MD2296 Economic Fairness programme

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
13 July 2018
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

Economic Fairness was a key theme in the Mayor’s 2016 manifesto. The GLA initiated a programme of work in October 2016, bringing together the GLA and Mayor’s Office leads with responsibility for implementing related manifesto commitments. Since then the Mayor’s vision for a fairer and more inclusive economy has been set out in the draft Economic Development Strategy and in the recently published Equality Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, and includes a range of workstreams being delivered across City Hall and the GLA Group. An initial key project is the Mayor’s proposal to create a Good Work Standard to improve pay and working conditions for all people and make London the best city in the world to work. The decisions sought concern: activity to be undertaken to establish the working arrangements for the Economic Fairness programme; and related expenditure.

This decision form should be read alongside MD 2314 – Equality and Fairness workplan, 2018-19.


The Mayor:

1. approves expenditure of up to £0.55m for the Mayor’s Economic Fairness programme;
2. delegates authority to the:

• Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment and [in Executive Director’s absence] the Assistant Director for Regeneration and Economic Development to approve detailed expenditure proposals within the parameters of the expenditure approved under decision 1 above, for delivery of the Good Work Standard and elements of the Economic Fairness programme led by the Regeneration and Economic Development team; and
• Executive Director for Communities and Intelligence to approve detailed expenditure proposals within the parameters of the expenditure approved under decision 1 above and by MD 2314, for the requirements of elements of the programme led by the Communities and Social Policy team.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1 Economic Fairness was a key theme in the Mayor’s 2016 manifesto, articulated in a number of pledges. The headline manifesto commitment was to establish an Economic Fairness team at City Hall to implement the range of commitments that promote economic fairness. The Economic Fairness programme is being delivered by officers across a number of GLA policy teams working together and reporting to a steering group which brings together resources from across the GLA Group. The key elements of this programme of work are:

• Leading by example to ensure that the employment and procurement practices of the GLA group are exemplary;
• Influencing employers and businesses to adopt model employment practices through the Good Work Standard;
• Making sure that all the Mayor’s policies and strategies promote economic fairness – key elements of this are outlined in the Mayor’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Economic Development Strategies; and
• Working with central government, local authorities, trade unions, civil society, financial institutions and Londoners to tackle poverty, financial exclusion and other issues that affect low income Londoners in particular.

2. Economic Fairness programme

2.1 The Economic Fairness programme includes a range of policies and initiatives addressing the issues facing low income Londoners, including promotion of employment rights, welfare reform, and financial inclusion. There is further detail on some of these initiatives in MD 2314 – Equality and Fairness workplan, 2018-19.

2.2 The Mayor’s Good Work Standard is a key first initiative under the Economic Fairness programme. It is intended to encourage employers to implement the very best employment standards in London. With fair pay and the London Living Wage at its heart, the Mayor’s Good Work Standard will support employers to adopt best practice and achieve high standards in areas such as working conditions, diversity and inclusion, flexible working, health and wellbeing, apprenticeships and training, and communication with employees. This will not only help to address inequalities; better pay and conditions should also improve staff retention and productivity.

2.3 This decision form proposes the establishment of a budget of £550k to support the Economic Fairness programme, subject to detailed approval in line with the Scheme of Delegation. Investment will:

• Enable the GLA to deliver the Good Work Standard, including by:

- Promoting model employment standards, supporting employers to adopt best practice policies in the Mayor’s Good Work Standard and make an immediate impact on the people management skills of smaller employers – this could include encouraging employers to follow in areas where the GLA is leading by example, for example through the publication of ethnicity pay gaps or using sponsorship initiatives to improve workforce diversity at senior levels;
- Exploring options for the development of an accreditation programme, including working with employers, trade unions and other relevant stakeholders engaging and supporting employers in tackling the challenges to growth and shared prosperity, such as through increasing take-up of the London Living Wage and promoting skills development and progression; and
- Ensuring that evaluation arrangements and a feedback loop are in place so that the Standard remains relevant and focussed on its aims.

• Support and coordinate a wide range of initiatives targeted at low-income Londoners, to ensure that synergies and opportunities for maximising impact (including by learning and dissemination of best practice) are identified and exploited. There is further detail on some of these initiatives in MD 2314 – Equality and Fairness workplan, 2018-19

2.4 The GLA also proposes to continue engaging a wide range of stakeholders including employers’ associations, local authorities, trade unions and civil society groups. This will include developing opportunities that augment the activities proposed in this report. For example, the wider GLA Group will also be encouraged to ensure their supply chains and networks are engaged in supporting the Good Work Standard.

