ADD2155 Digital Leadership Training

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
05 September 2017
Decision by: 
Emma Strain, Assistant Director, External Relations and Monitoring Officer

Executive summary

The Mayor has recognised that City Hall will need to increase the digital competence and confidence of all its leaders. To address this, it is proposed that the GLA commission the services of Doteveryone, to provide a tailored programme of digital skills training for our senior leadership team.  Doteveryone have considerable digital leadership training experience and an excellent understanding of digital strategy work and digital delivery programmes in government.


Expenditure will be up to the value of £50,000 for a twelve-month pilot and we would expect three cohorts, of eight leaders per cohort, to complete the training within this period.


That the Assistant Director, External Relations approves: 

1.    expenditure of £50,000, from the central contingency budget, on the services of Doteveryone which are required for the delivery of a 12-month digital skills pilot training programme and associated research; and 
2.    a related exemption from the requirement of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code to procure such services competitively

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Greater London Authority (GLA) recognises that many people in leadership positions don’t yet understand enough about digital technology, and that such an understanding is essential for all leaders in a digital age. 

This is a problem because the decisions leaders make have a disproportionate effect on the rest of us. When leaders make poor decisions, everyone else ends up with bad things like services that don’t work, wasted time and effort, security breaches, and privacy violations.

Leaders need to understand digital technology just like they have to understand money, HR, or the law. Not be experts — just have a basic understanding so they can make informed, effective decisions and make sure that the organisation is able to respond to changes in people’s lives and expectations arising from technology. 

London, through City Hall, has the opportunity to become the first digital Mayoralty. The Mayor has indicated that he wants to pursue this and is working with London Councils and others, as well as appointing his own Chief Digital Officer.

Doteveryone Services: It is proposed that the GLA commission the services of Doteveryone to deliver a tailored programme of digital skills training for our senior leadership team as a 12-month pilot to establish the optimal provision of such training over the longer term, a competitive procurement exercise to be conducted to secure such services following analysis of the outcomes of the pilot.  

Section 9.1 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code requires, where the expected value of a contract for services is between £10,000 and £150,000 the services required should be procured competitively or called off from an accessible framework. Section 10.1 provides however, that an exemption from this requirement may be approved where the proposed contractor where it holds certain technical, artistic, exclusive rights or intellectual property rights. Here: 

-    due to the unique nature of the services required the GLA is unable to specify, with sufficient certainty, the detail of services required without engaging with the experts in this regard; 

-    discussions with Doteveryone constitute such engagement; 

-    Doteveryone has certain innovative technical, artistic, exclusive rights or intellectual property rights which may be used to pilot the GLA’s running of digital skills training, shaping the GLA’s knowledge of and views on the optimal procurement and running of longer term programmes for a wider cohort.  

In addition:

-    Doteveryone has considerable digital leadership training experience and an excellent understanding of digital strategy work and digital delivery programmes in government. They have previously run a mentoring programme for Members of Parliament (see for more information). Their predecessor organisation Go ON UK created a framework for digital skills training and carried out extensive research into digital skills and training; and

-    Doteveryone’s team has a broad range of digital experience and understanding, including running large digital programmes in government and leading digital strategy work for the Government Digital Service. They can provide specialist coaches with experience in digital mentoring and coaching for senior executives, to support the GLA in this pilot project. 

Doteveryone has:

•    a team with deep digital expertise and understanding, combined with direct knowledge of City Hall and London government (their Digital Leadership lead worked in a senior role at City Hall for 11 years from 2001-2012); 
•    experience of providing digital mentoring in Parliament;
•    access to a wide and supportive network of digital leaders and experts; 
•    an independent brand and leadership that is respected within the digital community; 
•    learning from other pilot exercises;
•    access to an actively managed wider network of people undergoing digital leadership development, in the public, private and civic sectors;
•    research and evaluation capability; and 
•    design and product capability (for publishing and publicising research findings). 


o    Three cohorts of GLA leaders will follow a 6-month programme of supported, self-directed learning to develop their digital understanding. 

o    This proposal is for an initial pilot / research programme for two or three cohorts of eight leaders, combined with research and evaluation. 

o    Doteveryone will publish open source guidance, content and resources for other organisations to use.

o    The GLA will then use the results and analysis of outcomes to inform its competitive procurement of such services if it should wish to provide a comparable programme to additional cohorts of leaders. 

Scope: This pilot programme covers senior GLA officers (Deputy Mayors / Directors / Assistant Directors). If successful, the GLA may use the results and analysis of outcomes to inform its competitive procurement of such services so that an optimal programme can be provided to other cohorts of leaders, such as London Assembly members and Secretariat, London Boroughs and other members of the GLA Group.  

