ADD2440 City Operations subscription to Welund data platform

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2440
Date signed: 
17 March 2020
Decision by: 
Niran Mothada, Executive Director of Strategy and Communications

Executive summary

The Mayor has a strategic role in leading and communicating on events that affect the life of Londoners including in relation to London’s social development, its economy and its environment.

Protests, events and demonstrations regularly cause significant disruption in London and Londoners rightly expect to hear from the Mayor particularly where a major disruptive incident has occurred.

The Greater London Authority’s City Operations Unit (City Op.s) has responsibility for informing the Mayor and stakeholders within the GLA regarding such events and it is vital that the Mayor has the most accurate, current information at his disposal to enable him to speak with authority and lead London in a crisis.

City Ops recommends the purchase of a twelve month subscription to Welund (a trading name of a Papea Ltd.) which provides information on planned and unplanned protests. The information would enable the Mayor to provide the information that Londoners need in relation to protests, events and demonstrations and to facilitate and coordinate the work of functional bodies as appropriate.

Decision

That the Executive Director of Strategy and Communications approves:

• the procurement of a subscription to access the Welund platform at a cost of £12,000 for the 2020/21 financial year; and

• an exemption from the requirement to hold a competitive tendering process or to enter into a call-off contract from a suitable framework in accordance with section 9 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code to enable the entry into the licence referred to above.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Mayor has a strategic role in leading and communicating on events that affect the life of Londoners including in relation to London’s social development, its economy and its environment.

City Op.s provides a situational awareness capability with the ability to identify, process, analyse critical elements of information about what is happening and turn this information into actionable intelligence.

As part of the core capabilities of City Op.s, there is a need to access resources provided by private sector subject matter experts within areas of GLA’s functional responsibility.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The Metropolitan Police Service is the main body responsible for the planning, management and enforcement of order where there is a demonstration or public assembly in London.

However, protests and the disruption that they can cause directly and indirectly impacts on functions for which the the Mayor is responsible e.g. in terms of London’s social development and integration of communities as well as economic activity and wealth creation and environment protection.

The GLA also has responsibility for the management of selected locations in London including Parliament Square Garden and Trafalgar Square and the GLA’s functional bodies such as Transport for London have broad ranging related responsibilities e.g. in terms of land holdings, infrastructure and management of London’s transport network more generally.

Although many groups and movements who wish to protest do so lawfully including in providing appropriate notice under the applicable public order legislation, a significant proportion do not and the GLA does not have advanced warning of such activities.

Obtaining information on planned demonstrations, particularly when disruption to London is the stated intent, would allow City Op.s to support the Mayor in his strategic role as well as the operations of its functional bodies for which the GLA has a facilitative and coordinating role.

Section 9 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code (the Code) requires that contracts for services of more than £10,000 are procured by competitive tendering or via a call-off from a suitable framework. However, section 10 of the Code provides that an exemption from this requirement may be approved where there is a complete absence of competition. Although there are other companies who could be regarded as competitors from a business perspective, this is because they cover similar activities as a part of a wider service monitoring "threat", whilst also providing reporting on Cyber, terrorism and other potentially disruptive activities. Inevitably the coverage on protests is not as extensive, being part of a wider remit and these "market"competitors are also considerably more costly. As City Ops has no requirement for such services, Welund, within the requirements of the unit, is without competition.

Equality comments

The GLA is subject to a public sector equality duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Act; to advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic (including belief and religion as well as race, disability, sex, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment) and persons who do not share it; and foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it. The potential impacts of purchasing these data platform licences have been considered, and although no immediate adverse impact for people with protected characteristics has identified (e.g. where protesters are of a particular religion or philosophic belief), we recognise that compliance with the equalities duty is a continuing one which we will keep under review including in relation to the information received, who it relates to and how we use it in order to prevent and/or mitigate any adverse impact as appropriate.

Other considerations

The subscription to Welund will comprise the provision of a number of licences to access an electronic platform from which a daily bulletin will be made available. The information contained in the bulletin will be incorporated with other information gathered by City Op.s to formulate intelligence reports for provision to the Mayor and stakeholders within the GLA.

Financial comments

Assistant Director’s approval is sought for expenditure of £12,000 per annum for the procurement of licences to access the Welund platform for one year from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, to be funded from City Op.s’ 2020-21 budget agreed as part of 2020-21 budget setting process.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Delivery Start Date

01 April 2020

Delivery End Date

30 March 2021


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