ADD2324 Design Governance and Scrutiny Workshops

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
28 February 2019
Decision by: 
Nabeel Khan (past staff), Head of Economic Development

Executive summary

The Greater London Authority (GLA) has invited tenders for a consultant to deliver expert services to support the Good Growth by Design (GGbD) programme ‘Applying Standards’ and progress the GLA family’s design management and scrutiny arrangements. Appointed consultants will design, arrange, oversee and report back on a series of workshops with various GLA Group organisations, with the view to creating a powerful recommendation report for the GLA and setting design management protocols for distinct teams. Approval is sought from the Assistant Director to authorise expenditure to engage the services of a consultant following a formal tender process in line with the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code.


That the Assistant Director of Regeneration and Economic Development approves:

Expenditure of £20,000 on consultancy services to support design governance workshops, which will in turn lead to the preparation of a series of design quality management protocols and a report setting out key findings and recommendations.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Good Growth by Design programme sets out a plan for London’s built environment and its growth. It asserts that good growth is socially and economically inclusive, environmentally sustainable, physically accessible and sensitive to its urban context and local communities, and that there is a significant role for design in achieving this.

The Mayor is supported by 52 Mayor’s Design Advocates, designers and built environment practitioners, to set policy and scrutinise investments and decisions with this regard. The Mayor has also identified 6 Advocate Organisations who are doing important work that aligns with the Good Growth by Design programme like providing design review services, encouraging debate around London’s built environment and promoting best practice.

The programme is made up of 6 priority areas or pillars. One of these pillars is ‘Applying the Standards’. This captures the Mayor’s increased emphasis on ensuring quality in the built environment, especially where he is investing or where schemes are on his land, and the role that design review and other design management and scrutiny arrangements should play.

A number of actions have already been progressed as part of the GGbD programme, including the establishment of the London Review Panel, made up of the Mayor’s Design Advocates and with the primary purpose of supporting the GLA and Mayoral investments, but with some capacity to support design review more broadly across London; the launch of the Mayor’s Quality Review Charter, a tool for promoting consistency and quality across London’s design review sector; and the joint commissioning with Urban Design London of UCL to provide a study into the value and experience of design review in London from the perspective of applicants and panellists. We have also launched the new Architecture Design an Urbanism Panel (ADUP) and are working towards guidance for clients.

The GGbD Programme draws on an annual budget of £120,000 approved as part of the GLA’s budget setting process 2017/18. This ADD seeks approval for a £20k expenditure in financial year 18/19 to develop the work of the programme under pillar 2.

Objectives and expected outcomes

To enhance design quality and enhanced place making capability it has been decided by the GGbD steering group to support a series of workshops with commissioning units across the GLA and TfL. The workshops will be supported by Mayor’s Design Advocates (MDAs) who will facilitate a self review by several commissioning bodies (GLA Regen, H+L, OPDC, LLDC, TfL Property, TfL Surface, LU). Each body will set out everything they do in order to achieve quality and inclusion in the built environment alongside any suggestions they have to improve existing processes. This will have the overall outcome of supporting the implementation of the Mayor’s increased emphasis on design review, management and scrutiny set out in policy D2 of the New London Plan and committed to through the Good Growth by Design programme.

Four pilot workshops have already taken place. The purpose of this commission is to explore how learnings from the pilot process can be implemented and how design governance and review processes can be embedded into working protocols that tangibly contribute to securing high quality projects funded or facilitated by the GLA. They will then create a recommendation report that will guide design management protocols for distinct teams within the GLA.

Equality comments

The Mayor’s vision for good growth is to enable all Londoners to fulfil their potential by providing more inclusive places that enable communities to share in the benefits of growth and participate in how the city changes. Good Growth by Design is a call to action to everyone involved in London’s built environment sector to help realise the Mayors vison for Good growth. Pillar two of the programme is about ensuring that the new and emerging standards set by the mayor are adhered to and that the processes and resources are in place to support this.

The workshops will scrutinise commissioning and review bodies across the GLA to assess their adherence to commitments made by the Mayor around Good Growth i.e. promoting design review.

There will be opportunities to promote and showcase some of the GLA’s exemplary projects, all of which are subject to the GLA’s duties under the Equalities Act 2010. The work will aim to address the lack of diversity in the sector, (a sector made up of 97% from privileged socio-economic class, under representative of Women, BAME and other protected characteristics groups. There is also a lack of consideration of the needs of users of areas.

In particular there will be advice to commissioning bodies to adhere to relevant GLA codes of practice, this includes the GLA’s responsible procurement plan.

Other considerations

The procurement has been undertaken in accordance with the GLA’s Contracts and funding Code and procurement guidelines.

Risks: All expenditure is profiled in qtr. 4 2018/19 there is a clear risk at this late stage that work will not be fully undertaken. To mitigate against this a good deal of planning has already taken place to line up participants in advance of consultant appointment. There is also a risk that key partners will not engage in the process, again this has been mitigated by agreeing participation with

Links to strategies: Good Growth promotes a more inclusive approach to Place shaping, urban design and architecture, that attempts to include all Londoners in the benefits of growth. The idea of Good Growth runs through all the Mayor’s Strategy documents and is the central narrative of the London plan. The London Plan highlights the need to have good design review processes in place. Good Growth by Design (GGbD) is the Mayor’s programme to deliver Good Growth by raising quality and by promoting inclusion in the built environment. Commitments made by the Mayor around Design Quality as part of this programme will be facilitated by this work.

Financial comments

The estimated £20,000 cost of this proposal will be funded from the 2018-19 ‘Good Growth by Design’ Programme budget held within the Regeneration & Economic Development Unit.

Activity table



Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]

Jan 2019

Monthly review

Jan 2019 onwards

Final Monthly Review

March 2019

Final evaluation starts and finish (self/external)

April 2020

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

June 2020

Project Closure: [for project proposals]

June 2020

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