3 Staffing and governance

3.1 The Economic Fairness programme (including the Good Work Standard) is overseen by the Economic Fairness Steering Group, which is chaired by the Senior Advisor to the Mayor for Business and Digital Policy and brings together GLA Group teams and Mayor’s Office leads with a responsibility for implementing manifesto commitments related to a fairer and more inclusive economy. This group will be responsible for developing and monitoring the progress of the programme and approving any changes to actions and implementation plans set out in this report.

3.2 This funding will be used to create a new post to lead on Economic Fairness, accountable to the Mayor’s Office and based in the Regeneration and Economic Development Team but with a responsibility to work across the organisation to deliver the aims of the Economic Fairness programme.. The post will be partly supported by existing staff resources within the Regeneration and Economic Development Team, Communities and Social Policy Team, and Intelligence Unit who are already working on the Economic Fairness programme. An HR O&D Project Manager is already supporting the secretariat, monitoring and project management of this programme, which includes workstreams delivered by officers across a number of GLA teams.

3.3 Further staff resources will also be needed in the Regeneration and Economic Development team for the development and ongoing running of the Good Work Standard, and these will be funded as part of the overall expenditure approved within this report.

Objectives and expected outcomes

4.1 The objectives of the programme are to:

a) Develop and coordinate a range of initiatives to maximise incomes, support financial resilience, mitigate the impacts of poverty, and promote social mobility. There is further detail on some of these initiatives in MD 2314 – Equality and Fairness workplan, 2018-19.
b) Raise awareness of the Good Work Standard with a diverse range of London employers of different sizes and sectors, encouraging them to sign up and use the resources being offered by City Hall.
c) Support employers to engage with the Mayor’s Good Work Standard programme and achieve high standards in areas such as fair pay, working conditions, diversity and inclusion, flexible working, health and wellbeing, apprenticeships and training, and communication with employees.
d) Support employers to participate in the Mayor’s economic fairness policies and initiatives set out in Mayoral strategies and implementation plans, including the Economic Development Strategy, Better Health for all Londoners, Skills for Londoners, and Inclusive London.
e) Increase participation of employers in ‘good work’ programmes and accreditation schemes led by local authorities, civil society and business representative organisations. This will include increasing participation in the voluntary accreditation scheme provided by the Living Wage Foundation and business rate discount schemes related to this provided by some London borough councils.
f) Bring strategic co-ordination to the provision of advice services on topics such as employment rights and other entitlements to ensure that Londoners can more easily access advice and support.
g) Conduct effective engagement with stakeholders whose main focus is on poverty/low-income Londoners. This will be accomplished in part through the stakeholder engagement arrangements being put in place as part of the implementation of the Mayor’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. Again, there is further detail in MD 2314.

4.2 These actions will help employers to support measures set out in the Economic Development Strategy and other Mayoral strategies:

a) Increasing the numbers of Londoners who are paid at least the London Living Wage and whose employment conditions support their financial health and security.
b) Londoners regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation or disability have genuine access to the many opportunities to get into work and progress, and receive the support they need to do so.
c) Pay and employment gaps between different groups should be narrowed.
d) Investing in training and workforce development (including apprenticeships), making more effective use of the existing skills of the London workforce and non-traditional learning and development such as employer supported volunteering.
e) Supporting employee voice, well-being and satisfaction, through healthier workplaces and supporting ‘family-friendly’ policies, such as increasing the availability of part-time and flexible working.

4.3 Underpinning this is a piece of work led by the GLA Intelligence Unit to ensure there is an agreed set of key indicators and an evaluation plan for the Economic Fairness programme.

Equality comments

5.1 The Mayor’s Good Work Standard is an initiative that will directly deliver against one of the objectives in ‘Inclusive London’, the Mayor’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy. Through the development and consultation of this strategy, GLA officers have examined how the Good Work Standard will help to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between persons who share a protected characteristic under the Equality Act and persons who do not.

5.2 Objective 20 states that the Mayor will: “…work with employers and their organisations, unions, and the voluntary sector to help ensure London’s employers have fair and inclusive employment practices to retain and help their employees progress. There will be a focus on those groups that experience major barriers at work.”

