DD2173 World Cities Culture Forum

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
13 October 2017
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

The World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF) brings city leaders together to share, collaborate and partner on cultural initiatives that drive sustainable urban development. Since it was established in London in 2012, it has grown from nine to over 30 cities. The WCCF is run on a day to day basis by an external consultant.   This decision seeks approval to continue the work of the WCCF, including entering into an agreement with an external consultant to deliver the WCCF programme. The external consultant will work with the GLA to deliver the annual WCCF Summit, hosted in a different city each year, and will produce annual reports on different themes and trends.

In 2017, WCCF will launch a new Leadership Exchange Programme for world cities. This will fund member city to city exchanges to help cities deliver practical solutions to their own challenges, using the good practice of others. The World Cities Cultural Leadership Exchange programme will develop strong civic leaders to champion culture in city administrations across the world. Bloomberg LP and Google Cultural Institute have agreed to sponsor this programme, providing funding for the costs of travel, accommodation, promotion and documentation for the exchanges. 


That the Executive Director of Communities & Intelligence approves:
•    expenditure of £20,000, and entry into a concessionary agreement with BOP Consulting Limited, for services relating to the World Cities Culture Forum over a period of two years;
•    receipt and expenditure of USD $100,000 sponsorship income from Bloomberg L.P. for the Leadership Exchange Programme; and
•    receipt and expenditure of USD $30,000 sponsorship income from Google Cultural Institute for the Leadership Exchange Programme.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF) is the biggest global network of senior leaders from over 30 city governments who are all championing the pivotal role of culture in cities. 

1.2    Each year cultural officials come together to share ideas and knowledge about culture’s role in public policy in a world city context. The Summit is a chance to share successes, learn from mistakes and together build the arguments and evidence we need to re-position culture in global cities. London has hosted the summit twice (2012 and 2015) Istanbul hosted in 2013, Amsterdam in 2014 and Moscow in 2016 and Seoul is hosting in November 2017.

1.3    Increasingly cities are using this powerful network to share ideas, ask for advice and work together on solutions on common problems.  London has learnt from San Francisco about provision of artists’ workspace, New York about its ID/Culture card, Sydney, Vienna and Amsterdam about their initiatives to open up access to culture through culture passes.

1.4    The Authority previously entered into a concessionary agreement with BOP Consulting Limited for services relating to the WCCF. As the concessionaire BOP managed the WCCF as a service concession and developed the programme for the duration of the agreement, which included further updates to the World Cities Culture Report (WCCR). The previous concessionary agreement with BOP Consulting Ltd, entitled the Authority to 10% of any income over the contractually agreed income threshold of £500,000, which BOP received as a result of the exploitation of the WCCF. The GLA is now looking to enter into another concessionaire agreement with BOP Consulting Limited, on a similar arrangement as the previous contract. The GLA will work with Transport for London procurement to put in place the relevant contract arrangements. 

1.5    The World Cities Culture Report published in 2015 demonstrated that culture plays in the success of cities.  It is the most comprehensive data on world cities that exists today.  It provides an evidence base about the many and wide-ranging ways in which culture impacts on a world city and its inhabitants.

1.6    The World Cities Finance report published in 2017 focused on ‘financing culture’ and the challenges that nations and cultural institutions are facing with regards to sustainable funding of the culture sector. The report brought together data on current funding trends for London’s cultural institutions as well as exploring possible future funding options.

1.7    In addition to producing the above reports, BOP Consulting will work with the Authority to agree the future vision of the WCCF including its main areas of focus, objectives, the research agenda, expansion and future ideas to build the WCCF. Other responsibilities include developing options for the future governing structure, setting up an Advisory Board and agreeing reporting mechanisms, as well providing monthly updates to the Authority on recruitment of new cities and renewals of membership and managing the Forum’s website and marketing.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1          This year’s summit will be hosted by Seoul, South Korea, from 1 to 3 November 2017. The theme 
will be ‘Beyond the Creative City: new agendas for citizens and by citizens’. It will focus on ways of building a cultural civic city for the happiness of individual citizens. This will include discussions on culture and civic engagement, cultural participation and well-being, and maker culture and the fourth industrial revolution.

