ADD2448 Covid-19 Ask and Offer work

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
05 May 2020
Decision by: 
Alice Wilcock, Assistant Director of Team London

Executive summary

Covid19 is a national pandemic which has affected all of the UK. London is currently experiencing the highest number of cases. London’s Covid-19 Strategic Coordination Group (SCG) and sub groups are responding to this. One of the work strands within the Funders, Communities and Volunteering sub-group is the management and direction of In-Kind donations (non-financial offers of resource and support) to the corresponding areas of need.

This Decision requests permission to spend up to £20,000 to procure the services of a specialist organisation to manage the In-Kind donations strand of the Covid19 response.


That the Assistant Director of Team London and Community Sport approves:

1. Expenditure of up to £20,000 to procure the services of a specialist organisation to manage the In-Kind donations strand of the Covid19 response; and

2. A related exemption from the requirement of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code to seek competitive tenders for the services set out above.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

We have now entered a period of unprecedented demand for organisations that support Londoners (such as Food Banks, Mental Health Charities, Advice Services and Volunteer Centres) combined with a loss of resources. Many organisations have stepped forward to offer support -there have been over 300 offers to date, which in the initial weeks of lock-down have been running at around 20 a day. The needs of organisations in London must be reviewed, the offers must be assessed to ensure suitability, and these offers must be matched to organisations and prioritised according to need.

The organisation who had initially undertaken leading the management of the In-Kind offers no longer has the capacity to complete this work as their services are required elsewhere to deal with Covid19 response. The GLA and other partner organisations are working at capacity to support in other areas. In order to manage the In-Kind work at the speed required to match the demand, we wish to procure the services of a specialist organisation to manage the In-Kind donations strand of the Covid19 response.

Although the number of cases of Covid19 is in decline, the impact on London and Londoners will continue to be felt for a long time. The In-Kind offer will not just be looking at immediate need, it will consider and plan for the continued needs of London. We wish to be able to move to a more proactive system which will be based on assessment of need. This work will then be able to contribute to a longer term legacy for the work looking at directing in-kind philanthropy to where it is most needed and can be of most use. This in turn then links to the longer term work around giving, philanthropy and in-kind access for London.

Having reviewed the options for the most suitable procurement route, it has been determined that a Single Source Justification (SSJ) will be completed to procure the services of Rocket Science. Rocket Science are in a unique position to assist at this point in time due to their prior knowledge of the GLA, London Councils, the third sector, experience in bringing together the public, private and voluntary sector, and their existing networks which will allow them to begin delivery at the speed required.

Rocket Science will complete an initial three weeks of work (up to the value of £10,000) and if there remains a need for their work to continue then they will do so up to the value of the remaining £10,000.

Objectives and expected outcomes

Reviewing proposed systems for assessing and “triaging” (ie sorting/prioritising) different types of offers:

• assessing the current systems that the GLA has put in place to manage In-Kind Donations, which includes the web-based form for logging offers of support. A triaging function needs not only to develop an efficient system for risk assessing, prioritising and allocating In-Kind donations, but also to risk assess each offer as well as decide if it is better directed to the Funding or Volunteering teams in order to maximise the use of all resources;
• linking and collaborating with the SCG’s digital work stream to plan to more effectively harness information technology and digital tools to match the offers (supply) with needs (demand), as well as manage and track information on the allocation of In-Kind resources; and
• drawing on, or complementing other models or systems for broking and matching In-Kind resources.

Brokerage/matching offers with apparent need:

• ensuring that the supply of In-Kind resources is determined by genuine demand. Drawing on existing insight and intelligence (eg from the GLA datastore’s social evidence base, coupled with “live” information collected via the local hubs, and the coordination of sources on vulnerable communities by London Plus);
• working with the Sub-Group’s Funding strand, coordinated by London Funders, which is developing a rolling needs analysis to underpin the London Community Response;
• agreeing a set of key criteria against which to assess needs systematically and consistently; and
• developing a network for checking and directing offers to relevant contacts. This will include factoring the capacity of potential recipient organisations to make use of offers/donations.

