DD1415 London Land Commission Database

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
03 November 2015
Decision by: 
David Lunts, Executive Director Housing and Land and Interim CEO of OPDC

Executive summary

MD1540 approved the establishment of the London Land Commission (LLC).  The LLC requires a technology system to hold details of all publicly owned land in London.  Following an evaluation of options, approval is sought to customise an existing GLA database system for use by the LLC.


The Director approves:

•    Expenditure of up to £26,500 to contract with the supplier of the existing Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment system to customise it and create the new system for use by the London Land Commission.  
•    An exemption from the Contracts and Funding Code on the grounds that the supplier is unique in its ability to provide compatibility with an existing service. 
•    Further expenditure of up to £28,500 for third party costs related to importing data from external systems to the London Land Commission system.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The London Land Commission (LLC) was established and approved by the Mayor in MD1540 to better co-ordinate the way that information on public land holdings is captured, processed and managed.  The objective of the LLC is to boost the supply of housing in London.

1.2    One of the main requirements to enable the LLC to discharge its functions will be a technology system to manage the land based data.  The Mayor has made a commitment that the first phase of such a system will be made available by December 2015.  MD1540 also approved a sum of £100,000 for the provision of such a system.

Options for the LLC technology system

1.3    A team from the GLA (Housing and Land and the Technology Group) carried out an evaluation of available options for a potential system.  The main options explored were to:

•    Undertake a shared service via a system in use elsewhere
•    Commission the development of a bespoke system
•    Customise an existing GLA system

1.4    The two leading candidates for a shared service are the Government e-PIMS systems and the TfL land management system.  Both were examined but not considered suitable, at least to meet the December 2015 deadline.

1.5    The GLA has a very successful record of producing bespoke IT systems for business requirements and this remains an option but, for cost and time reasons, this option was considered not viable at present.

Recommended option

1.6    During the investigations, a bespoke system currently used by the GLA’s Planning department, known as the SHLAA (Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment) system appeared to meet a number of the core requirements of the LLC. The SHLAA system code base can be technically extended and customised to provide the additional features and functions required by the LLC database. 

1.7    Discussions with the SHLAA system supplier also indicated that the additional functions required for the LLC technology system could also be developed by the supplier, who is unique in its ability to provide the bespoke continuation of the SHLAA functionality.  For these reasons, the GLA Team concluded that this should be the recommended option.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The objectives to be met by this project are:

•    To agree the scope of works and timetable with the supplier
•    Carry out the agreed changes to the SHLAA system using established system development methodology
•    Bring the project to an orderly close.

2.2    At the successful completion of this project, the outcomes are expected to be a fully functional technology system that meets the agreed scope and containing an initial import of London land data from a number of external systems including the e-PIMS, TfL land management and NHS database.

Equality comments

3.1    In keeping with established GLA practice, the user facing components of the LLC technology system will meet the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative standard to a AA standard.  It is not considered that the system will adversely impact on any group with protected characteristics.

Other considerations

Links to Mayoral Strategies

4.1    Increasing London’s housing supply and the spatial development of the capital is one of the most important Mayoral strategic objectives.  The creation of the LLC underpins this objective and as does the use of appropriate technology to facilitate the work of the LLC.

Risk Management

4.2    In keeping with best practice, this project will be conducted using the GLA’s Risk Management Framework.

4.3    The main risk identified to the project is time.  The December 2015 deadline for the launch of the system presents a challenge.  The mitigation actions proposed are:

•    To rank individual functional requirements in priority order and agree a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) i.e. the set of functions that will meet the core requirements for the December deadline.
•    Develop the MVP functions in close collaboration with the Housing and Land team so that any changes required are made as quickly as possible.
•    Complete the development of the remaining (non MVP) functions once the deadline has been met.

Procurement and the Contracts and Funding Code

4.4    The SHLAA system is a bespoke technology system which was built by OpenIQ Ltd in 2013 for a cost of around £40,000 (procurement reference ITC11265 and Approval reference MD1050).  To date, a further £6,000 has been spent on technical support and maintenance work.  It is currently in use by the GLA’s Planning Team and provides a key input to the Mayor’s London Plan.

4.5    The purpose of the SHLAA system is to identify parcels of land in London that have the potential for housing.  The system uses mapping technology to identify these parcels of land and also uses complex algorithms to calculate housing capacity and density figures for each parcel of land, taking many factors into account.

4.6    There is a close correlation between what the SHLAA system does and what the LLC will need from a technology system.  There are a number of additional features and functions the LLC needs, which can be technically accommodated .

4.7    The supplier is unique in its ability to provide the bespoke development services on the existing SHLAA system to create the LLC functionality. To commission a bespoke system for the full requirements of the LLC would exceed the amount approved in MD1540 and would not offer value for money. 

Financial comments

5.1    The cost to add the LLC functionality to the SHLAA system will be £20,500, plus up to £28,500 to import data from third party suppliers, giving a maximum total development cost of £49,000 in 2015/16. These costs will be funded from the London Land Commission (LLC) budget of £1,000,000.

5.2    The import of data from third party suppliers will depend on whether system amendments are needed for the new interfaces between the SHLAA system and several other external databases. The full costs have not been clarified for this work but will not be more than £28,500. 

5.3    There will be additional support costs of £6,000 which will be met from the LLC funding for the 2015/16 to 2017/18 financial years (£2,000 per annum). The on-going revenue support costs for years beyond this will be met from the existing Housing and Land directorate budget.

5.4    The full costs for the SHLAA and LLC systems from 2013 to 31 March 2016 will total £68,500 and the support costs for the two systems from 1 April 2016 – 31 March 2020 will be £12,000.

5.5    Full estimated contract costs (to OpenIQ) until 31 March 2020:  £80,500. The maintenance and support costs, excluding those applicable to the LLC, for the SHLAA system have and will continue to be met by the Technology Group using existing resources (software maintenance budget) 

Planned delivery approach and next steps



Procurement of contract [for externally delivered projects]

September 2015

Announcement [if applicable]

September 2015

Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]

October 2015

Final evaluation start and finish (self/external) [delete as applicable]:


Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

December 2015

Project Closure: [for project proposals]

January 2016

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