2.2    The 2017 summit in Seoul will:

•    Provide a forum for cities to share policy challenges, inspired by the Seoul experience.
•    Provide opportunities for delegates to network with representatives from over 30 cities, influencers and senior policymakers. 
•    Offer both plenary and workshop sessions, as well as an open public session with representatives from Seoul’s cultural and creative industries sectors.
•    Include site visits to Seoul’s cultural sites including the new developments.

•    Launch a new Leadership Exchange programme which will be funded by the receipt of sponsorship income from Bloomberg L.P and Google Cultural Institute to deepen learning between cities by funding visits from one city to another.   The funding will contribute to the costs of travel and accommodation for the cities taking part in the Exchange programme.

2.3    The WCCF Leadership Exchange programme will offer city cultural leaders the facility for more in depth exchanges between member cities to take shared policy and ideas to an even greater level. Member cities will make pitches to take part in an exchange, which will entail a 3-day in-depth work visit to the host city, based on agreed themes and key issues. The in-depth outcomes and lessons learned per exchange will be turned into case studies focusing on key learnings. These will be then be made available as downloads from the WCCF website for member cities and outside audiences, establishing a portfolio of WCCF exemplar action leadership on a wide range of topics affecting the culture sector.  Learnings from the Exchange programme will be shared with all members at the 2018 Summit.

2.4    The terms of the sponsorship will be contractually agreed with both sponsors, and will comply with the Authority’s procedures for the receipt and expenditure of sponsorship income. The receipt of sponsorship income will contribute towards the majority of the associated travel and hotel accommodation for WCCF members who are taking part in the Leadership Exchanges with fellow WCCF member cities. The Authority will contribute towards any marketing expenditure for the promotion of the Leadership Exchange programme.

2.5    A summit will also be held in 2018, with the destination yet to be confirmed. Alongside both the 2017 and 2018 summits the wider aims and objectives for the forum in 2017-19 will focus on the following areas:

Making Space for culture:

•    Publishing a toolkit to help cities encourage growth while preserving the uniqueness and cultural vibrancy of their neighbourhoods.
•    Developing new metrics to measure the scale and urgency of the affordability crisis for arts and culture in WCCF cities.
•    Developing a portal of existing comparative research in WCCF cities about the role that 
cultural space plays in generating cultural, social and economic value. 
•    Delivery of a dedicated policy workshop at the annual summit.
•    Develop new indicators that helps make the business case for climate action in the cultural sector.

Culture and Sustainability:

•    Publish a toolkit to help cities drive cultural action on climate change and environmental sustainability.
•    Run a dedicated culture and sustainability policy workshop at the annual summit
•    Develop new indicators that will help to make the business case for positive action on climate change in the cultural sector.

Equality comments

3.1           Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have 
‘due regard’ to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

3.2          The World Cities Culture Forum includes discussions on access to culture for all citizens and share 
examples of good practice.  The annual summits provide opportunities for expo sessions and in the past Moscow, Madrid, Singapore and Amsterdam have presented on the challenges they have faced in ensuring all citizens have the opportunities to access culture for discussion with other cities.

3.3    The WCCF aims to bring countries together in a collaborative and cooperative environment to share ideas and learning as well as past and future challenges of the Culture sector, with the aim being to share best practice between member cities. 

Other considerations

4.1    London founded the World Cities Culture Forum in 2012 with, Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Justine Simons, acting as chair of the forum. The Mayor has also made Culture one of his top priorities for his Mayoral term, and failure to continue with the delivery of WCCF would result in significant reputational damage for London as a world leading cultural capital.


Financial comments

5.1          Approval is being sought for the expenditure of £20,000 to continue the World Cities Cultural Forum 
      programme and receipt of $130,000 in sponsorship to further enhance it.

5.2          As the sponsorship will be issued in USD ($), the amount the Authority receives will be determined 
      by market forces on the day of receipt. Therefore, any losses or gains will be maintained within the  
      Culture and Creative Industries’ 2017-18 budget and subsequently managed by the same Unit.

Planned delivery approach and next steps




Sign and agree concessionary agreement with BOP

Upon DD approval

Culture & Sustainability Toolkit published

November 2017

WCCF annual Summit

November 2017

Launch Leadership Exchange programme

October 2017

WCCF annual Summit

November 2018

WCCF Report

November 2018

Announce winners of Leadership Exchange programme

February 2018

Feedback from Leadership Exchange Programme

November 2018


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