Signposting and connecting offers which may be better directed locally or nationally via appropriate conduits/partners:

• recognising that the work of the In-Kind Donations team will require signposting many of the offers to other partners as appropriate, rather than handling everything within the GLA; and
• applying the principle of “subsidiarity”. Whilst many of the capital’s businesses will want to do something at a city-region level for London, and seek association with the Mayor, some offers will invariably be better redirected locally or even potentially nationally.

Recommending decisions/allocations (ie ultimately reporting into the Strategic Coordination Group):

• ensuring that there are streamlined “back-office” systems and processes for allocating In-Kind donations and resources, and that these are also fully transparent;
• developing a Terms of Reference for the In-Kind work of the Sub-Group and using existing reporting templates for recommending and recording decisions; and
• Reporting in via the “Fusion Cell” or equivalent body, which is responsible for linking the different SCG Sub Groups.

Recording/monitoring the use/impact of In-Kind donations:

• recognising the requirement for a lite-touch and proportionate process to monitor and record the effect of In-Kind donations and gifts In-Kind;
• ensuring lessons are captured which can inform future emergency responses and also the longer-term recovery of London’s civil society once the current health crisis abates;
• capturing data/intelligence on the application of donations which may can inform future organisational support needs; and
• Recommending a system and process which can be applied for in-kind support across London and be implemented for post-covid recovery work.

Soliciting/promoting the service – ie to attract ongoing/further donations:

• working with the SCG Communications team, and the communications lead for the Funders, Community and Voluntary Sector Sub-Group and potentially other groups, including the Health sub-group to identify and articulate community needs in order to target and attract additional offers of support;
• developing good news stories and cases studies which capture lessons and inform future; and
• using different social media platforms, channels and networks to communicate the impact of donations.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA must have ‘due regard’ of the need to:

• eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and
• advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

Community and voluntary sector and civil society organisations support vulnerable and low-income Londoners and Londoners with protected characteristics. All of these groups are particularly vulnerable to the economic and health impacts of Covid19. They are more likely to be in employment that comes under the “gig” economy (for example short term contracts, freelance work) and so less likely to receive sick pay and other benefits. It will also be more difficult for them to access child care if schools shut down and many will rely on grandparents to provide support which will no longer be available due to risk. This will result in increased vulnerability to eviction from private rented housing. Equally older people already at risk of loneliness and/or social isolation will be even more isolated as self-isolation regimes are required due to their vulnerability.

Other considerations

Risks and issues


Risk Description

Mitigation/ risk response


Contracted organisation does not meet the agreed upon programme outcomes

The risk is low and will be mitigated through close contact. The contract delivery partner is an expert in its field and is highly regarded.


Financial Mismanagement

The likelihood of over-spend or other financial misconduct is low, and will be mitigated by the close contact between GLA and Rocket Science.


Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities


The Mayor in his statement of 16th March 2020 stated “ This is going to be an immensely challenging time for millions of Londoners – and we will all have to look out for our most vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours – but London has faced immense challenges before and always come through them by staying united- as we must do now.” This work is a much needed source of support to voluntary and community and civil society organisations supporting hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable Londoners.

Impact Assessment and consultations


The need for this work has become clear based on evidence that has been gathered by London Funders and London Plus as Coronavirus has begun to impact heavily on Londoners. It also takes into account government and NHS guidance about the likely length of time (at least 12 weeks) in which there will be significant impact on the way that London and Londoners go about their every day lives.

There are no known conflicts of interest. Should any occur then Rocket Science will notify the GLA immediately.

Financial comments

Approval is being sought for expenditure of up to £20,000 to appoint Rocket Science to manage and direct the In-Kind donations received in regard to the Covid19 response.

This expenditure will be funded from the 2020-21 Philanthropy programme budget within the Team London & Community Sport Unit.

Activity table



Procurement of contract

May 2020

Delivery Start Date

May 2020

Main milestones

  • Get key offers out
  • Understand key information and intelligence sources on C-19 related needs

May 2020

Main milestones

  • Drive offers up
  • Develop ways into the system for handling and responding to ASKs from communities/VCSOs
  • Develop system of lite-touch monitoring and recording

May 2020

Delivery End Date

June 2020

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