5.3 The strategy identifies a number of specific equality issues within this broader objective, including that:

• A number of groups including women, those with caring responsibilities, certain BAME groups, disabled people and younger people are more likely to be in low-paid work. Women, ethnic minority men – especially migrants – and disabled people experience pay gaps.
• Women, carers, disabled and older people are held back by a lack of flexible working opportunities.
• Women, ethnic minorities and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds are under-represented in STEM and creative professions.
• Women and ethnic minority groups are under-represented at senior levels in the workplace.

5.4 The Good Work Standard seeks to address these gaps by supporting employers to find and adopt best practice related to embracing equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This should lead to positive benefits for groups of Londoners who experience employment and pay gaps, such as women, Londoners from lower socio-economic backgrounds and some ethnic minority groups, and disabled people.

5.5 There are a number of other objectives in the EDI strategy that initiatives targeted at low-income Londoners will contribute towards. These include:

• Objective 12 (fuel poverty)
• Objective 13 (child poverty)
• Objective 15 (early education)
• Objective 18 (lifelong learning)
• Objective 19 (barriers to employment)
• Objective 21 (workforce diversity in specific sectors)
• Objective 22 (business support)
• Objective 24 (affordable transport)

5.6 The Economic Fairness Steering Group will give consideration in the initiatives it oversees and develops to the evidence outlined in the EDI strategy and evidence base about the barriers that specific groups face.

Other considerations
  1. Key risks and issues



Mitigation measures

Current probability (1-4)

Current impact



GLA Lead

Employers don’t engage with the Good Work Standard, because it is felt to be too hard or not useful

The programme is being informed through consultation & testing with employers to understand needs and requirements. It will build on existing activity by City Hall, local authorities and others across London to engage employers in ‘good work’ policies. It is also a requirement set out in the GLA Group Responsible Procurement Policy.





Regeneration and Economic Development

The GLA Group must be seen to be leading by example in order to credibly influence others to do the same.

The functional bodies are represented on the steering group and have committed to ensure all parts of the GLA Group are engaged in supporting the Good Work Standard and promoting it through their networks and supply chains.





Regeneration and Economic Development

Lack of clarity on internal arrangements hinders delivery


New economic fairness sub-group will help clarify roles and working arrangements




Regeneration and Economic Development



  1. Links to Mayoral commitments 


    1. In his draft Economic Development Strategy, the Mayor commits to:


“Recognise and celebrate businesses that promote high standards in employment and procurement through the new Good Work Standard for London.


Promote fair pay and good employment practices through the Good Work Standard and help to establish London as a Living Wage city.


Provide guidance on being a good employer of disabled people to support more disabled people to find and progress in work, and keep older workers (50+) engaged with the workforce.”


    1. The Good Work Standard is also a commitment in the Skills for Londoners strategy and draft Better Health for All Londoners strategy.


  1. Impact assessments and consultations


    1. The Mayor’s Good Work Standard programme was informed by a public call for evidence process. This initially ran from 4 July to 16 August 2017, and was extended to the 18 September to allow some organisations more time to respond. 72 responses were received to a set of consultation questions asking for views about the goals, criteria, opportunities and challenges for employers. A further feedback session on 22 January 2018 with attendees representing approximately 55 business, public sector, civil society, and trade union organisations allowed officers to consider expert policy input alongside employers’ views. This was used to address some of the outstanding questions and challenges raised during the call for evidence process, and refine the proposals set out in this report.


Financial comments

7.1 As part of the 2018-19 GLA budget process a budget provision of £500,000 has been earmarked within the 2018-19 budget for the GLA’s Economic Fairness Programme. The balance of £50,000 for this proposal will be funded from the Communities & Intelligence Minor Programme budget for 2018-19 if required.

7.2 It should be noted that given the programme is scheduled to be completed around July 2020, the budget provision of £550,000 currently accounted for within the 2018-19 GLA budget will be subject to budget re-profiling to ensure that budget is aligned to when programme expenditure is due to take place. This will form part of the 2019-20 GLA budget process.

Activity table



Develop full work programme in line with the work priorities outlined within this decision

Jul-Sept 2018

Recruitment of staff

Jul-Sept 2018


Evaluate proposals on potential accreditation scheme

July 2018

Start promotion of Good Work Standard and provision of support

Oct – Dec 2018


Interim evaluation (self-external)

Jun - Sept 2019


Delivery end date

April 2020

Post-project evaluation

May – Jul 2020


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