Pilot Programme Features: We envisage a cohort approach with approximately eight delegates per Cohort.  The venue for the programme could either be City Hall or the GLA premises on Union Street.  We also envisage the training course to include following features:
•    Three Cohorts in a twelve-month period
•    Individuals working on their own issue or challenge and research to support discussion and problem solving as a group
•    Cohort 1 to run from October 2017 with introductory session and programme scoping
•    External facilitation 
•    A co-creation approach with flexibility to tailor the programme to respond to learning needs of individuals.
•    1-2-1 support for each delegate 

Budget and contract duration: Doteveryone proposed this idea to the GLA of a pilot training, research and evaluation programme, which would demonstrate the value of training leaders in digital skills. Their model was specifically about running a pilot to test the value of a mentoring and shared learning approach, which we hope would prove the case and result in the publishing of open source tools for other public sector organisations to re-use. 

The pilot budget will be up to the value of £50,000 and we would expect at least two cohorts of leaders to complete the training within this period. This represents good value for money given the training will not only directly benefit many senior staff at City Hall, as well as its work, but the subsequent supplied open source resources will be available to many organisations. The cohort will be used to support ongoing digital transformation work City Hall staff are doing with London Boroughs, and others, and will help bolster our reputation as digital leaders.

At the end of the 12 month pilot period the GLA will use the pilot evaluation to decide whether to roll out the programme further. At this point, should we choose to continue with the training, a competitive procurement will be required. We would expect the cost of subsequent courses to be considerably cheaper after year one, given that they won’t include the same level of research or resource. 

Having consulted with HR colleagues, who regularly procure training for leaders, we believe that this partnership with Doteveryone offers considerable value for money. We have compared the costs being charged by Doteveryone (£650 per day) with other similar training activity (£900 per day) and confirm that Doteveryone’s offer is excellent value, particularly given the research element and the commitment to open source the resulting training materials. 

Objectives and expected outcomes

Aims of the training:
1.    Develop a cohort of leaders in the GLA to become confident and competent in their understanding of digital and providing effective digital leadership for the organisation
2.    Build London’s reputation as a world-leading digital city
3.    Build a community of digital leaders in City Hall, who support each other’s learning over time
4.    The GLA will become able to procure and run its own self-directed digital learning, based on the piloted model, for other cohorts of leaders (i.e. some of the cohort become facilitators for GLA and possibly also London boroughs)
5.    Use the learning from the partnership to develop free, open, actionable content that others could use to support self-directed learning for leaders in their organisations
Measurable outcomes of the training
Submissions must clearly set out how the following outcomes will be delivered and measured:

1.    Increase in self-reported confidence and competence in learning about and applying digital technology in their work
2.    Evidence that new approaches / techniques / understanding / technology have been successfully applied in their work
3.    Evaluation of the programme by participants, to assess its quality, relevance, effectiveness and applicability in their work
4.    Free, open, actionable content that other public sector organisations could use to support self-directed learning for leaders in their organisations.

Equality comments

This learning and development programme will support the equality objectives of the GLA. It is designed to develop positive management and leadership behaviours and standards as reflected in the staff Charter, Competency Framework and staff survey, by improving the digital capability of leaders at the GLA. 

Other considerations

Key risks and issues – The key risk with this work is getting the leaders at the GLA to commit the time to this training activity and not drop out of sessions at the last minute. This is risk is always a factor when arranging training for staff at this level of seniority. So far there has been a lot of interest from both Assistant Directors and members of the Mayor’s Office and nine leaders have already committed to taking part in the course. We will work with both HR, the Mayor’s Office and the GLA Corporate Management Team to encourage those who register to do the course to ensure that they fully commit to attending all of the sessions. 

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities 
The Mayor wants London to be the world’s leading ‘smart city’ – with digital technology at the heart of making the capital an even better place to live, work and invest.

Fulfilling a manifesto commitment, there will be new Chief Digital Officer tasked with ensuring that London’s globally renowned reputation for technological innovation is used to transform the way that public services are delivered in London, making them more accessible, efficient, and better suited to the needs of Londoners. 

However, all of this can’t be achieved by one member of the leadership team. In order for the GLA to become and truly digital organisation and a digital leader in London, it needs to build its digital capability internally. This has already begun, with the Digital Team, who have been offering training courses for GLA officers for the past three years and the agile training course, which has been running since September 2016. 

Financial comments

The GLA cost of up to £50,000 will be met from the corporate contingency for 2017-18.

Planned delivery approach and next steps



Procurement of contract

August – September 2017



Delivery Start Date

October 2017

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

September – October 2018

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

October 2018

Project Closure: [for project proposals]


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