DD2238 Review of the GLA Secretariat’s scrutiny function

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
29 March 2018
Decision by: 
Ed Williams, Executive Director of Assembly Secretariat

Executive summary

The Executive Director of Secretariat intends to contract Anthony Mayer to lead a review of the Secretariat Directorate’s scrutiny function. This is in order to ensure that the Secretariat’s scrutiny team’s resourcing, structure and ways of working remain fit for purpose for the medium-long term. The review will conclude by summer 2018.



That the Executive Director of the Assembly Secretariat approves:

1.    A review of Secretariat Directorate’s scrutiny function; 

2.    The appointment of Anthony Mayer to undertake the review; and

3.    Expenditure up to a maximum of £9,500 (excluding VAT) to procure the services of Anthony Mayer to undertake the review.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.    Review of Secretariat scrutiny function

Aim of the review

1.1    The Executive Director of Secretariat will commission a review of the Secretariat’s scrutiny function & team in order to ensure that the Secretariat’s scrutiny team’s resourcing, structure and ways of working remain fit for purpose for the medium-long term.

1.2    The current Executive Director of Secretariat has been in post since summer 2017, since which time he has, following on-going discussion with leading Members of the London Assembly, instigated a series of measures designed to enhance the impact and profile of the London Assembly’s scrutiny work. Some of these measures have created additional pressures on the capacity and capabilities within the existing Scrutiny Team.

1.3    In addition, the current senior manager for the scrutiny team (the Head of Scrutiny & Investigations) is leaving at the end of March 2018. It is likely that a permanent successor will not be in post until summer 2018. Noting the pressures referred to above and also that the team has not been subject to a fundamental review for many years, this creates a natural opportunity for a review to be undertaken at this time. The newly-appointed Head of Service will then be able immediately to take forward the recommendations arising from the review.

Proposed terms of reference
1.4    It is proposed that the review will assess the Secretariat’s scrutiny team’s resources, structure and ways of working in the context of the plans and proposals coming from the Executive Director of Secretariat, from the London Assembly’s party groups and leading Members and from the team itself, for the future of the Secretariat’s scrutiny function. 

1.5    In particular, the review should consider: 
•    The basis for the current resourcing, structure and ways of working of the scrutiny team;
•    The views of Members and a range of internal and external stakeholders as to the efficacy of those arrangements in terms of supporting both current requirements and the potential future aims and objectives of the London Assembly; and
•    What, if any, changes to the structure, resourcing and/or ways of working of the scrutiny team should and could then be made in order to ensure that the team remains ‘fit for purpose’ for the period up until the 2024 GLA elections.
1.6    For the sake of clarity, the review will take as given the political decisions of the elected Members of the London Assembly. The focus will be on how the scrutiny team can best be organised to support the Assembly in the discharge of its scrutiny functions, however the Assembly wishes to do this (within reasonable bounds), for example by looking at issues such as whether and how to expand the range of skills within the team. 
1.7    To underpin that clear focus for the review on the scrutiny function, and in line with the reporting arrangements that will be in place as from April 2018, the Secretariat’s external communication team and its responsibilities are not in scope for this review. The ways in which the Assembly’s scrutiny outputs can best be promoted to relevant audiences will be looked at in the light of any recommendations from this proposed review.

1.8    Stakeholders to be consulted in the review should include:
•    The London Assembly’s party groups and leading Members;
•    The Executive Director of Secretariat and senior managers in the Directorate;
•    The Secretariat’s scrutiny team;
•    The GLA’s senior management team;
•    Senior representatives of the current and former Mayors;
•    Senior officers from across the GLA Group; and
•    Independent, recognised commentators on London government.

1.9    The timeframe should take into account the need for a new Head of Service, expected to be in post in summer / early autumn 2018, to be able to make immediate progress in implementing the recommendations arising from the review. As such, the following outline timetable should be adhered to:
•    March 2018 – review lead appointed by Director, given initial briefing material and a detailed timetable agreed
•    April / May 2018 – engagement with stakeholders (through a combination of meetings and requests for written submissions);
•    June 2018 – conclusions and draft report prepared for comments; and
•    July 2018 – report issued with recommendations.

1.10    The outputs from the review will be a report presented to the Executive Director of Secretariat, making an assessment of whether changes to the structure, resourcing and/or ways of working of the Secretariat’s scrutiny team should and could be made in order to ensure that the functions it discharges remain fit for purpose for the period up to the 2024 GLA elections.

Proposed review lead
1.11    The proposed review lead is Anthony Mayer, CBE. Anthony was Chief Executive of the GLA between 2000 and 2008, working closely at all times with the London Assembly and officers in the Assembly Secretariat. He therefore has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the scrutiny team, and the political context within which it operates.

1.12    Prior to 2000, Mr Mayer’s roles included Chief Executive of the Housing Corporation and Managing Director of Rothschild Asset Management. Since 2008, he has been Chairman of the London Pension Fund Authority, Chairman of the Tenants’ Services Authority and Chairman of the One Housing Group. In 2016, Mr Mayer also undertook a well-regarded review of the resourcing of the London Fire Brigade for the current Mayor of London.

1.13    Secretariat support for the review will be organised by the Executive Director.

Equality comments

There is not expected to be any negative impact in terms of equality as part of this review, and it will be mindful of all the requirements set out in the Equality Act 2010. 


Other considerations

3.1    The Executive Director of Secretariat will be the responsible officer for the GLA in relation to the review, ensuring compliance with corporate standards and policies and with the timetable set out above. 

3.2    This decision falls outside of the terms of reference of the Corporate Investment Board.

Financial comments

4.1    The budget allocated to this review is £9,500 (excluding VAT) based on up to 19 days of Anthony Mayer’s time at £500 per day. Given Anthony’s experience (set out above) and the costs of external consultants who would have far less direct experience than a former GLA Chief Executive, this is viewed as representing good value for money for the Authority. It will be paid from the Secretariat’s Budget.


Planned delivery approach and next steps




Procurement of contract [for externally delivered projects]

March 2018

Announcement [if applicable]

March 2018

Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]

March 2018

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

June 2018

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

July 2018

Project Closure: [for project proposals]

July 2018


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