ADD405 What is “good growth” research project

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
21 March 2016
Decision by: 
Andrew Collinge, Assistant Director of Intelligence

Executive summary

The Mayor and City Hall are responsible for making London a better place to live, a particular challenge in the current context of growing population and the pressures that brings. They have a duty to create plans covering issues such as housing and land, planning, regeneration and culture and to ensure that these are robust and respond to public need. 

The GLA wishes to explore the impacts of development and growth on London’s communities so far. This will enable officers to identify key areas of success and challenge with regards to Londoners’ lives to help inform robust policy development going forwards and maximise the opportunities growth brings.




Expenditure of £17,000 for:

  • Qualitative focus groups looking at specific, detailed needs of different life-stage groups from development.
  • Quantitative survey Londoners living in areas of substantial new development 



Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The Mayor and City Hall are required to deliver plans around a number of policy areas integral to the city’s growth and development – planning, housing, regeneration and infrastructure. This sits in the context of the broader responsibility to make London a better place to live. 

1.2    The success of London has brought prosperity and opportunity on an unrivalled scale, but with London’s population now bigger than ever before and continuing to grow fast there are challenges too. Demand for infrastructure and housing are burgeoning, stretching capacity and affordability, while the fabric of communities is changing fast with the pace of development. 

1.3    Previous research undertaken internally by the ORS team such as the London Survey suggest that there are varying attitudes towards development, and for different groups varying outcomes so far and needs. Understanding these will ensure we are able to capitalise on the growth opportunity – learning from the successes and failures will enable us to identify the opportunities and challenges for the future.

1.4    Currently success measures focus on empirical data, heavily skewed towards economic factors such as house building and employment measures. Given the recent recession, these have been useful and powerful measures and indicators of change and success, and will continue to be. However, going forwards, with a more stable economic picture, a more nuanced approach considering social measures is necessary. These will need to consider the human side and impact of the empirical, and importantly should be led by public need. This will need a two prong approach.

1.5    Qualitative work:
    Qualitative work will enable us to identify how spatial aspects of London and new development interact with Londoners’ day-to-day lives, and which elements of those are most important and impactful in terms of quality of life. This will be based on real-life public experience, rather than policy-maker expectation and will enable a detailed analysis of social indicators of success by life-stage. Once identified, these measures will be integrated as the focus of survey work to establish the extent of success or failure around these, and where opportunities to further improve development lie, ensuring that these are grounded in public need. This part will cost approximately £10,000.

1.6     Quantitative work:
    Survey work will establish the extent of social success and challenge of new development in London, specifically answering the following:
-    What are the key social outcomes and determinants of these for Londoners in terms of housing, high streets and public spaces and communities?
-    To what extent is new development delivering successful outcomes for Londoners in terms of housing, high streets and public spaces and communities?
-    What are the specific areas of success and failure and how might we either replicate or eradicate those going forwards? 
-    What are the needs of different groups, particularly in terms of life-stage and equality groups with protected characteristics and how might these be applied to London’s future demography?

1.7    The findings from the work will inform policy development for the Planning, Regeneration, Housing and EBPU teams and will allow opinion insight to be considered alongside spatial data in the GLA’s Economic Evidence Base report.

1.8     This decision adds to ADD392 (£15,500), making a project total of £32,500. Additional funding is required as the initial procurement did not achieve robust submissions for quantitative work with the budget made available. It also adds a qualitative element to enable the scope of the quantitative part to be focussed by public need.


Objectives and expected outcomes


To deliver robust opinion insight that delivers real-life experiential evidence of the successes and challenges of major development and growth, to provide evidence for GLA policy development that takes account of, and is responsive to, public needs.


i)    Qualitative work to explore Londoners’ priority social outcomes in terms of their homes and local communities and in particular the key contributory or preventative factors to those. This will include focus group work with key life stage groups such as younger people, families and older people and will consider alternative data types.
ii)    A quantitative survey of 1,000 Londoners in areas of major new development, exploring and assessing the nature and extent of impact development has had in London on communities and individuals.
iii)    An analysis and report that contributes to GLA policy-making, sitting as an additional resource to the empirical Economic Evidence Base. It will consider:
-    Public priority social indicators to quality of life and key facilitator or barrier factors.
-    Areas of success and failure of development so far, their extent, and how to replicate or eradicate those going forwards.
-    The impacts on and needs of different demographic groups and relationship to spatial demographic projections and planned development, identifying areas of particular future interest.


Better informed policy and decision-making at City Hall and understanding of how to improve our impact on Londoners lives through development policy.


Equality comments

3.1     This work will ensure that the needs of a broad range of Londoners’ views are collected and that those views are representative of the population of interest, this will include those groups with protected characteristics. Doing this will enable us to make comparison of different groups’ needs and outcomes so that policy can be tailored to those.

3.2     The work will specifically look at the impact on groups with protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act.


Other considerations

Key risks and issues



Mitigating actions

Slippage over financial year end (due to being close to year end) with budget unavailable for carry over


  • Identify areas for survey ahead of project inception.
  • Develop questionnaire ahead of project inception.
  • Commission using existing TfL procurement preferred bidder.

Difficulty recruiting respondents with experience of major new development


  • Identify large scale developments with residential elements and survey in evenings and weekends face-to-face

Delivery of project not in line with policy teams needs


  • Policy teams engaged ahead of specification development and throughout the process


b)    Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

This work makes links across a number of areas of Mayoral responsibility. This includes Planning, Regeneration, Housing and EBPU (The Infrastructure Plan). The work will provide robust public data that will help the aforementioned teams both look back at how well the development they have been supporting and providing the strategic framework for has delivered for Londoners, while also providing an evidence base which can support their ongoing policy developments. 

c)    Impact assessments and consultations.

This in effect, as a piece of opinion research work, relates to consultation work in that it seeks to give the public a voice in the story of London’s recent development so far. In doing this it will provide City Hall with evidence to take into consideration in policy development to ensure policies help deliver on public need.


Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought for GLA expenditure of up to £17,000 for a qualitative focus groups exploring the needs of different life stage groups from development in London and a quantitative survey of 1,000 Londoners living in areas of substantial new development. An additional £15,500 spend has already been approved (ADD392) on `good growth’ research project.

5.2    This cost will be funded from the existing 2015-16 Intelligence Public Consultation budget (Health & Communities allocation). If the expenditure is not completed in 15-16, a budget carry forward request will need to be made as part of the year-end process. In the event that this is not approved, any spend will need to be met from the existing 16-17 budget. 


Planned delivery approach and next steps







-Call off qualitative work using TfL preferred bidder 2CV



-Invite TfL framework preferred bidders

-Receive tenders

-Evaluate and choose bidder





7th March 2016



7th March 2016

14th March

16th March




Qualitative work:


-Pre-work/topic guide finalised

-Groups complete



Quantitative survey:


-Questionnaire finalised





9th March

16th March

25th March

30th March



17th March

24th March

25th March - 25th April

Delivery End Date

27th April

Project Closure:

27th April


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