-17. Any future GLA contribution to the West End Partnership will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s Decision-Making process. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made. 


Planned delivery approach and next steps

The delivery of the WEP’s communications and marketing programme will be related to the key milestones for the delivery of the WEP’s wider investment programme.  A full programme plan will be developed once feedback is received on the WEP’s proposition for infrastructure investment.


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