ADD2340 Urban Design London subscription 2019-20

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
19 March 2019
Decision by: 
Rickardo Hyatt, Assistant Director of Housing and Interim Deputy Executive Director

Executive summary

Urban Design London are a not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2002 to support London’s built environment professionals create and maintain well-designed, good quality places. There yearly subscription programmes give members access to training events, design review services and resources.

The Housing and Land Directorate have historically paid the GLA subscription of £4,000 per annum. As their programme of events grows and the number of GLA officers accessing their content it is proposed to increase the annual subscription.

This requests approval to increase the GLA subscription to Urban Design London to £12,000 a year and covers the increase for 2019/20.


That the Head of Area, South approves:

The GLA subscription to Urban Design London of £12,000 for 2019/20.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The annual subscription cost has stayed at £4,000 for the last four years, which Housing and Land have paid on behalf of the GLA. The subscription applies to all GLA officers and there is no upper limit on the number of bookings per course.

The usage in 2018-19 was 121 bookings, at a cost per head of £33 for half and full day training courses. Even with the proposed increase, assuming the usage remains constant, the cost per head becomes £99.17 – which is extremely competitive and excellent value for money.

By increasing its subscription, the Greater London Authority will enable Urban Design London to enhance its programme.

The 2019/20 programme includes events that support GLA work, such as:

• The Pan London series, which revolves around helping boroughs implement the draft New London Plan policies on design, density, small sites, creating codes and masterplans, the circular economy, design scrutiny and proactive planning, applying the tall building policy and so on.
• The Green London series, which mirrors GLA environment team’s work programme, including sessions to support the expected launch of guidance on living walls and roofs, the Urban Greening Factor policy, use of tools and data such as the Heat Risk Tool and applying for Community Green Space Grants.
• EIP watch events to go over the types of arguments put forward on design, density, tall building, green infrastructure and transport policies at the inquiry.

In addition to the 2019/20 programme UDL are expanding their design review series and creating 4 more bespoke sessions focusing on a Building Affordable Homes series which is also relevant to Housing and Land Directorate and the increased subscription will facilitate expansion of the series.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The expected outcomes and benefits of renewing membership are that GLA officers can quickly access a high-quality programme of very relevant learning opportunities to enhance their skills and ability.

Due to the subscription, there is no need for a PO or complicated invoicing for each course which speeds up access to the training.

Equality comments

The public sector equality duty requires the identification and evaluation of the likely potential impacts, both positive and negative, of the decision on those with protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation) and set out how you are addressing the duties). This decision is not likely to have any impact on individuals with protected characteristics; however, the training offered by Urban Design London could lead to a better sharing of best practice and approaches to housing delivery which in turn could improve both access and quality of housing to those with protected characteristics.

Other considerations

There is no legal commitment associated with GLA membership.

There are currently two GLA members of staff that sit on the UDL board Jamie Dean (Regeneration) and Nick Taylor (Housing and Land).

The training offered by Urban Design London supports the Mayor’s aim to increase the supply of genuinely affordable homes delivered across London each year. Their programme also covers environment, transport, planning and regeneration.

No impact assessments or consultations were carried out in relation to this decision.

Financial comments

This decision requests approval to spend £12,000 for GLA subscription to access UDL events and training materials until 31 March 2020. This expenditure will be funded from Management and Consultancy budget within Housing & Land department and will incur in 2019/20 financial year.

Activity table



New subscription starts, plus subscription publicised to GLA as a whole

1 April 2019

Subscription ends

31 March 2020

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